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Victor Wembanyama lived up to the hype. Was his rookie season the greatest of all time?


Welcome to the Victor Wembanyama experience. Come one, come all, for there is a 7-foot-4 Frenchman who can nutmeg you off the bounce, block your 3-pointers, step back from 3, put back his own stepback in two steps and dunk on you from a standstill outside the restricted area. Behold the human cheat code.

Here, we tracked the San Antonio Spurs rookie’s progress relative to the most anticipated prospects of the past 50 years, using Yahoo Sports’ own default fantasy basketball settings to rank their production.

But first a few words …

Let us pause for a moment to appreciate what Wembanyama just accomplished. After the first week of the season, he was never worse than sixth on this list, climbed as high as second and finished third — among some of the greatest rookie seasons from the greatest prospects over the past half a century.

The question was not whether Wembanyama was going to be good. We wondered if he was the best prospect since LeBron James or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, two of the three greatest players in NBA history.

And he met those expectations.

(For the record, it is impossible to know how many Victor Vector points Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) would have generated as a rookie, since the league did not track steals, blocks and turnovers at the time, but he generated more points than anyone on this list before we even attempt to account for his blocks. He was also a 22-year-old rookie entering a 14-team league that split its pool of players with the ABA.)

Wembanyama is the greatest teenage rookie ever in the NBA, even better than James, and it is not close:

  • Wemanyama (2023-24): 21.4 PTS (47/33/80), 10.6 REB, 3.9 AST (3.7 TO), 1.2 STL, 3.6 BLK

  • James (2003-04): 20.9 PTS (42/29/75), 5.5 REB, 5.9 AST (3.5 TO), 1.6 STL, 0.7 BLK

Wembanyama deserves consideration for All-NBA and Defensive Player of the Year. He finished the season as one of the 20 most impactful players in a league that has never been deeper. It is insane.

Even more insane: How Wembanyama characterized his progress after one season.

Asked how his current level compares to where he hopes to reach, Wembanyama told the French media, “I would say that I am currently at 15% between my first NBA game and what I hope will be my prime.”

Fifteen percent. It is impossible to imagine a player some seven times better than Wembanyama is now. That is an overstatement. (His teammates are closer to 15% of what we hope they will be than he is.) But even if Wembanyama is at 60% of his peak self, it is easy to imagine him one day as the best player alive.

And that is really all we could have asked for out of his rookie season.

We found out how it all came out in the wash. That is what the tracker was for. Before we finish, a key:

  • Season averages: Points (FG%/3P%/FT%), rebounds, assists (turnovers), steals, blocks

  • Advanced: Player efficiency rating, true-shooting percentage, win shares per 48, box plus-minus

  • Through X games (record): Total PTS-REB-AST-STL-BLK, TO (FGA-FGM, 3PA-3PM, FTA-FTM)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week X): Default season settings

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Without further ado, the Victor Vector rankings: Week 1 (16th)Week 2 (6th)Week 3 (6th)Week 4 (5th)Week 5 (3rd)Week 6 (4th)Week 7 (4th)Week 8 (4th)Week 9 (5th)Week 10 (6th)Week 12 (4th) • • Week 14 (6th)Week 16 (6th)Week 18 (4th)Week 20 (4th)Week 22 (4th)Week 24 (2nd) • The End …

20. Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks

  • 1985-86 (50 games): 20 PTS (47/0/74), 9 REB, 2.1 BLK, 2.0 AST (3.4 TO), 1.1 STL

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 17.4 PER, 52.6 TS%, .084 WS/48, 1.1 BPM

  • Through 82 games (23-59): 998-451-102-54-103, 172 TO (386-814 FG, 0-5 3P, 226-306 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 1,522.7

19. Kevin Durant, Seattle SuperSonics

  • 2007-08 (80 games): 20.3 PTS (43/29/87), 4.4 REB, 2.4 AST (2.9 TO), 1.0 STL, 0.9 BLK

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 15.8 PER, 51.9 TS%, .040 WS/48, -0.1 BPM

  • Through 82 games (20-62): 1,624-278-192-78-75, 232 TO (587-1,366 FG, 59-205 3P, 391-448 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 1,812.3

18. Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons

  • 1981-82 (72 games): 17 PTS (42/29/70), 7.8 AST (4.2 TO), 2.9 REB, 2.1 STL, 0.2 BLK

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 14.5 PER, 48.7 TS%, .046 WS/48, -0.8 BPM

  • Through 82 games (39-43): 1,225-209-565-150-17, 299 TO (453-1,068 FG, 17-59 3P, 302-429 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 1,962.65

17. Yao Ming, Houston Rockets

  • 2002-03 (82 games): 13.5 PTS (50/50/81), 8.2 REB, 1.8 BLK, 1.7 AST (2.1 TO), 0.4 STL

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 20.6 PER, 57.0 TS%, .176 WS/48, 2.2 BPM

  • Through 82 games (43-39): 1,104-675-137-31-147, 173 TO (401-805 FG, 1-2 3P, 301-371 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 2,091

16. Grant Hill, Detroit Pistons

  • 1994-95 (70 games): 19.9 PTS (48/15/73), 6.4 REB, 5 AST (2.9 TO), 1.8 STL, 0.9 BLK

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 19 PER, 54.1 TS%, .097 WS/48, 2.0 BPM

  • Through 82 games (28-54): 1,394-445-353-124-62, 202 TO (508-1,064 FG, 4-27 3P, 374-511 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 2,256.45

15. Dikembe Mutombo, Denver Nuggets

  • 1991-92 (71 games): 16.6 PTS (49/0/64), 12.3 REB, 3 BLK, 2 AST (3.5 TO), 0.6 STL

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 16.5 PER, 54.0 TS%, .086 WS/48, 0.0 BPM

  • Through 82 games (24-58): 1,177-870-156-43-210, 252 TO (428-869 FG, 0-0 3P, 321-500 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 2,443.45

DENVER, COLORADO - APRIL 02: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets goes to the basket against Victor Wembanyama #1 of the San Antonio Spurs during the first quarter at Ball Arena on April 02, 2024 in Denver, Colorado. 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 Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Victor Wembanyama led the league with 3.6 blocks per game. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

14. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

  • 2003-04 (79 games): 20.9 PTS (42/29/75), 5.9 AST (3.5 TO), 5.5 REB, 1.6 STL, 0.7 BLK

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 18.3 PER, 48.8 TS%, .078 WS/48, 1.7 BPM

  • Through 82 games (35-47): 1,654-432-465-130-58, 273 TO (622-1,492 FG, 63-217 3P, 347-460 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 2,564.6

13. Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks

  • 2018-19 (72 games): 21.2 PTS (43/33/71), 7.8 REB, 6 AST (3.4 TO), 1.1 STL, 0.3 BLK

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 19.6 PER, 54.5 TS%, .101 WS/48, 3.9 BPM

  • Through 82 games (33-49): 1,526-563-429-77-25, 247 TO (506-1,186 FG, 168-514 3P, 346-485 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 2,736.05

12. Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers

  • 1996-97 (76 games): 23.5 PTS (42/34/70), 7.5 AST (4.4 TO), 4.1 REB, 2.1 STL, 0.3 BLK

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 18 PER, 51.3 TS%, .065 WS/48, 0.9 BPM

  • Through 82 games (22-60): 1,787-312-567-157-24, 337 TO (625-1,504 FG, 155-455 3P, 382-544 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 2,751.7

11. Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets

  • 2005-06 (78 games): 16.1 PTS (43/28/85), 7.8 AST (2.3 TO), 5.1 REB, 2.2 STL, 0.1 BLK

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 22.1 PER, 54.6 TS%, .178 WS/48, 5.2 BPM

  • Through 82 games (38-44): 1,258-400-611-175-6, 183 TO (407-947 FG, 50-177 3P, 394-465 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 2,804.1

10. Ralph Sampson, Houston Rockets

  • 1983-84 (82 games): 21 PTS (52/25/66), 11.1 REB, 2.4 BLK, 2 AST (3.6 TO), 0.9 STL

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 20.1 PER, 55.1 TS%, .108 WS/48, 0.9 BPM

  • Through 82 games (29-53): 1,720-913-163-70-197, 294 TO (716-1,369 FG, 1-4 3P, 287-434 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 2,832.95

9. Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers

  • 1979-80 (77 games): 18 PTS (53/23/81), 7.7 REB, 7.3 AST, 2.4 STL (4.0 TO), 0.5 BLK

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 20.6 PER, 60.2 TS%, .180 WS/48, 4.8 BPM

  • Through 78 games (60-22): 1,387-596-563-187-41, 305 TO (503-949 FG, 7-31 3P, 374-462 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 2,911.95

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8. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

  • 2010-11 (82 games): 22.5 PTS (51/29/64), 12.1 REB, 3.8 AST (2.7 TO), 0.8 STL, 0.5 BLK

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 21.9 PER, 54.9 TS%, .152 WS/48, 2.6 BPM

  • Through 82 games (32-50): 1,845-989-312-63-45, 223 TO (696-1,376 FG, 7-24 3P, 446-695 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 2,930.55

7. Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets

  • 1984-85 (82 games): 20.6 PTS (54/0/61), 11.9 REB, 2.7 BLK, 1.4 AST (2.9 TO), 1.2 STL

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 21.1 PER, 56.4 TS%, .168 WS/48, 2.1 BPM

  • Through 82 games (48-34): 1,692-974-111-99-220, 234 TO (677-1,258 FG, 0-0 3P, 338-551 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 3,053.65

6. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

  • 1997-98 (82 games): 21.1 PTS (55/0/66), 11.9 REB, 2.7 AST (3.4 TO), 2.5 B LK, 0.7 STL

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 22.6 PER, 57.7 TS%, .192 WS/48, 4.6 BPM

  • Through 82 games (56-26): 1,731-977-224-55-206, 279 TO (706-1,287 FG, 0-10 3P, 319-482 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 3,088.35

5. Larry Bird, Boston Celtics

  • 1979-80 (82 games): 21.3 PTS (47/41/84), 10.4 REB, 4.5 AST (3.2 TO), 1.7 STL, 0.6 BLK

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 20.5 PER, 53.8 TS%, .182 WS/48, 4.5 BPM

  • Through 82 games (61-21): 1,745-852-370-143-53, 263 TO (693-1,463 FG, 58-143 3P, 301-360 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 3,192.15

4. Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

  • 1984-85 (82 games): 28.2 PTS (52/17/85), 6.5 REB, 5.9 AST (3.5 TO), 2.4 STL, 0.8 BLK

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 25.8 PER, 59.2 TS%, .213 WS/48, 7.3 BPM

  • Through 82 games (38-44): 2,313-534-481-196-69, 291 TO (837-1,625 FG, 9-52 3P, 630-746 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 3,335.75

3. Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs

  • 2023-24 (71 games): 21.4 PTS (47/33/80), 10.6 REB, 3.9 AST (3.7 TO), 1.2 STL, 3.6 BLK

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 23.1 PER, 56.5 TS%, .085 WS/48, 5.2 BPM

  • Through 82 games (22-60): 1,522-755-274-88-254, 260 TO (551-1,186 FG, 128-394 3P, 292-367 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 3,365.55

2. Shaquille O’Neal, Orlando Magic

  • 1992-93 (81 games): 23.4 PTS (56/0/59), 13.9 REB, 3.5 BLK, 1.9 AST (3.8 TO), 0.7 STL

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 22.9 PER, 58.4 TS%, .163 WS/48, 3.5 BPM

  • Through 78 games (41-41): 1,893-1,122-152-60-286, 307 TO (733-1,304 FG, 0-2 3P, 427-721 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 3,389.95

1. David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs

  • 1989-90 (82 games): 24.3 PTS (53/0/73), 12 REB, 3.9 BLK, 2.0 AST (3.1 TO), 1.7 STL

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 26.3 PER, 59.7 TS%, .241 WS/48, 6.9 BPM

  • Through 82 games (56-26): 1,993-983-158-132-306, 252 TO (652-1,227 FG, 0-2 3P, 585-798 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 3,545.85





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