The Spurs Arena Joined Tate Frazier of The Ringer for a fun and open conversation about meeting his new teammate, advice for young draftees, and his time in Portland with Damian Lillard.
Spurs center Zach Collins spoke with The Ringer’s Tate Frazier about his new teammate Victor Wembanyama on Tuesday in Las Vegas. Collins’ interview was sandwiched between Frazier’s conversations with Ringer contributors Wosny Lambre and Kevin O’Connor.
Frazier and Lambre covered recent turmoil involving a former pop star (and their army of stans) and Wembanyama in the first dozen minutes, as well as a depressing look at modern celebrity status – with Frazier throwing in the zinger “If you think Britney’s crazy, meet her fans.”
O’Connor and Frazier, on the other hand, recapped player movement and the victors and losers of 2023 free agency thus far.
Highlights from the interview with Collins (13:20 – 29:15)
- “It was a rough game for me,” Collins said of his 2017 Summer League debut. I missed a bunch of shots, turned the ball over a few times, and just didn’t feel comfortable out there.” (This sounds eerily similar to the happenings of this week)
- Concerning Wembanyama’s weight, he says, “It’s a balance between gaining weight and being stronger in general… I obviously came in pretty small – I weighed around 220 pounds my rookie year. Now I’m always between 240 and 250.”
- “Summer league’s kinda chaotic,” he says of the Spurs’ engagement in Las Vegas. There are people vying for positions, but there are also guys with roster spots who are just trying to get more repetitions and become more accustomed to the system. It’s something in Wemby’s situation… it’s the summer league portion of it… Now he’s adjusting to what the Spurs do and how we play, as well as the NBA game in general. It’s entirely different.”
- Collins contacted Wemby on draft night, saying, “I reached out to him when he got drafted – just to congratulate him” (to which Frazier responded, “Good teammate! Zach Collins!”). I remember how I felt when I was drafted. It was somewhat of a relief… To tell him how eager I am to play with him – he’ll be very helpful to him!”
- Collins joked after first meeting Wemby, “I told my friends ‘I know what it’s like when you guys dap me up now – give me a hug.” That man is enormous! He’s ridiculously tall! I’m not used to hugging someone and feeling like they’re on top of me – it made me feel like a tiny kid. He’s simply huge, extremely tall, yet he was cool.”
- Coach Popovich was mentioned by Frazier because “he was dressed like Adam Sandler… wandering around the casino by himself and you forget sometimes ‘that’s one of the greatest coaches ever,'” to which Collins remarked, “It’s like a pinch me moment every day.” Every day, even outside of basketball, we get to discuss and have more dialogue… He just teaches everything there is to know about life… I couldn’t have wished for a finer location to continue studying at this stage of my career.”
A few more tidbits in Collins’ interview are well worth digging into. I hope you enjoy one of the many planned deep dives on Victor Wembanyama in anticipation of a very busy season of Spurs basketball in his self-imposed absence following his two-game stint at the Summer League!