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10 can't-miss Victor Wembanyama games in 2023-24

One of the most anticipated talents in NBA history, Victor Wembanyama will be the center of attention this season.

Spurs phenom Victor Wembanyama will make his NBA debut on Oct. 25 vs. Dallas.

SAN ANTONIO — A recent celebration of the franchise’s past gives way to the future in 2023-24, with No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama ushering the San Antonio Spurs into a new era.

The NBA released the schedule for the upcoming season on Thursday, two days after unveiling the Group-Play portion of matchups for its inaugural In-Season Tournament. There’s clearly no shortage of TV time on the horizon for the 19-year-old rookie phenom, as San Antonio plays a total of 19 nationally televised games this season.

Here’s a quick look at 10 must-watch games this season for Wembanyama and the Spurs:

In-Season Tournament Games

We’ve got four intriguing matchups to watch here from West Group C, which consists of the Spurs, Sacramento Kings, Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors. Interestingly, San Antonio plays three of its four Group Play contests on national television, tying the Phoenix Suns for the most such games during the In-Season Tournament.

Group Play games constitute the first of two stages for the In-Season Tournament, and these outings will be played on Tuesdays and Fridays in November.

Nov. 10 vs. Timberwolves
7:30 ET | NBA League Pass

Here’s a nice early-season test for Wembanyama against one of the league’s best defensive bigs in fellow Frenchman Rudy Gobert, who has clearly been in the lab this summer working on his 3-pointer. Understandably, Minnesota is hungry, having suffered a first-round exit from the 2023 playoffs. Fresh off his first All-Star nod, rising third-year vet Anthony Edwards has shown all summer that he will be a problem for opponents this upcoming season. And we haven’t even touched on Wembanyama’s most likely defensive assignment in this matchup: Karl-Anthony Towns, one of the league’s most talented offensive bigs.

Nov. 14 at Thunder
7:30 ET | TNT

Scour social media to see what 2022 No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren has been up to. It’s impressive. Especially when considering we didn’t see the 7-foot-1 Holmgren play at all last season due to a Lisfranc injury to his right foot. In this matchup, Wembanyama faces an OKC squad that is now a legit postseason contender with a loaded roster featuring a bona fide superstar in All-NBA guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Holmgren, Josh Giddey and rising second-year forward Jalen Williams add to the mix. But don’t sleep on San Antonio’s young talent in this one. This should be a slugfest.

Nov. 17 vs. Kings
7:30 ET | ESPN

A week after facing Minnesota’s formidable frontcourt duo, Wembanyama eyes another tough matchup. These aren’t the Kings we were once accustomed to. So, when this game commences, expect to see an even tougher Sacramento squad looking to meet high expectations coming off a solid postseason showing after years of irrelevancy. Led by a pair of players coming off All-NBA seasons in De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, the Kings stood pat for the most part throughout free agency, choosing to keep the core together. That should translate into more cohesion during this early portion of the season.

Nov. 24 at Warriors
10 ET | ESPN

The four-time NBA champions are likely the favorites to come out on top of West Group C. This clash at Chase Center should prove educational for the young Wembanyama as he faces off against an experienced Warriors Big 3 of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green and their newest addition, veteran point guard Chris Paul. “He’s like a 2K create-a-player,” Curry said of Wembanyama. “Every guard wants to be 7-foot. Cheat code type vibes.” The savvy Green and athletic Andrew Wiggins will present plenty of problems for Wembanyama and frontcourt mate Jeremy Sochan.

Regular Season

Oct. 25 vs. Mavericks
9:30 ET | ESPN

Surely we can’t skip out on this star-studded opening night with San Antonio hosting division rival Dallas at what should be a packed Frost Bank Center. Wembanyama and the Spurs go toe-to-toe with a Mavericks squad led by a potential Kia MVP in Luka Doncic and eight-time All-Star guard Kyrie Irving. It seems like a lifetime ago that Dallas reached the 2022 Western Conference Finals. Although this Mavs roster is a tad different, it’s still plenty potent with the added motivation of underachieving last season in the face of heightened expectations.

Nov. 26 at Nuggets
8 ET | NBA League Pass

A little more than a month into the season, Wembanyama and the Spurs face the defending-champion Nuggets and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic on the road, fresh off an In-Season Tournament matchup at Golden State. The contest marks the first time the Spurs’ rookie will match up against Jokic and frontcourt mate Aaron Gordon. He’ll also get a good look at Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, who appears poised to earn his first All-Star nod after a stellar NBA Finals showing. At this point of the season, it’ll be way too early to make definitive statements on Wembanyama. Just let the kid play.

LeBron James greets Victor Wembanyama during a 2022 preseason game in Minnesota.

Dec. 13 vs. Lakers

Excuse Wembanyama if he’s a little starry-eyed in this contest against LeBron James, Anthony Davis and this gritty Lakers team that surprised last season with a run to the 2023 West Finals. James seems enamored with the Spurs rookie phenom, too. “No one has ever seen anyone as tall as he is, but as fluid and graceful as he is out on the floor,” James said. “His ability to put the ball on the floor, shoot step-back jumpers out of the post, step-back 3s, catch-and-shoot 3s, block shots, he’s for sure a generational talent.”

Jan. 2 at Grizzlies
8 ET | NBA League Pass

Physicality will likely rule the day in the second matchup of the season between these teams with Wembanyama set to go head-to-head with reigning Kia Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr. What’s your over/under for combined blocks between these two in this game? At this point, Grizzlies guard Ja Morant will have returned from his 25-game suspension to start the season, and that’ll only add more spice to this matchup of divisional foes. Memphis’ offseason additions of Marcus Smart and Derrick Rose should provide much needed veteran leadership to an already tough backcourt led by Morant and Desmond Bane.

As the NBA releases the complete 2023-24 season schedule, rookie debuts are set, teeing up the competition for Kia Rookie of the Year.

Jan. 4 vs. Bucks
7:30 ET | TNT

Two-time Kia MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo believes he’s seen the future of the game in Wembanyama. He’ll catch a glimpse of it up close in the second clash of the season between these teams. “He’s incredible, man,” Antetokounmpo said of the Spurs rookie. “I believe that in 2045, everybody is going to look like Victor. His skills, the way he can shoot the ball, the way he can move. He’s unbelievable. It’s a matter of time for him to lead the league.” For now, it’s still Antetokounmpo’s time as the leader of a Bucks squad harboring legit title aspirations.

Jan. 22 at Sixers

There’s some turmoil in Philadelphia right now, but that should all be resolved by the time the Spurs come to town for Wembanyama’s first game against reigning Kia MVP Joel Embiid. This matchup could turn out to be Wembanyama’s most physical up to this point in his career against arguably the most dominating two-way big in the NBA. This clash also registers as the last outing of a five-game road trip out East that starts in Atlanta on Jan. 15, and features games at Boston, Charlotte and Washington before closing at Philadelphia. An even tougher task awaits in February.

Feb. 23 at Lakers
10:30 ET | NBA League Pass

San Antonio’s annual “Rodeo Road Trip” this season consists of a nine-game stretch on over the course of 20 days from Feb. 7-27 that is sure to test Wembanyama’s well-documented sleep acumen. With two games left on this trip, San Antonio faces the Lakers on the road on the second leg of a back-to-back set after taking on Sacramento the night before. This time of the year is typically when first-year players hit the dreaded rookie wall. In fact, it is almost inevitable. It will be interesting to see how the Spurs’ staff and Wembanyama work to keep that from happening.

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Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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