Victor Wembanyama's big NBA debut spoiled as Mavs overpower Spurs

San Antonio, Texas - French prodigy Victor Wembanyama scored 15 points for the San Antonio Spurs in his much-anticipated NBA debut on Wednesday but Luka Dončić's triple-double spoiled his start as Dallas secured a 126-119 win.

San Antonio Spurs star Victor Wembanyama (l.) scored 15 points, but it wasn't enough for his team against the Dallas Mavericks.
San Antonio Spurs star Victor Wembanyama (l.) scored 15 points, but it wasn't enough for his team against the Dallas Mavericks.  © USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect

This year's top NBA Draft pick, in foul trouble throughout the second half, made 6-of-9 shots from the floor and 3-of-5 from 3-point range.

He also had five rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a blocked shot over 23 minutes in his first NBA contest.

"It was a lot of emotion. It would have been perfect to win," said Wembanyama. "Tonight really marks the beginning. It's still a dream, I hope to keep that dream feeling."

Former NFL star Jacoby Jones, known for Mile High Miracle catch, has died
Athletes Former NFL star Jacoby Jones, known for Mile High Miracle catch, has died

Dončić topped that 33 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists for the Mavericks, who scored the last eight points for the victory.

"It all starts with our defense," Doncic said. "We played good defense for three quarters but especially at the end we locked in."

Wembanyama, the 19-year-old phenomenon considered the top NBA prospect since LeBron James, used his 7-foot-4 frame, surprising quickness, and outside shooting touch to display his arsenal of skills in the first game of his rookie campaign.

"I was happy. It's representative," he said of his performance. "This in itself is not exceptional. But I hope what I do next will make it special."

Webamnyama still learning the "simple things"

Wembanyama played a total of 23 minutes on his long-awaited NBA debut.
Wembanyama played a total of 23 minutes on his long-awaited NBA debut.  © Chandan Khanna / AFP

Wembanyama had two fouls in the first quarter, two more early in the third quarter and his fifth only 26 seconds into the fourth quarter.

"Maybe I wanted to do too well, not to put my energy into the right things," he said. "I don't need to put that much energy into defense. I'm learning for a first game. These are simple things."

The Frenchman returned with 7:12 to play and sparkled late on. He made an alley-oop dunk shot off a pass from Devin Vassell, added a 3-pointer, and his dunk with 4:56 to play gave the Spurs a 113-112 lead.

Simone Biles clinches ticket to Paris games with brilliant display at US Olympics trials!
Athletes Simone Biles clinches ticket to Paris games with brilliant display at US Olympics trials!

A jumper tied it at 115-115 with 3:55 remaining, but "Wemby" wasn't a main scoring option late for the Spurs and the Mavs were too tough down the stretch.

"I was just focused on being the best I can be when I step back in the court," Wembanyama said. "We're hungry already for the next game."

"Fortunately for us, he's a very tooled, prioritized young man," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Wembanyama. "I don't have to teach him what is it to be a pro."

Cover photo: Chandan Khanna / AFP

More on Athletes: