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How Victor Wembanyama’s rookie season ranks in NBA history



How Victor Wembanyama's rookie season ranks in NBA history

Victor Wembanyama’s NBA rookie season has completed. The San Antonio Spurs introduced that 2023’s No. 1 total draft decide is not going to play in Sunday’s season finale versus the Detroit Pistons as a result of a sore proper ankle. That ends his first NBA marketing campaign at 71 video games.

For the season, Wembanyama averaged 21.4 factors, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and three.6 blocks per recreation. He led all NBA rookies in scoring, rebounding and blocks per recreation common, offering the form of impression anticipated from a No. 1 total choice whereas changing into a must-see attraction for followers almost each night time. The 7-foot-4 French sensation will nearly definitely win NBA Rookie of the 12 months honors.

Wembanyama, 20, went out on a excessive be aware in his last recreation, scoring 34 factors with 12 rebounds, 5 assists and two blocks in a 121–120 upset of the Denver Nuggets that might price the defending NBA champions the No. 1 seed within the Western Convention.

Wembanayama finishes his rookie season as the primary participant in NBA historical past to attain 1,500 factors (1,522), block 250 pictures (254) and hit 100 3-point pictures (128) in a single season. (He additionally compiled 755 rebounds, 274 assists and 88 steals.)

That definitely places him within the dialog for finest rookie season in NBA historical past. However the place does Wembanyama stack up in opposition to different first seasons from the best gamers within the recreation?

How Wembanyama charges among the many all-time greats

His 21.4 factors per recreation is the very best for a rookie since Blake Griffin averaged 22.5 factors throughout the 2010-11 season. The identical goes for Wembanyama’s 10.6 rebounds per recreation, rating beneath Griffin’s 12.1 common.

No rookie comes near Wilt Chamberlain, who averaged 37.6 factors and 27 rebounds per recreation throughout the 1959-60 season.

Blocks have solely been recorded as a stat within the NBA because the 1973-74 season, so the comparisons there are incomplete. Nevertheless, with the data available, Wembanyama’s 3.6 blocks per recreation solely rank behind fellow Spurs star David Robinson, who averaged 3.9 blocks in 1989-90.

One of the best measure of Wembanyama’s rookie success might be PER (Participant Effectivity Ranking), the statistic developed by The Athletic’s John Hollinger that measure’s a participant’s offensive efficiency (subject objectives, free throws, 3-pointers, assists and rebounds) per minute whereas additionally incorporating blocks and steals.

For the 2023-24 season, Wembanyama’s 23.1 PER ranked No. 15 amongst all certified gamers, forward of stars like Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell and Devin Booker.

Nevertheless, amongst all-time NBA rookies, Wembanyama’s PER ranks much more favorably. His 23.1 score is the third-best since Chamberlain’s 28.2 mark. Solely Robinson (26.3) and Michael Jordan (25.8) completed forward of him throughout that span. He ranks greater than Shaquille O’Neal (22.9), Karl-Anthony Cities (22.5) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (22.5).

Did Wembanyama reside as much as his monumental hype? Throughout his rookie season, was he the form of generational expertise that the NBA hasn’t seen since LeBron James? (James completed with an 18.3 PER, by the way in which.)

The numbers say sure. So do a season’s price of highlights showcasing his size, athleticism and expertise. But there may be additionally loads of room left for enchancment.

Wembanyama can get greater, stronger and extra sturdy, maybe able to enjoying greater than 71 video games. Extra importantly, the Spurs can construct a greater group round him and end with a file higher than the 21–60 mark (tied for worst within the West) they take into Sunday’s regular-season finale.

The longer term for Wembanyama appears as thrilling as his spectacular all-around recreation.

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