San Antonio Spurs number-one overall pick Victor Wembanyama is having a stellar rookie season. Despite that, he has continued to see his terrific play undervalued when compared to 2022 number-two overall pick Chet Holmgren. Holmgren is also having a terrific rookie season and has made an impact on one of the best teams in the NBA, but Wembanyama has clearly been better when you consider the dynamics of their situations.
In 30+ games, he's averaging a terrific 19.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists, while also leading the NBA in blocks—and Holmgren—in each category. Even still, Bleacher Report has Holmgren ranked well ahead of Wembanyama during their ranking of the top players 25 and under.
Why the latest ranking should cause concern for Spurs fans
A major part of the case for Holmgren over Wembanyama is that the Oklahoma City Thunder have taken a major step forward, which coincides with Holmgren's rookie season. However, a large part of that success is due to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as well as internal development. While Holmgren has played a part, he is receiving too much credit.
If Holmgren had missed the season thus far, it's entirely possible that OKC would still be better than they were last season. Of course, Holmgren's been a terrific player on both sides of the ball, especially on defense, but team success shouldn't factor into Bleacher Report's rankings or Rookie of the Year voting.
It isn't just that Wembamyama has lived up to expectations—even despite the Spurs struggling to get him the ball—and he has steadily gotten better. His turnover problem has quickly been nipped in the bud, and he's also been more effective in the post after initially getting pushed around by smaller players. As a result, the unfavorable comparisons to Holmgren are all the more irritating for Spurs fans.
Wembanyama has even recently been on a minute restriction but is still putting up better numbers by playing more assertively. Ultimately, it's clear that he has been the more impressive athlete thus far, and that gap will likely widen as the season progresses.
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