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Wemby Watch: Victor Wembanyama named Kia Skills Challenge participant

The Spurs have 2 games this week before the No. 1 pick heads to Indianapolis for his Rising Stars and All-Star Saturday Night debuts.

Victor Wembanyama will go up against teammate Jeremy Sochan in the upcoming Panini Rising Stars.

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Stay up to date on No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama during his rookie campaign with the San Antonio Spurs. A new Wemby Watch drops every Sunday during the season. Here’s what we saw this week:

All-Star Weekend awaits ⭐️

Wembanyama is set to team up with fellow No. 1 draft picks in Magic’s Paolo Banchero and Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards for the 2024 Kia Skills Challenge as part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night. Team Top Picks will go up against Team Pacers (Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin, Myles Turner) and Team All-Stars (Scottie Barnes, Tyrese Maxey, Trae Young) in the first event of the night. 

Before that, Wembanyama will participate in the 2024 Panini Rising Stars on Friday night (9 ET, TNT). NBA legend and honorary coach Pau Gasol selected Wembanyama first overall in the Rising Stars Draft last Tuesday.

On the court 🏀

Wembanyama returned to Barclays Center for the first time since the Spurs selected him with the first overall pick at the 2023 NBA Draft in June. He scored 21 points and grabbed four rebounds after snatching down only one Thursday at Orlando.

The Spurs are three games into their nine-game Rodeo Road Trip. They have stops in Toronto and Dallas this week before the All-Star break arrives next weekend.

Strengthening a 7-foot frame 🏋️‍♂️

Keep in mind he’s 20 years old, which is why Wembayama recognizes the changes he’s forced to make in his game before he’s really fully adjusted to life in the NBA. Listed at 7-foot-4, 210 pounds, the French phenom longs to beef up to NBA standards. But he wants to do it the right way.

Knowing he needs to pack on muscle, Wembanyama finds himself fighting a difficult battle between striking optimal weight gain and ramping up strength. While he wants the muscle, he also understands it’s in his best interests to approach that endeavor in a manner conducive to optimizing long-term career prospects.

That has played a role in Wembayama continuously tweaking his shot.

“Throughout my career, my body’s been changing so much that sometimes I’ve had ups and downs with my shot,” he explained. “But when you play so often, it makes me practice in-game shots. So, yeah, I’m getting more confident, comfortable. It’s also better than installation.”

Wembanyana produced his first 20-point game of February on Saturday in a 123-103 loss at Brooklyn. 

“When I stopped growing a couple years back, I started getting stronger, wider,” Wembanyana said of his ongoing evolution. “And I’ve been lifting a lot. Probably as much as I play basketball. So, it’s always been something I’ve tried to manage; all this rhythm, all this heavy lifting during the season. It’s continuous work.”

It’s ongoing, too, he asserted.

“During the NBA season, we don’t lift as much as we would do in the offseason or as I would do before,” he said. “So, it’s easier to maintain that shot. Everybody’s body changes, even for 5-foot-10 guards. It’s a little bit harder when you’re young and very tall.”

1-man highlight reel 🤯

Even during a relatively sluggish week, the French phenom still delivered plenty of must-see plays. Take a look.

Check out some of Victor Wembanyama's best plays from Week 16 of his rookie season.

On the road ✈️

Wemby and the Spurs blessed some youth at Hebrew Academy High in Miami Beach Wednesday by holding shootaround on that team’s home court ahead of San Antonio’s matchup against the Heat. Coach Gregg Popovich concluded the session with the school’s players, engaging in a question-and-answer session.

“Nobody planned anything. It was organic. It just happened,” the coach said. “That’s what makes it fun. We just went there to shoot around like normal, and we just said hi to the coaches and everything. There were some kids poking their heads through the doors and everything. So, we just said, ‘Why don’t you just bring them in?’ Everybody just had a hell of a time.”

Wembanyama concurred. 

“Anytime we can make some kids happy by letting them into practice, it costs us nothing and it makes their day, possibly their week, or their month,” Wembanyama said. “So, small gestures like that [are] always fun for us.”

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Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for E-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on X.

Michaela Gilmer is a producer for