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Spurs’ Victor Wembanyama voted unanimous NBA Rookie of Year



Spurs' Victor Wembanyama voted unanimous NBA Rookie of Year

Victor Wembanyama got here into the NBA with huge expectations, and he responded with among the best rookie campaigns the league has ever seen.

Wembanyama was named the NBA’s Rookie of the 12 months on Monday, garnering all 99 first-place votes. Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder middle Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 decide within the 2022 NBA Draft, got here in second with 98 second-place votes. Final season’s No. 2 decide, Charlotte’s Brandon Miller, got here in third.

Wembanyama turns into the sixth unanimous Rookie of the 12 months within the final 40 years becoming a member of Ralph Sampson (1984), David Robinson (1990), Blake Griffin (2011), Damian Lillard (2013) and Karl-Anthony Cities (2016). He additionally joins the Spurs’ different two No. 1 picks — Robinson and Tim Duncan (1998) — as winners of the award.

“My targets had been at all times to assist my staff as greatest as I may and get higher because the 12 months went on,” Wembanyama mentioned from San Antonio on TNT after the award was introduced on the community’s NBA playoff pregame present. “I knew with the intention to do that I needed to be individually good on the court docket and dominant. So, it was an enormous factor for me and an enormous factor to get. It is at all times been actually vital and I am glad it is lastly official.”

In 71 video games this season, Wembanyama averaged 21.4 factors, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 3.6 blocks and 1.2 steals per recreation. The final participant to common 20 factors, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and three blocks in a single season was Shaquille O’Neal, who did it in his MVP season in 1999-2000.

Wembanyama turned solely the second rookie in NBA historical past to steer the league in blocks (since blocks had been formally recorded as a stat in 1973-74) becoming a member of Manute Bol, who completed the feat in 1985-86. Wembanyama is the primary rookie to report 250 blocks in a season since Alonzo Mourning and O’Neal did it in 1992-93. The 4.5 blocks per recreation Wembanyama averaged after the All-Star break had been essentially the most by any participant after the break since Dikembe Mutombo in 1994.

His 4.81 steals and blocks per recreation common are essentially the most “shares” by any participant in a single season since Ben Wallace did it in 2001-02, the primary 12 months he gained Defensive Participant of the 12 months.

Wembanyama is one among three finalists for Defensive Participant of the 12 months together with Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert and Miami’s Bam Adebayo. Due to the positionless nature of the All-Defensive staff, Wembanyama may find yourself being the primary rookie ever to make first staff All-Protection later this week.

Earlier this season, Wembanyama joked with French reporters that Gobert ought to win Defensive Participant of the 12 months this 12 months however that afterwards, it might now not be his flip.

On Monday, he mentioned he needs to win awards like that — together with finally MVP — as a result of it is often a superb barometer of staff success.

“A very powerful to me is at all times successful,” Wembanyama instructed ESPN. “You recognize, successful the chip clearly is what I wanna do. However, these particular person awards inform quite a bit concerning the path a participant takes all through his profession to get to these heights. They’re vital to me and I am devoted to successful some.”

As a lot as he impressed on the defensive finish, Wembanyama’s offense got here alongside quicker than many anticipated. With 128 3-pointers, he turned the primary participant in NBA historical past with 250 blocks and 100 3-pointers in the identical season.

He averaged 0.72 factors per minute this season, essentially the most in a season by any rookie since Michael Jordan (min. 1,000 minutes).

Wembanyama recorded two triple-doubles as nicely — one with assists and one with blocks. On Jan. 10, he had 16 factors, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in opposition to the Detroit Pistons. Simply over a month in a while Feb. 12, he had 27 factors, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks in opposition to the Toronto Raptors.

Simply 11 days after that, Wembanyama posted a 5×5 in opposition to the Los Angeles Lakers when he completed with 27 factors, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 blocks and 5 steals — turning into the youngest participant to realize a 5×5 in NBA historical past.

In an additional time efficiency in opposition to the New York Knicks on March 29, Wembanyama had 40 factors and 20 rebounds in his highest scoring recreation of the season.

Since blocks turned an official stat, the one different gamers to have a 40-point, 20-rebound recreation, a 5×5 recreation and a 10-block recreation of their profession are Hakeem Olajuwon and Anthony Davis.

Regardless of all of Wembanyama’s accomplishments, San Antonio nonetheless completed with the identical report as they did a season in the past — 22-60 — and it took seven wins of their closing 11 video games to get there.

The Spurs stay a younger staff, and whereas nobody thought their report would not enhance, Wembanyama does see the long-term imaginative and prescient.

“At any level, I by no means thought I wasn’t in the very best state of affairs. I wasn’t in the very best place,” Wembanyama mentioned on the ultimate day of the season. “In fact, I want we had been into the playoffs and I want I did not lose 60 video games, after all.

“However as a lot because it’s onerous at present, I do know it is for the long-term. I belief my teammates one hundred percent and I belief the venture. So, it is actually my confidence … was by no means shaken at any level.”

The Related Press contributed to this story. 

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