Chet Holmgren and Victor Wembanyama's Rookie Showdown

Chet Holmgren and Victor Wembanyama's Rookie Showdown

In a highly anticipated matchup on Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Thunder's Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft, faced off against the San Antonio Spurs' top pick and generational talent, Victor Wembanyama. The clash of these two 7-footers in their first regular-season game promised to be the start of a budding rivalry in the league.

The Thunder dominated the Spurs with a decisive 123-87 victory, but surprisingly, both Holmgren and Wembanyama finished the game with single-digit points. The real story unfolded in the battle of the boards, where Wembanyama outrebounded Holmgren 14-7. It wasn't the explosive debut many expected from these highly touted rookies, but it certainly set the stage for what could become one of the NBA's premier matchups in the years to come.

Despite the lackluster start, it's essential to acknowledge the overall impact of this rookie class, which has been turning heads and exceeding expectations early in the season. ESPN analysts Bobby Marks and Kevin Pelton are keeping a close eye on the league's fresh faces, including Holmgren, who missed his inaugural season due to injury but is now in the running for Rookie of the Year.

Holmgren and Wembanyama are not the only rookies making waves. Detroit Pistons' newcomers are making a strong push for Rookie of the Year, joined by Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II, another starting 7-footer in the mix.

Let's dissect what we've witnessed from the rookies so far this season.

The clash between Chet and Wemby presents a classic contrast – one between rookies thriving in smaller roles and others who are burdened with carrying the load for their struggling teams. Wembanyama's impressive 31% usage rate stands out, marking the second-highest offensive share by a rookie in recorded history, trailing only Joel Embiid's 36% in 2016-17. Notably, Embiid was a 22-year-old rookie who had missed his first two NBA seasons due to injury, making Wembanyama's feat as a teenager leading the Spurs' offense all the more remarkable. Even LeBron James didn't carry such a significant offensive load as a rookie, boasting a 28% usage rate in his debut season.

The Chet vs. Wemby showdown may not have lived up to the scoring expectations, but it undeniably showcased the contrasting paths these rookies are navigating in their early NBA careers. As the season unfolds, we'll continue to witness the evolution of this dynamic rookie class and the emergence of new stars in the league. Buckle up, NBA fans – this is just the beginning of what promises to be an epic journey for these towering talents.
Back to blog