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Published on May 24, 2024
French Phenom Wembanyama's Debut Spurs Debate, Greatest NBA Rookie Season EverSource: Wikipedia/Victor Wembanyama

The sports world is buzzing after rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama wrapped up an NBA season for the ages. The towering Frenchman has left jaws dropped and records shattered in his wake, sparking the debate if his inaugural run can be dubbed the greatest of all time. FOX San Antonio recently pondered the question after his string of accolades, including a unanimous Rookie of the Year win—making him the first to unanimously win it since Karl-Anthony Towns in 2016.

Wembanyama's groundbreaking season has not only earned him individual glory but also reignited the San Antonio Spurs franchise, much to the chagrin of their opponents and he's even managed to easily surpass the high expectations placed before him. According to Athlon Sports, the 7-foot phenom finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting, was anointed to the All-Defensive First Team, and narrowly missed becoming an All-NBA selection—feats hardly heard of for a first-year player.

While many rookies find the step up to NBA defense to be a tall order, Wembanyama ascended quickly as one of the league's top defenders. His rare blend of length and agility has proven to be a game-changer on the court. Despite not being selected for the All-Star team, he garnered more first-place votes than any non-DPOTY winner and has become a dominant force in professional basketball, announces Athlon Sports.

Let's not forget the historical context; Tim Duncan's 1997 rookie season with the Spurs has long been held as the gold standard for NBA newcomers. Nonetheless, Duncan had the benefit of playing alongside David Robinson, while Wembanyama has had to carve out success without the luxury of a seasoned All-Star teammate. In fact, he was quickly established as the best player on the roster, a remarkable feat for a rookie and one that further cements his claim as possibly having the greatest rookie season on the books, Athlon Sports explains.

The Spurs faithful and the wider basketball community now eagerly watch as Wembanyama's career unfolds. If his rookie year is any indication, it’s not only San Antonio that has struck gold, but the entire NBA may have to continuously brace itself for the impact of this dynamic French star for years to come.