Respected media is already putting Wembanyama in unprecedented category

Victor Wembanyama's stellar defensive play might be putting him in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation, which has never been done by a rookie.

San Antonio Spurs v Toronto Raptors
San Antonio Spurs v Toronto Raptors / Cole Burston/GettyImages
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Victor Wembanyama's rookie season has been filled with jaw-dropping highlights and untapped potential on display nightly. This trend continued in a performance against the Toronto Raptors. After recording a triple-double with 27 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 blocks, Wemby is beginning to make a genuine case to be the first-ever rookie to win Defensive Player of the Year.

We all expected Victor to be a dominant force on the defensive end of the floor, and so far, he's been nothing short of it, leading the NBA in both blocks per game at 3.2 and total blocks at 153. For reference, during Rudy Gobert's 2018 Defensive Player of the Year season, he totaled 129 blocks and 44 steals. Through Wemby's first 42 games, he recorded 134 blocks and 47 steals.

The French phenom has submitted himself among the most respected defenders. Not just for his work around the rim, but his versatility as a perimeter defender has started to gain traction. He's displayed his ability to truly guard any position and constantly disrupt the interior and passing lanes with his high awareness.

A little over halfway into the season, Wemby has begun to run away with the Rookie of the Year award, as he is now the favorite to receive the honor at -600, according to FanDuel. But many believe that won't be the only hardware Wembanyama will be nominated for.

While the award is currently Gobert's to lose, Wemby sits at +3400 to take home the title. Since the beginning of the new year, the Spurs have seen a massive improvement in their defensive stats; however, they are still in the lower quartile of defense for the entire season at 24th best.

While the team's defense might not be the brightest shining light, Wembanyama's case for DPOY shouldn't be going under the radar. Along with the insane amount of blocks already recorded, he's also averaging 1.1 steals a night. Victor is also averaging 3.6 deflections per 36 minutes, and opposing players shoot 10.6 percent worse within six feet of the basket, with Victor as the nearest defender.

With the numbers he's averaging, he has built a reputation as one of the top interior defenders. Still, Victor has been able to go out and put on a clinic underneath the basket, as he's recorded three of the top four single-game block performances this season. He took the crown after last night's league-leading and career-high of ten.

It's hard to think this may be the worst version of Wembanyama. The top pick is only 20 and still has so much growing to do as a player, and if the worst Wemby is already an arguably top-20 player and in the running for defensive player of the year, imagining how large he could leap may be impossible.

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