To Add or Not to Add…Weight?

The biggest conversation revolving around Victor Wembanyama has to do with his weight. Most NBA insiders, panelists, players both former and current talk about the physicality of the league and how he’ll get bullied due to his lack of size.

Victor Wembanyama’s agent “weighed-in” (see what I did there?) on the conversation telling Marc J. Spears of Andcape “People are wrong. We’re not focused at all on weights. I don’t want to put weight on his body. We’re going to fight to not put weight on his body, weight on his body [is] a big mistake. We focus on strength, core. We were very pleased that he linked up [with] Jabbar who played until [41] years old. That’s the path that we want to take.

He went on to say “I’m very glad they, they connected because uh, have a similar body type,” Ndiaye said of Abdul-Jabbar. “Kareem was not heavy. Victor is more mobile, gaudier and taller than Kareem. So, that difference in height is a challenge and is something that we are working on every day. Making him heavy? We don’t want to do that.”

Wemby said in a pre-draft interview on Good Morning America when asked about the thought about needing to bulk up said “Why? What for? You should tell others to skinny up.” I tend to agree with him. Kevin Durant has never “bulked up” he got stronger yes, and even Wemby has acknowledged that he needs to add strength.

Will weight come with age and strength…absolutely but it has to be a natural and likely slowly controlled process because we’re talking about adding weight to a 7-foot 3.5 to 5 inch frame that already has a reported 230lbs on it. Adding weight too fast or too much to a frame that big could have disastrous, and possibly catastrophic consequences that could lead to injury especially in the lower extremities and that is never good for someone that big. Plus keep in mind he’s not a Center he’s closer to Kevin Durant than Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Evreyone loves to talk about the physicality of the NBA and how it will hurt him too, but isn’t that our main gripe with the NBA nowadays? “No one plays defense anymore”. “It’s wide open and all they do is run up and down the floor and shoot 3’s”. “The league has gone soft this would’ve never flown in the 80’s…90’s…early 2000’s” (pick time period). So which is it? Is it physical, or soft?

Wemby himself even spoke to the NBA vs Europe on the podium in Vegas after his summer league performances when asked saying “First of all, the court is more open [here]. It’s going fast, but it’s less physical,” Wembanyama told reporters. “I get fouled a lot, but not as much. Nothing to compare. Here, players are just flying. Out there, it’s more on the ground, pushing on the ground, big box-outs. “Here, it’s great athletes, the best in the world. Way more talent. But I like this better, though.”

And I get it it was Summer League not the “real NBA” but his thoughts have been echoed by other big time stars from overseas like Giannis, Luka, Jokic, Ibaka, Gobert and more.

How about before rushing to an end judgement let’s see if he, and the Spurs have a plan in place and that they have an idea of how they are going to approach this together. We give him the benefit of the doubt with other things, why not his own body and how he approaches keeping it not only intact and healthy, but also mobile and agile for the things we see it do that no other person at that height does skill wise.

The weight will come, that’s inevitable, but are we willing to wait to see what his and the Spurs plans actually are for him?


James Pledger host of Extra Innings w/ Pledger weekdays 6-7p, and the Saturday Morning Hangover Saturday’s 9-11a, Producer for the Blitz weekdays 2-6p. On Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @IamPledger

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