Dallas Mavericks Kyrie Irving mentions Spurs Victor Wembanyama DPOY
Photo credit: Sports Illustrated

Dallas Mavericks' Kyrie Irving suggests Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama is Defensive Player of the Year material

Published March 20, 2024 at 11:44

On Tuesday night, the Dallas Mavericks completed a season sweep of the San Antonio Spurs with a 113-107 victory. Kyrie Irving led the team in points, while Luka Doncic secured a triple-double. Throughout their encounters, Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving has faced off against Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama multiple times. Irving has been notably impressed by Wembanyama's performance, even going as far as suggesting that he could contend for the Defensive Player of the Year award based on his playing style.

"You got to be aware of him late challenging, and he has the timing of a guard. I don't know if it's just he's played against guards, but I'm just saying, I think he's got a lot of reps of playing against good guards and guarding them one-on-one. Today, I thought I had a reverse layup and he ended up blocking it on the left side, because I thought he was going to be on the right side. But he has this long wingspan, so he covers up a lot of space. Me as a competitor and challenger, I like going in there and challenging him, because if you can finish on [Victor Wembanyama], I feel like you can finish on anybody in the world. He's going to block some and he's going to make you change it, but it's only going to make you better as a basketball player, and that's what I want, and I think everybody should relish in that. But also be smart in challenging him, because he does bate you a lot," Irving said. "He does do things like a Defensive Player of the Year would. He's showing signs that's he's exceeded all the Defensive Player of the Year stats of the previous guys that have won it. You guys see it. I don't know. who they're going to pick, but I mean he has all the tools to be named Defensive Player of the Year. He's for sure a candidate. I don't know how he wouldn't be, unless the games played and minutes. But every Defensive Player of the Year that's won the past few years, he's almost head and shoulder and we still have what 15 or some odd games left? I give him credit for being such a young player but learning on the fly and doing everything he can to get his team wins.»

In all three games Irving played against the Spurs, including the one he missed, his Mavericks emerged victorious. Yet, Wembanyama's performance remained impressive throughout. Joining a chorus of voices, Irving adds his acclaim to the growing praise for the San Antonio rookie big man. In his three matchups against the Mavericks this season, Victor Wembanyama has averaged 17.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 3.3 blocks per game.

He stands alongside Joel Embiid and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as one of the few players in NBA history to achieve at least 33 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, and seven blocks in a single game. With his exceptional talent, he's a strong contender for Rookie of the Year honors this season. Despite averaging 29.1 minutes per game, Wembanyama leads the NBA with an impressive 3.5 blocks per game and contributes 1.3 steals, surpassing the averages of Jaren Jackson Jr.'s Defensive Player of the Year campaign last season. His production has only surged since the All-Star break, averaging 4.8 blocks and 1.8 steals in 31.8 minutes per game.

Source : Real GM
Source : The Athletic
Source : Sports Illustrated
Source : Youtube
March 20   |   17 answers
Dallas Mavericks' Kyrie Irving suggests Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama is Defensive Player of the Year material

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