Does Paul George Have Authority to Assess Spurs’ Needed Areas of Improvement?

LA Clippers star Paul George spoke on the San Antonio Spurs and Victor Wembanyama during a recent podcast episode, pointing out how the young team can best improve, but does he have the authority for his critiques to be taken seriously?
Nov 22, 2023; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George (13) defends San Antonio Spurs forward Victor Wembanyama (1) during the first half at Frost Bank Center.
Nov 22, 2023; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George (13) defends San Antonio Spurs forward Victor Wembanyama (1) during the first half at Frost Bank Center. / Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
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With his rookie season in the books, San Antonio Spurs star Victor Wembanyama is now working toward an even stronger showing in Year 2. He might be eyes forward, but other stars across the league are still thinking about what he’s already done.

Lonzo Ball was one such example, commenting on Wembanyama’s ceiling as a multi-faceted rookie set to be the centerpiece of the Spurs’ young roster, but even during the season, players like Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic commended the rookie for his unique skill set.

"He is 19 years old,” Jokic said. “He is not getting scared of getting tired. He’s playing hard, and he doesn’t take it for granted. … He’s going to change the game, 100 percent. He’s already on that path.”

READ MORE: Why Lonzo Ball's Bold Victor Wembanyama Take Speaks to Rookie's Potential

Wembanyama shined in San Antonio, just as many expected him to. But as good as he was, the Spurs didn’t have the one-season turnaround behind him the way they did with David Robinson and Tim Duncan — and in a recent podcast episode, LA Clippers star Paul George gave his explanation as to why.

“The problem is he doesn't have the personnel,” George said on Podcast P. “Not that the guys around him aren't good enough, it's just the personnel is not ready for all that he brings and his talents.”

Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) grabs a rebound over forward Jeremy Sochan (10) and Mavericks center Daniel Gafford.
Feb 14, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) grabs a rebound over forward Jeremy Sochan (10) and Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the fist quarter at the American Airlines Center. / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs might not have finished where they had hoped in the Western Confernece, but as the season went on, it was clear that Wembanyama got more comfortable, and the Spurs began to play more like a unit. That was evident during their late-season win over the Denver Nuggets — a game that ultimately doomed Jokic to a matchup against Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Matchups like that one gave San Antonio a reason to look up and be excited for what was to come in the future, and George did acknowledge that as well.

“The way he finished the year is scary for the league,” he said. “You just look at the game against Denver … he had some really good games to close this year out where it was, like ‘Damn, this is what Wemby is.’”

READ MORE: Did Spurs' Late-Season Victory Over Nuggets Affect Playoffs?

While Wembanyama did improve to close out the season, there is a big need the Spurs are looking to address this offseason. Finding a suitable point guard to either grow alongside him or mentor him will be paramount to the slow rebuild approach is seems they want to take.

George spoke to that area of San Antonio’s roster and how it might not have been equipped to bring out the best in Wembanyama from the get-go, but while that might be the case, how much authority does the Clippers star have to speak on it?

In short, a lot.

Last season, the Spurs faced off against the Clippers three times early in the season. All three times, they fell short. There was a clear disparity between the young “all over the map” San Antonio team and the experienced, star-studded LA squad, which the scoreboard reflected.

In those games, Wembanyama and company got a chance to experience what a put-together team truly looked like. LA might not have been able to translate their roster’s talent into playoff wins, but the Spurs weren’t even in a position to make the playoffs, so there was a learning experience to be had.

READ MORE: Why San Antonio Spurs' Final Matchup vs. LA Clippers Is Crucial and Telling

The Spurs still have work to do before they can be true contenders in the Western Conference, but there isn’t any player in the league who would disagree with how promising their future is behind Wembanyama. George has the authority to speak to what they need to do in the meantime, but he also isn’t one to deny what San Antonio has brewing.

In fact, he finished his podcast by complimenting the rising second-year star, just the same as any other bona fide NBA great has done.

Turns out, he’s just as impressed as anyone else.

“He’s a problem,” George said of Wembanyama. “He (just) doesn't have that type of personnel around him … to get him the ball and let him be special. … That's really all it takes from him to unlock.”

Matt Guzman


Matt Guzman is a sports journalist and storyteller from Austin, Texas. He serves as a credentialed reporter and site manager for San Antonio Spurs On SI and a staff writer for multiple collegiate sites in the same network. In the world of professional sports, he is a firm believer that athletes are people, too, and intends to tell stories of players and teams’ true, behind-the-scenes character that otherwise would not be seen through strong narrative writing, hooking ledes and passionate words.