NBA Rookie Power Rankings 6.0: Victor Wembanyama finishes season at the top of the class

The NBA regular season has come to an end and it was jam packed with incredible performances from first-year players. Victor Wembanyama, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, did not disappoint in his rookie year and the future is bright for the young star as the San Antonio Spurs continue to rebuild their franchise around him.

“I would say that I am currently at 15% between my first NBA game and what I hope will be my prime,” Wembanyama told Théo Quintard of Eurosport France.

Wembanyama’s record-setting rookie season did not go unnoticed and neither did a few other players, including Chet Holmgren, who played his first season after sitting out last year due to injury, and second-round sleeper GG Jackson in Memphis.

Here’s a final look at Yahoo Sports’ rookie rankings for the 2023-24 season.

1. Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs

Draft slot: No. 1

Previous rank: 1

Wembanyama has done things this season that no other player can do and exceeded all expectations coming into his first year. He finished the regular season leading all rookies in blocks (254), steals (88), rebounds (755), field goals made (551) and total points (1,522). He also led the entire NBA in combined blocks and steals this season (332) and had the highest step-back 3-point field goal percentage at 46.2% (minimum of 50 3-point field-goal attempts).

In a recent win over the Denver Nuggets, Wembanyama scored 17 points in less than three minutes and finished with a team-high 34 points. He is the runaway favorite for Rookie of the Year and has been all season long. He finished the season averaging 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.6 blocks in 29.7 minutes per game.

In 2003-04, LeBron James averaged 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists in 39.5 minutes as a rookie. James is now in his 21st season and has been named an All-Star 20 times. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility to predict Wembanyama could have a similarly successful career.

2. Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder

Draft slot (2022): No. 2

Previous rank: 2

Holmgren was one of two rookies that played in all 82 regular-season games this year and he also led all rookies in minutes played. If anyone was going to catch Wembanyama for top rookie honors, it was Holmgren. He was so impressive in his first year and, along with Wembanyama, is changing the way the center position is played.

Holmgren can stretch the floor and take players off the dribble, and is also an elite rim protector with his 7-6 wingspan. During the regular season, Holmgren averaged 16.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while shooting 37% from 3-point range. He is a key part of the growing success of the Thunder, and the budding rivalry between Holmgren and Wembanyama will be must-watch television.

SAN ANTONIO, TX - FEBRUARY 29: Forward Victor Wembanyama #1 of the San Antonio Spurs guards Oklahoma City Thunder Forward Chet Holmgren #7 during a game at Frost Bank Center on February 29, 2src24 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Brien Aho/Getty Images)

Chet Holmgren and Victor Wembanyama enjoyed historic rookie seasons. (Photo by Brien Aho/Getty Images)

3. Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets

Draft slot: No. 2

Previous rank: 3

Miller was the No. 1 option for the Hornets by the end of the season and silenced all doubts about his physicality and shot creation. He was productive in LaMelo Ball‘s absence this season, averaging 17.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting 44% from the field. Miller led all rookies in 3-point field goals made (184) and also averaged the most minutes (32.2). In any other year, Miller would have been considered for top rookie honors.

4. Amen Thompson, Houston Rockets

Draft slot: No. 4

Previous rank: 7

Thompson finished the regular season strong with his first career triple-double in a win over the Clippers on Sunday. He was incredible the entire game, playing 40 minutes and posting 18 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, three blocks and three steals.

Thompson was one of the best perimeter defenders this year and has the ability to guard both positions in the backcourt. It was a slow start for Thompson, but as the game slowed down for him and he found his rhythm, he was very productive. Thompson averaged 15.8 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in the final four games of the season.

Amen Thompson with his first career triple-double

18 Points

11 Rebounds

10 Assists

3 Blocks

3 Steals

89% Shooting

16.6 PTS, 12 REB, 6.7 AST over his last 3

— (@Ballislife) April 14, 2024

5. Jaime Jaquez Jr., Miami Heat

Draft slot: No. 18

Previous rank: 4

Jaquez had two of his best games of the season in back-to-back wins against the Raptors to close out the regular season. In the first game, Jaquez had 20 points (2-for-4 from 3) and nine assists and was more of an on-ball guard with the way he facilitated for his teammates. In the final game of the regular season, Jaquez scored 18 points and added five assists, four rebounds and three blocks. Jaquez was one of the oldest rookies this season, playing four years at UCLA, and it really helped with the adjustment to the NBA.

“As a rookie my teammates always tell me, ‘You inherit the team before you,’ and they were in the Finals last year and their job is to try and get back,” Jaquez told Yahoo Sports in December. “So I’m inheriting that and trying to push and do whatever I can to help stay on top and try to make it back to the Finals and win.”

6. Brandin Podziemski, Golden State Warriors

Draft slot: No. 19

Previous rank: 6

Podziemski is the only rookie to post 250 assists and 350 rebounds and has been an integral part of the Warriors. He’s one of the best rebounding guards in the rookie class and strong with the ball in his hands. Podziemski averaged 9.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists in April as the Warriors went 6-2 to close out the regular season.

7. Keyonte George, Utah Jazz

Draft slot: No. 16

Previous rank: 5

It’s clear the Jazz are all in on George, and he really showed a lot of versatility throughout the season. In the beginning he was more of a facilitator, and by the end of the season he was more of a scoring guard. His 3-point shot has improved and he’s more than just a catch-and-shoot threat behind the arc. George capped off his rookie year with 21 points (5-for-6 from 3-point range) and four assists in the loss to the Warriors on Sunday.

8. GG Jackson, Memphis Grizzlies

Draft slot: No. 45

Previous rank: Honorable mention

There are always sleepers in the second round of the NBA Draft, and the Grizzlies got a steal in the 6-9 forward. Jackson finished his incredible rookie season with a season-high 44 points and 12 rebounds in a loss to the Nuggets and set the franchise record for most points scored by a rookie. Jackson is one of the youngest rookies in his class, and the reps he got this year catapulted his development.

9. Dereck Lively II, Dallas Mavericks

Draft slot: No. 12

Previous rank: 8

Luka Dončić is third in assists and a lot of that has to do with the players he’s passing to. Lively has been so good out of the pick-and-roll alongside Dončić and Kyrie Irving. His footwork around the rim and the way he can catch passes in traffic are what set him apart from other young bigs in the league. Lively finished the regular season averaging 8.8 points and 6.9 rebounds in 23.5 minutes.

10. Scoot Henderson, Portland Trail Blazers

Draft slot: No. 3

Previous rank: Unranked

The Trail Blazers are in rebuild mode and were patient with their point guard as he adjusted to the pace and spacing of the NBA. The future looks bright for Henderson if his final game of the season is any indication of the trajectory his career is headed. He finished with 30 points and seven assists and scored in a variety of ways. The two games prior to that, Henderson had double-doubles in points and assists, and he averaged 19.4 points and 9.7 assists in April.


Deixe um comentário

O seu endereço de e-mail não será publicado.