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Published on April 23, 2024
San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama Vies for Dual NBA Honors, Spurs Fans Weigh His Debut Against Tim Duncan's LegacySource: Wikipedia/San Antonio Spurs

It's the showdown San Antonio has been waiting for, as the Spurs' Tim Duncan and newcomer Victor Wembanyama spark debate over who truly had the superior rookie season. In the latest episode of Locked On Spurs, Jeff Garcia, alongside Sweep The League's Rudy Campos, delved into the storied career of Duncan while juxtaposing it with Wembanyama's breakout year.

Victor Wembanyama, standing at an impressive 7-foot-4, has not just captured the attention of basketball aficionados but also etched his name in the NBA record books. According to a report by KSAT, the French prodigy became the first rookie in the history of the league to be named a top-three finalist for both the NBA Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards – a clear nod to his dual-threat capabilities on the court. With stats including an average of 21.4 points and 3.6 blocks per game, Wembanyama has distinguished himself as a force to be reckoned with.

His competition isn't to be underestimated though, with the Rookie of the Year alongside Oklahoman City Thunder forward, Chet Holmgren who started all 82 regular-season games, averaging 16.5 points and 2.3 blocks. They're joined by Charlotte Hornets' Brandon Miller, who boasted an impressive 37.3% three-point shooting record, ranking fourth best among rookies. Duncan, meanwhile, had garnered a fifth-place finish for Defensive Player of the Year in addition to winning Rookie of the Year back in his 1997-98 season, a formidable benchmark for any NBA newcomer.

The announcement of Wembanyama's finalist position was part of TNT's pregame show, where he shared the spotlight with prominent players like Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo, and his fellow countryman, Rudy Gobert of the Minnesota Timberwolves. As two all-NBA defenders, Adebayo and Gobert both boast impressive credentials, but it's Wembanyama who is breaking new ground in this year's awards race. This, despite the fact that others have come close before, including 7-foot-7 Manute Bol in 1985, according to KSAT.

The final verdict on Wembanyama's historical rookie campaign will unfold during TNT's coverage of the NBA Playoffs, starting today, April 23. Whether he overtakes Duncan in the hearts and minds of Spurs fans remains to be seen, but there's no denying that Wembanyama's rookie season has been nothing short of legendary.