Anthony Edwards, Victor Wembanyama, Chet Holmgren, Extra

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Photographs

As we noticed in Madison Sq. Backyard on Tuesday, Victor Wembanyama’s hype is nowhere near being over. He’s a mesmerizing participant with a novel talent set, however he will not be the perfect rookie within the NBA. Per HoopsHype’s International Score, the early Rookie of the 12 months race has a frontrunner, Chet Holmgren, with an honest lead over Wembanyama.

Wembanyama is definitely rated nearer to the third-ranked rookie, Dereck Vigorous II. The 19-year-old Mavericks rookie, is giving us some prime DeAndre Jordan vibes. At this level, the previous Duke huge man appears to be like just like the beginning middle for Luka Doncic‘s Mavericks for years to come back. It’s not just for his rim safety, however for his potential to be on the receiving finish of many Doncic assists and “Luka assists.”

However at this level, it’s cheap to assume Wembanyama and Holmgren are the clear favorites for the award. Fundamental numbers for each gamers look comparable, however the Thunder middle has been far more environment friendly as a scorer, together with a whopping 55.6 p.c from three and 90 p.c from the foul line. In the meantime, Wembanyama is taking pictures worse and averaging two turnovers per help thus far in his younger profession, the worst within the league amongst gamers with not less than 200 minutes on the court docket this season.

After all, there are elements which have performed in Holmgren’s favor. On one hand, he’s teaming up with probably the greatest gamers within the NBA, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, thus avoiding the first focus of the opposing protection. Wembanyama, nevertheless, would be the high task on opponents’ scouting reviews. Holmgren is surrounded by notable playmakers, together with  Josh Giddey, a inventive pass-first playmaker. In Wembanyama’s case, not a lot, and that’s totally on Gregg Popovich. His experiment utilizing energy ahead Jeremy Sochan, a piece in progress as a playmaker, as the start line guard over Tre Jones will not be making the Spurs higher for now.

Questioning one of many all-time nice coaches is a dangerous proposition, however numbers communicate for themselves. When Wembanyama is on the court docket with Jones, the Spurs are +52 this season, by far the perfect pairing potential within the squad. However when Wemby is paired with Sochan, Popovich’s squad is a team-worst -80. On paper, on the court docket and on the stat sheet, taking part in Wembanyama as a lot as potential with the perfect playmaker of his crew appears to be like like a no brainer. In actuality, we’ve solely seen it throughout 14.5 minutes per sport thus far.

In the meantime in OKC, Holmgren has been constant. Moreover a 4-for-14 effort towards Atlanta, he’s scored in double-digits with not less than 55 p.c taking pictures in each sport. We haven’t seen any monster sport from him but, however it’s onerous to recollect such a constant begin for an NBA profession. All whereas exhibiting all of the layers of his all-around sport as a shooter, defender, and ball-handler. It could be the good thing about spending a 12 months round NBA gamers whereas injured, however his adjustment to the league appears to be like higher than Wembanyama’s.

The season solely began a number of weeks in the past, and unexpected twists and turns are a continuing within the league. There’s a strong argument that the ceiling of Wembanyama is larger than Holmgren as he grows extra comfy round NBA defenses. However on the very least, Holmgren is proving to be a worthy opponent for the Rookie of the 12 months race and one other stepping stone for Oklahoma Metropolis’s promising future.

– Alberto De Roa

You’ll be able to comply with Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto), Yossi Gozlan (@YossiGozlan), and Frank Urbina (@FrankUrbina_), and Alberto De Roa (@TikotDeRoa) on X, previously referred to as Twitter. 

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