Spurs' Wembanyama unanimously wins NBA Rookie of the Year 
San Antonio Spurs forward Victor Wembanyama. Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs' Victor Wembanyama unanimously wins NBA Rookie of the Year award

The most hyped NBA rookie since LeBron James lived up to the hype this season.

Victor Wembanyama was named Rookie of the Year for the 2023-24 season. The San Antonio Spurs’ No. 1 pick from last summer’s draft averaged 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists while leading the NBA in blocks with 3.6 per game.

That last number is why Wembanyama is also a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, alongside Bam Adebayo and fellow French 7-footer Rudy Gobert.

He’s the first rookie to lead the league in blocks since Manute Bol in the 1985-86 season, and the 3.58 blocks are the highest league-leading total since Hassan Whiteside in 2015-16 and the third-highest in the last 15 years.

The Spurs center was one of the most anticipated draft prospects in decades, so much so that the NBA streamed the games of his French team, Metropolitans 92, during the 2022-23 season.

Wembanyama started relatively slow, but ramped up his usage, his minutes and his defensive stats as the season continued, By April, Wembanyama was averaging 25 points, 12.8 rebounds 6.8 assists and 5.6 blocks.

He finished ahead of another stellar rookie center, Oklahoma City’s Chet Holmgren. Holmgren was the No. 2 pick in 2022, but missed all of the following season with an injury. The Thunder center had 16.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks, but all 99 voters still listed Wembanyama first on their ballots.

OKC also had the second-place ROY finisher last season, when Jalen Williams came in behind Paolo Banchero. No wonder the Thunder got the No. 1 seed.

What’s scary about Wembanyama’s season is he spent much of it on a minutes restriction, having played well into June for Metropolitans. Going into an offseason where Wembanyama has vowed to get stronger and improve his endurance, this may just be the tip of the iceberg for Wemby’s immense talent.

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