NBA League Pass heroes: Wemby's first bucket, healthy Cade Cunningham, SGA dazzles

Victor Wembanyama is here. Cade Cunningham is back. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander never left. Welcome to the 2023-24 NBA season.

Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs
Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs / Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is back, and man, is it beautiful to behold.

Wednesday was the first full slate of the season, which means League Pass accounts were fired up across the nation — heck, the globe!

There has been plenty to write home about. Kristaps Porzingis' huge Celtics debut. Max Strus' Cleveland explosion. Orlando's "we're here" announcement. The Pacers' 143-point masterlcass.

But, for our purposes, we will focus on a few of the night's biggest League Pass heroes — starting with the reigning No. 1 pick and possible best prospect since LeBron James.

NBA League pass heroes: Victor Wembanyama sinks first NBA shot

Victor Wembanyama didn't take long to make an impact in his first NBA game. He blocked Kyrie Irving early in the first quarter. Then, he splashed a spot-up 3 to break into the points column for the first time in his career.

A picturesque spot-up 3 from your local 7-foot-4 Frenchman. Nothing to see here.

Wemby's first half has been quiet relative to his extremely high standards (which were set before he even stepped on an NBA court in the regular season), but his wingspan completely changes the game on defense and he's already a focus of Dallas' defense on the other end. Don't believe me? You can read the Mavs' scouting report for yourself.

NBA League Pass heroes: Cade Cunningham, back like he never left

Remember when the Detroit Pistons made Cade Cunningham the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Remember when, in the intervening years, he dealt with a troubling potpourri of injuries while his draft class peers — Evan Mobley, Tyrese Maxey, Franz Wagner, Devin Vassell, Josh Giddey — sprinted out of the gates on extremely promising career arcs?

Well, you could be forgiven for forgetting about Cade, or at the very least questioning his place atop that draft board. But, if game one of the season was any indication, Cunningham is back with a vengeance. He's ready to remind folks of just what made him such an impressive prospect.

Cunningham finished the game with 30 points and nine assists on 13-of-24 shot attempts. His final make was a gorgeous contested 3-pointer to bring Detroit within one point of Miami in the game's final moments.

The Pistons weren't able to cap off the comeback victory, but it's hard not to be encouraged by Cunningham's start and what it means for the Pistons' franchise.

NBA League Pass heroes: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, for your MVP consideration

The Oklahoma City Thunder are going to make the playoffs and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is going to contend for MVP. You heard it here first.

OKC routed the Chicago Bulls on opening night, 124-104, behind a dominant performance from the Thunder combo guard. He dropped a cool 31 points, five rebounds, and 10 assists on 12-of-18 shooting.

Gilgeous-Alexander remains, perhaps, the nuttiest rim finishing guard in the NBA next to Kyrie Irving.

The skill and body control is out of this world. We can expect plenty of similarly dominant nights from Gilgeous-Alexander in the weeks and months to come. OKC is a young but talented group hungry for success. I tend to think they'll find it.


2024 NBA Mock Draft 1.0. dark. Next. 2024 NBA Mock Draft 1.0