VICTOR Wembanyama has made his NBA summer league debut – and Charlotte Hornets big man Kai Jones made sure the San Antonio Spurs star would have vivid memories from the day.
Jones, 22, welcomed the No. 1 overall NBA draft pick with a vicious poster dunk that went viral on social media.
Charlotte Hornets center Kai Jones has welcomed Victor Wembanyama with a monster poster dunk over the FrenchmanCredit: Getty
Jones has played mostly in the G League over the past two yearsCredit: Getty
San Antonio beat Charlotte 76-68, but Wembanyama, 19, had a tough night in Las Vegas as he played with a Spurs jersey on for the first time.
The Frenchman went 2-for-13 (15.4 percent) from the floor to log nine points in addition to eight rebounds and three assists.
However, Wemby showed glimpses of his huge potential with smart off-ball movement, brilliant passing, good handles – and tremendous rim protection as he recorded five blocks.
But it was Jones who came up with the highlight of the game, posterizing Wembanyama in the third quarter.
As the Spurs led 51-35, the French phenom found himself defending in a 2-on-1 situation with the Hornets center and Nick Smith Jr. charging at the rim.
Smith Jr. then served Jones – who has mostly played in the G League over the past two years – with a long alley-oop pass, which the ex-Texas standout hammered down spectacularly over Wembanyama.
Awkwardly, the poster dunk happened just as Spurs general manager Brian Wright was praising Wemby in a live interview with ESPN.
“[Wembanyama] just got a ‘Welcome to the NBA’ moment right there,” the network’s commentator Doris Burke summed up the play.
And many NBA fans had similar feelings about the play.
One wrote: “It’ll happen more than once. Better to get that one out the way early, Wemby.”
Another tweeted: “Wembanyama kinda got dunked on and it had to be an awkward moment for the Spurs GM during a live interview talking about their prized #1 draft pick when it happened lol.”
A third said: “Welcome to the NBA, Victor Wembanyama. # 1 overall pick gets a rude awakening.”
Asked about the dunk, Wembanyama said it was a lesson to be learned at the summer league.
“I think we got a lot to adjust on defense because I often guard not a big man,” the French star said.
“Between the switches, no switch, I still got to get into staying connected with what the defense is.
“We’re going to get scored on sometimes – it’s going to happen.
“The good thing is it’s the summer league and we’re here to learn.”