HomeBasketball TodayVictor Wembanyama Dominates Rookie of the Year Race, Leaving Chet Holmgren in...

Victor Wembanyama Dominates Rookie of the Year Race, Leaving Chet Holmgren in the Dust

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All season long, the spotlight of the rookie class has been cast on San Antonio Spurs big man Victor Wembanyama for obvious reasons. In addition to being arguably the greatest prospect to enter the league since LeBron James, Wembanyama has captivated everyone with his length and skillful play at the center position. Wemby is already a superstar in the NBA, but is all the hype surrounding him enough to claim the Rookie of the Year award over Chet Holmgren?

These two big men are going to be linked to one another their entire careers. Although Holmgren is not a traditional “rookie,” as he was drafted second overall in 2022 and sat out all of the 2022-23 season, he is technically playing his first full season. Not to mention, Chet has made a tremendous impact for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s frontcourt, which is a primary reason why they find themselves with one of the best records not just in the Western Conference but in the NBA as a whole.

The same can’t be said for Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs. While the first overall pick has had a tremendous rookie season and continues to set new records every time he takes the court, the fact of the matter is that the Spurs reside near the bottom of the league standings with just 11 wins at the All-Star break. Could this possibly influence Rookie of the Year voters and cause them to turn their attention to Holmgren instead?

In the midst of the NBA All-Star break, ClutchPoints conducted a poll featuring media members from around the country, some of whom are official voters the league uses to determine the winner of their end-of-season awards. Some cover the league at large, while others cover individual teams. Nonetheless, each media member was asked a variety of questions pertaining to the major awards and the 2024 NBA Finals.


ClutchPoints Full NBA Midseason Media Poll

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Most Valuable Player | Rookie of the Year | Most Improved Player|

Coach of the Year | Sixth Man of the Year | Defensive Player of the Year

2024 NBA Finals prediction


In terms of who the media believes will win this season’s Rookie of the Year award, this ended up being a two-man race between Wembanyama and Holmgren. While some seem to think this award is still up for grabs over the final couple months of the season, the vast majority believe that this race is Wembanyama’s to lose.

Below are the results from the voting that took place during the All-Star break for the 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year.

ClutchPoints 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year Media Poll results

1. Victor Wembanyama (San Antonio Spurs) – 73.3%

2. Chet Holmgren (Oklahoma City Thunder) – 26.7%

NOTE: No other players received consideration for ROTY.

Victor Wembanyama vs. Chet Holmgren for Rookie of the Year

San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) looks to pass in front of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) in the first half at Frost Bank Center.
Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Wembanyama hasn’t just been the best rookie in the league; he has been among the best of the best at the center position. In 49 games this season, Wemby has averaged 20.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks per game, which leads the league. He has also shot 46.8 percent from the floor and 32.0 percent from three-point range. The good news for the Spurs rookie is that despite his low shooting percentage from the perimeter, he has knocked down at least two triples in six straight games since entering the All-Star break.

For Holmgren, he too has made an impact, and his presence is also felt on the defensive side of the floor. The Thunder rookie is averaging 2.6 blocks per game, fourth in the league, and has helped his team claim the fourth-best defensive rating to this point in the year. Holmgren has played in five more games than Wembanyama, averaging 16.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while shooting 53.5 percent from the floor. He has also shot 39.3 percent from three-point range, making a living by running pick-and-pop sets with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at the top of the arc.

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The Rookie of the Year argument between Wembanyama and Holmgren comes down to a couple of areas. The first pertains to the eye test and simply watching these two play for their respective teams. The second is simply a quick dive into the numbers to see how each rookie has performed.

While the Spurs are one of the worst teams in the league, this is by no means Wembanyama’s fault. Without even diving into the advanced statistics, San Antonio has gone 0-6 in the games that Wemby has not played in, proving his value when off the court. This same argument can’t necessarily be made for Holmgren because the rookie has played in every single game for Oklahoma City.

These two have also played against one another twice this season, with the Thunder winning by over 20 points in each meeting. In their most recent matchup, Wemby dropped 24 points and 12 rebounds against Oklahoma City. Holmgren is by far the better three-point shooting weapon compared to Wembanyama. However, the Spurs rookie seems to have a leg up in virtually every other statistical category.

The Rookie of the Year award is an individual award given to one player. Team success and impact definitely matter, and in this case, they favor CHet Holmgren. But Victor Wembanyama has truly been the best rookie to this point in the season from an individual standpoint. Regardless of the idea that he is putting up worthless numbers on a bad team compared to Chet, who is actually contributing to a winning culture, Wemby is viewed by the media as the clear favorite for Rookie of the Year.

Other players to watch for in the Rookie of the Year race

Charlotte Hornets forward Brandon Miller (24) shoots during pregame warm ups against the Atlanta Hawks at Spectrum Center.
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

As for others who could possibly be mentioned in the race for Rookie of the Year, Charlotte Hornets forward Brandon Miller at least deserves recognition for what he has been able to do.

At the start of the 2023-24 season, the second overall pick from the 2023 NBA Draft began his career as a secondary offensive weapon alongside LaMelo Ball, PJ Washington, and others. While he showed some flashes of his scoring potential in October and November, the Alabama product really broke out on the scene due to injuries and various players being out of the rotation. Miller stepped up into a much bigger role alongside Miles Bridges and has arguably been the team’s second-best player since the start of 2024.

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Over his last 16 games, Miller has averaged 22.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting 48.7 percent from the floor and 40.0 percent from deep. In this span, Miller has recorded 11 games with at least 20 points, including a career-high 35 points against the Indiana Pacers on February 4. All of this success the rookie has been having recently drew praise from Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James.

“He’s here for a reason. He’ll continue to get better and better,” James said after the Lakers defeated the Hornets 124-118 earlier this month. “I love what I see from him at this stage in his career.”

Miller has certainly lived up to the hype of being selected after Wembanyama in the draft and is one of the main focal points for his franchise moving forward.

Aside from Miller, there aren’t any other first-year players that could possibly receive votes for Rookie of the Year. Miami Heat swingman Jaime Jaquez Jr. has had some great moments as a role player for his team, as has Golden State Warriors guard Brandin Podziemski. Both players are excellent candidates for the All-Rookie First Team, as is Portland Trail Blazers guard and third overall pick Scoot Henderson.

With the NBA set to resume play coming out of the All-Star break, the Rookie of the Year race truly is Victor Wembanyama’s to lose. At this point, Chet Holmgren’s only chance of winning the award is if the Spurs rookie gets hurt, something nobody in the league is hoping for.

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