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Comparing Victor Wembanyama’s numbers to NBA legends

Let’s assess where Victor stands among the rookie campaigns of NBA legends.

San Antonio Spurs v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Victor Wembanyama has been under a minutes restriction for the past month, but surprisingly, his production hasn’t suffered. In fact, he’s been putting up some of his best numbers during this recent stretch, pushing his point-per-game average into the twenties for the first time this season. Eager to measure the magnitude of his rookie campaign, I tried to compare Victor’s performance with some of the all-time greats during their debut seasons. Given that those legends played significantly more minutes per game than Wembanyama, I opted to analyze their per-36 statistics to level the playing field.

I gathered data on ten legendary players and included three current ones—LeBron James, Victor Wembanyama, and Chet Holmgren. The results were intriguing, revealing that the Spurs rookie is having a remarkably impressive season, perhaps drawing comparisons to some Hall of Famers.

A few standout points from the table include Victor ranking fourth in points per game, free throw percentage, and first in blocks per game. It’s essential to realize that certain statistics, such as blocks, were not recorded until the 1973-1974 season, making it challenging to directly compare the rookie to legends like Chamberlain and Kareem in these metrics.

When examining the per-36 perspective, there is an argument that Wembanyama’s season might be more impressive than LeBron James’s. He’s contributing more points, rebounds, and blocks while displaying better shooting accuracy than LeBron. While this observation sparks debate, it’s crucial to recognize that evaluating a player’s production through per-36 stats isn’t flawless.

In addition to the comparison with historical greats, I included Chet Holmgren in the analysis because of his outstanding rookie campaign, mirroring many aspects of Wembanyama’s on-court performance. While the per-36 analysis may slightly favor Victor, it’s undeniable that both players are delivering historic performances this season.

In the second episode of #NBAUndrafted, the host sat down with Kareem to discuss Victor’s performance this season. Although Kareem noted that Victor has a different playing style, he acknowledged the Frenchman’s ability to dominate the game, reminiscent of Kareem’s own dominance.

After the 76ers game, NBA reporter David Aldridge expressed admiration for Wembanyama’s growth and his ambition to become the best player in the league.

The excitement peaks when the two best rookies face off! Wednesday night, the Spurs host Chet Holmgren and the Oklahoma City Thunder, anticipating an intense showdown between Chet and Vic, far better than their first encounter!