Kia rookie ladder: Victor Vembaniyama, Set Holmgren still setting the tone

With two-thirds of the season remaining, Victor Vembanyama (right) and Seth Holmgren are the class of rookies in 2023-24.

With two-thirds of the regular season remaining, it may seem silly to declare the 2024 Kia ​​rookie race a two-man battle. So let’s put it this way: It would take a completely unexpected turn to eclipse the performances of Victor Vembaniyama and Seth Holmgren in San Antonio and Oklahoma City, respectively.

As fans eagerly follow each of the other top newcomers up the ladder, what will happen over the next four months is about this: If you had to make a barstool bet, would you take Wembey-Set as a ROY entry or the field? ? Ah, I thought so.

Weekly review

• Chet Holmgren is a A one-man SWAT team, blocking 15 shots in about 48 hours this week in wins over Denver and Memphis. The last rookie to make at least seven interceptions in consecutive games? Tim Duncan 25 years ago. „I feel like Seth blocks everything,” Thunder forward Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said. And he gets them all the way.

Holmgren’s comment: „Being in the right place at the right time.” He added: „When I play hard, I think it comes naturally.”

• Wembaniyama sat out the Spurs’ only visit to Milwaukee on Tuesday with a sore right ankle. But he held his own at the top this week, averaging 20 points, 13.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 4.0 blocks in three appearances. He edges out Holmgren in blocks (3.0 to 2.8) and „shares” (4.3 to 3.6).

• Scoot Henderson of Portland, no. 3 Selector plays catch-up after early injury. But he gave the Blazers 14.8 points and 4.8 assists this week, Tuesday against Phoenix. „Every day is getting better,” Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said, attributing Henderson’s high effort.

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• So many losses can seem like a job risk for young development, so the Spurs, Wizards and Pistons aren’t the best to put their lottery picks on. But here’s some context: The worst team in NBA history, the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers went 9-73, played and was most likely the 5th overall pick in the 1972 draft. And failure did not crush him. In fact, point guard Freddie Boyd had the best of his six NBA seasons, earning All-Rookie status by averaging 28.7 minutes, 10.5 points and 3.7 assists. The problem is, the Sixers should have produced Julius Erving, Paul Westphal, or half a dozen other great NBA players in that draft.

A must watch storyline

New faces on Christmas. Some NBA rookies They used Christmas games As their coming out parties, watch for Miami’s Jaime Jacques Jr., Golden State’s Brandyn Potziemski, Denver’s Julian Strather and Dallas’ Derek Lively II in action Monday.

All-time great rookies: LeBron James (34 points in 2003), Patrick Ewing (32 points, 11 rebounds in 1985), Adrian Dantley (30, 1976), Walt Bellamy (35-11, 1961) and Oscar Robertson (32- 15-16 Yuletide triple-double in 1960). Never forget Wilt Chamberlain’s Rookie of the Year award on December 25, 1959, when he dropped 45 points and 36 rebounds at Syracuse.

Latest ranking

(All figures till Tuesday, December 19)

1. Victor Wembaniama, San Antonio Spurs

Season Stats: 19.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 3.0 ppg
Last Ladder: Number 1
Draft Selection: Number 1

Apparently, it’s a new rule or something that only one „brick” is allowed on the floor at a time, and Wembey missed his attempt against Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. „I’m probably one of the most educated players,” Wembaniama had said ahead of the losing match. However, he dutifully sat out San Antonio’s 22nd straight loss Some flame orange Common in Lambeau Field.

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2. Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder

Season Stats: 16.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.8 ppg
Last Ladder: Number 2
Draft Selection: No. 2 (2022)

OKC coach Mark Daigno’s analysis: “The game is definitely slow for him. We talk all the time about growing through experiences, and he’s a great example of how — good, bad or up-and-down experiences — you grow and continue to grow. Technold has more to say about the newcomer.

3. Jaime Jacques Jr., Miami Heat

Season Stats: 13.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.7 apg
Last Ladder: No. 4
Draft Selection: No. 18

While Jaques was closing in on Dwyane Wade’s 15-game hitting streak in double figures, he scored just 8 runs against Minnesota. Meanwhile, there There was a JJJ comparison For a different market product.

4. Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets

Season Stats: 14.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.2 apg
Last Ladder: Number 3
Draft Selection: Number 2 overall

Tough 0-4 week for the Hornets and Miller, but has a chance in the fight. His 32.2 minutes per game leads all freshmen. His 0-for-5 night in Toronto on Monday was a stretch of 35-or-75 (46.7%).

5. Auser Thompson, Detroit Pistons

Season Stats: 10.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.4 apg
Last Ladder: Number 6
Draft Selection: Number 5

The Pistons have cut his minutes (22.4 this month and 28.9 in October and November) but they’re still losing. While practicing at Detroit’s Overtime Elite facility in Atlanta, the freshman got to touch on his recent past. He and his twin brother Amen (Houston Rockets, No. 4 pick last June) honed their craft in that program in 2022-23.

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Next 5

6. Derek Lively II, Dallas Mavericks

Season Stats: 8.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.6 ppg
Last Ladder: Number 7
Draft Selection: Number 12

Big man (73.4% FG) while rehabbing his left ankle in walking boot > crutches.

7. Keonte George, Utah Jazz

Season Stats: 10.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.0 apg
Last Ladder: Number 5
Draft Selection: No. 16

The Jazz’s five-game stretch (left leg) will hopefully return through Christmas.

8. Bilal Coulibaly, Washington Wizards

Season Stats: 9.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.7 apg
Last Ladder: Number 8
Draft Selection: Number 7

The baby is raised in the mostly lukewarm bathwater of wizards.

9. Brandin Pat Ziemia, Golden State Warriors

Season Stats: 8.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.6 apg
Last Ladder: Number 9
Draft Selection: No. 19

Back Strain Vs. The Celtics became Wisconsin’s baby As a cheerleader tuesday

10. Toumani Camara, Portland Trail Blazers

Season Stats: 7.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.0 apg
Last Ladder: Number 10
Draft Selection: Number 52

Scoot Henderson was the most impressive of the Blazers’ six rookies, though he was sensational.

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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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