Joe Paige | Sports Editor
We’re only two weeks into the regular season, but already we are seeing some of these rookies get adjusted to the NBA level quicker than we may have thought. All eyes this season will of course be fixed toward the No. 1 Pick, Victor Wembanyama, there are others who intend to challenge him for the Rookie of the Year award.
Starting off with the favorite to win the ROTY award, Victor Wembanyama has certainly established himself as must-watch television. During his time so far as a San Antonio Spur, he’s averaging 18.8 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, and 2.4 blocks per game. He’s already amassed tons of jaw-dropping highlights, but what’s been shockingly impressive about him so far, is how confident and competitive he becomes in clutch situations. Some of his first couple games in the season have gone down to the wire, but the pressure never fazed Wembanyama not even for a second, it’s great to see already he openly accepts these kinds of challenges.
Detroit chose Ausar Thompson out of Overtime Elite with the No. 5 pick in the draft, and so far, he’s been nothing short of impressive. Like LaMelo Ball in his rookie season, it’s clear that it’s only a matter of time before Ausar gets placed in the starting lineup. He has shown already in just a few games that he can be an elite defender, at 6’6 with a 7 foot wingspan, he’s able to give opposing guards trouble on offense. He also possesses great mobility which allows Thompson to effectively contain the ball, either completely eliminating driving opportunities or forces the ball handler to make tough shots. It’s truly quite impressive seeing how well Ausar’s adjusting to the NBA on a defensive level, he already looks like somebody who could be in the running for multiple all-defense teams in the future.
Last season the 2022 No. 2 pick out of Gonzaga, Chet Holmgren, suffered a Lisfranc injury, which would cause him to miss the entire season. He enters this season fully recovered and seeks a strong start to his NBA career, already in 2 weeks, he’s been able to accomplish just that. Holmgren’s been on fire to start his nba career, not only offensively, but defensively aswell. He currently ranks second in the league for blocks per game at 2.5, and ranks 7th in the league in true shooting at 71.9%. Holmgren has scored 119 points while shooting 55.7% from the field, 90% free throw percentage, and 53.8% from 3 point range, becoming the first player in NBA history to go 50/50/90 with 100+ points through their first seven career games, according to OptaStats.
Holmgren ranks amoungst the league's top five for points, rebounds, assists, and steals per game while also being a key contributer for The Thunder helping them win five of their first eight games. He became the first player in league history to record at least 20 blocks, 15 3-point shots, and 15 assists over the first eight games of a season. It will be difficult for Holmgren to maintain this level of efficiency throughout the rest of the season, but if he manages to still finish with 50/40/90 shooting splits, he’ll accomplish a feat no rookie has ever achieved in NBA history.