NBA Preseason Showdown: Wembanyama and Holmgren Deliver on the Hype

Victor Wembanyama of the San Antonio Spurs NBA team during the NBA Draft

OKLAHOMA CITY— In a preseason clash that lived up to its billing, San Antonio Spurs’ Victor Wembanyama and Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chet Holmgren put on a performance that left no doubt about their future in the NBA.

First-Half Fireworks

Holmgren, the Thunder’s 7-foot-1 center, notched 21 points and nine rebounds in just 16 minutes of first-half action. On the other side, Wembanyama, the Spurs’ 7-foot-4 sensation, tallied 20 points and five boards in 19 minutes, primarily in the first half.

The Thunder edged out the Spurs 122-121 on Monday night.

Read more: New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics: NBA Preseason

High Draft Picks Make Their Mark

Wembanyama, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, and Holmgren, the No. 2 pick in the 2022 Draft, didn’t disappoint. Holmgren, who missed all of last season due to a foot injury, seemed eager to make up for lost time.

Versatility on Display

Both players showcased a wide array of skills, from ball-handling to three-point shooting. Holmgren was aggressive from the get-go, scoring five points in the opening three minutes.

Wembanyama, meanwhile, grew more assertive as the game progressed, punctuating his performance with a two-handed dunk and a key block against Jalen Williams, last season’s All-Rookie selection.

Wembanyama’s aggressiveness paid off, as he helped the Spurs build a 65-48 lead. However, the Thunder clawed their way back into the game with a 21-12 run, setting the stage for a nail-biting finish.

Other NBA Preseason Highlights

In other preseason action, LeBron James made his preseason debut as the Los Angeles Lakers held off a late Brooklyn Nets rally to win 129-126 in Las Vegas.

The New York Knicks also started their preseason on a high note, defeating the Boston Celtics 114-107 at Madison Square Garden.