Kia Rookie Ladder: Set Holmgren controls the No. 1 spot

Chet Holmgren came up big in OKC’s win over Golden State.

Victor Vembanyama, NBA rookie of the year, isn’t going to go wire-to-wire on the 2023-24 Kia ​​rookie ladder.

San Antonio’s improbably long project player still leads the league in casual-fan appeal, but Oklahoma City’s Sed Holmgren has beaten him through the first four weeks of the season based on what has been an efficient and effective rookie performance so far. That’s why the Thunder 7-footer takes the top spot in this week’s rankings.


Weekly review

• Wembanyama still has an edge in „statistics that count,” but Holmgren can’t deny the smooth and unflappable way he filled the OKC void at center. Holmgren is a 50-40-90 shooter at this point, the gold standard for great NBA marksmen past and present (56.5% FG, 46% on 3-pointers, 90.7% FT, to be exact).

• Then there is success. While the 3-11 Spurs will land the No. 1 pick again next June, the Thunder are 10-4 with a five-game winning streak. New players are generally not rated on team records. But when the WL gap is high, it’s a fair tiebreaker.

• Allow the panel to debate the „redshirt rookie vs. true freshman” arguments being made about Holmgren and Wembanyama, respectively. Frankly, given all the differences between first-year players historically and recently, it’s a little silly. Preps-to-pros vs. one-and-done vs. Four years of college vs. overseas pro experience vs. Good luck dissecting the relative pros and cons of NBA G League offseasons.

• Fans in Portland and Houston, and those watching the rookies overall, expect more from Scoot Henderson and Amen Thompson. Draft no. The No. 3 and No. 4 picks have been sidelined since Nov. 1 with ankle injuries.

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A must watch storyline

Most of you would be lying if you said you knew about Cleveland’s Craig Porter Jr. last weekend. He was an unsigned free agent who joined the Cavaliers in a two-way deal, a point guard from Terre Haute, Ind., who started at Vincennes University before logging three seasons at Wichita State. He turns 24 in February and isn’t related to other NBA porters like Howard, Terry, Otto, Michael or Kevins.

But he’s been a terrific surprise for Cleveland over the past week. In an insurance plan without Ricky Rubio and Ty Jerome, Porter scored 12 points against Detroit, 21 against Denver and scored 12 against Philadelphia. He made 17 of his 28 shots, dished 18 assists and helped the Cavs win all three.

before that? Six appearances, totaling 51 minutes and 19 points.


Latest ranking

(All figures till Tuesday 21st November)

1. Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder

Season Stats: 17 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.6 apg
Last Ladder: 2
Draft Selection: No. 2 (2022)

Come for a cool, turnaround about a 3-pointer in Golden State, and stay for Holmgren’s entire lineup that night. He had 36 points, 10 rebounds and five assists after his 37-minute stint, hitting 14-of-22 shots with two steals and two blocks. Only one rookie in Seattle/Oklahoma City history has posted comparable numbers: Kevin Durant in 2007-08.


2. Victor Wembaniama, San Antonio Spurs

Season Stats: 18.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.6 ppg
Last Ladder: 1
Draft Selection: Number 1

The Spurs’ big man put up weekly numbers in line with his season production with 3.3 blocks. But he shot 40% and 22.2% from the field. His plus/minus was also trending in the wrong direction. He’s 114 through 14 games, compared to Holmgren’s +73 over the same period.

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3. Auser Thompson, Detroit Pistons

Season Stats: 11.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.2 apg
Last Ladder: 3
Draft Selection: Number 5

Still fills out various stat-sheet categories – including mistakes. He averages 5.0 per week and leads the NBA with 55. He needed to be as aggressive on offense as he was on defense, and for that reason earned some bench time in Cleveland.


4. Jordan Hawkins, New Orleans Pelicans

Season Stats: 13 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.1 apg
Last Ladder: 4
Draft Selection: Number 14

He helped the Pelicans to 2-1 weeks against the Nuggets, Wolves and Kings. UConn’s shooter has mentored some of the league’s best scorers (like Stephen Curry, Kyle Korver and Ray Allen). He recently Athletic said: „To be great, you must learn from the greats who came before you.”


5. Derek Lively II, Dallas Mavericks

Season Stats: 8.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.2 ppg
Last Ladder: 5
Draft Selection: Number 12

The young Mavs center averaged 4.0 offensive rebounds last week. He was a +3.5 for his team this season, even as the Dallas defense ranked 25th in defensive rating (118.2).


Next 5:

6. Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets

Season Stats: 13.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.9 apg
Last Ladder: 6
Draft Selection: Number 2 overall

Scored 29 against NYK but -7 in defeat. Nine Vs. Celtics, +22 win.

7. Bilal Coulibaly, Washington Wizards

Season Stats: 8.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.9 apg
Last Ladder: 9
Draft Selection: Number 7

57.9% (from 57.1%) was taken last week, He received praise From the main bucks.

8. Jaime Jacques Jr., Miami Heat

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Season Stats: 9.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.3 apg
Last Ladder: 7
Draft Selection: No. 18

Scored 19 against the Bulls in a bounce-back game with a big gain in the fourth quarter.

9. Keonte George, Utah Jazz

Season Stats: 8.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 5.4 apg
Last Ladder: 8
Draft Selection: No.16

The Jazz point guard has more responsibility than most rookies, but seeks talent.

10. Craig Porter, Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers

Season Stats: 7.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.7 apg
Last Ladder: Not ranked
Draft Selection: Undrafted

Two-way guy’s injury minutes: 15 ppg, 60.7% FG in three wins.

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Steve Ashburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can email him here, find his archive here and Follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Warner Bros. Discovery.

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