This year’s NBA Rookie of the Year race is one of the most interesting in a while. Why? Because two big talents, who are projected to greatly impact the league’s history, compete for this prestigious honor. 

Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren are currently leading the way in the battle for the award, and we are going to talk about them and several other guys who deserve to be mentioned. 

Wemby’s Big Coming to the League

Since he appeared in France, Wembanyama was the biggest hype in the American media, and it was evident that whoever got the first pick would use it on him. 

His incredible physic and the fact that such a phenomenon hadn’t been seen in the past immediately made him the next big thing in basketball, probably since LeBron and the Zion. 

For the moment, the Spurs aren’t playing good basketball, but Wemby, on the other side, is doing his stuff as expected, and maybe even better. So far, he played 35 games, averaged 19.8 points, and had 10.1 boards with 3.1 blocks while shooting 46.1% from the field, which is good for a guy his age and experience.

However, we can’t forget that he already played competitive basketball overseas. With all due respect to NCAA, that’s a completely different level of seriousness, which is why Wemby responded well to pressure in the NBA. His Spurs do struggle and are outside of all the playoff battles, sitting last in the West.

Holmgren and OKC Smashing

Opposite to them, the OKC Thunder is chasing the top spot in the conference, with Chat Holmgren making a massive contribution. He and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are the top two players in this unit, and we are more than sure that without the newbie from Gonzaga Bulldogs, OKC wouldn’t be near the current position. 

He played more games than Wemby, but averaged fewer points and boards, 17.4 pts and 7.3 boards, with almost 2.5 blocks per game. Though, his shooting percentages were far better than the Frenchman’s, with him delivering 54.8% Fg and 38.7% for three. 

We do need to realize here that he plays in the system, unlike Wemby, where the entire system adapts to him. That’s why, according to the bookies, the guy from OKC has a slightly better chance of winning the award at this stage of the year than his rival from the Spurs.

Wemby might be more exploited by the media, but on the other side, that won’t play a big role with some of the voters. For the moment, we haven’t seen them two face-to-face because Spurs and the OKC play their first of three seasonal meetings on January 25th. That contest will have massive implications on the Rookie of the Year race.

Rest of the Rookies Far Behind

We have several other guys who are doing their job great and deserve to be mentioned, even though they won’t win the honors. Miami’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Charlotte’s Brandon Miller are playing very good basketball. While the Heat look decent and capable of reaching the direct seed in the playoffs, the guys from North Carolina struggle and aren’t anywhere near the top 10 places in the East.

Jaquez is scoring 14 points a night, with 3.9 boards and 51.3% FG. He also adds 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals each night, all that in more than 30 minutes on the floor. 

Miller averages almost the same number of points, 13.9, and boards, 3.7, with lower shooting percentages, 41.5% FG. 

Apart from these, we will mention Scoot Henderson, Jordan Hawkins, and Duop Reath.


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