Advertisement

Victor Vector: Victor Wembanyama makes another move up the rankings after 4 weeks

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'll track the San Antonio Spurs rookie's weekly 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 ...

Wembanyama's breakout 38-point game against the Phoenix Suns at the start of November vaulted him from the bottom five to the top six of our rankings of the 20 most hyped rookies of the past half-century, and there he has hovered ever since — despite an interesting development in the Rookie of the Year race.

The 19-year-old is settling into the sort of consistently inconsistent season you expect from a first-year player on the team that held the No. 1 overall pick. Over the past week, Wembanyama logged more shots (58) than points (54) and more turnovers (11) than assists (six), finishing a combined -68 in 90 minutes. His entire season is not so different, and the Spurs have run their losing streak to eight straight after a 3-2 start.

San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama dunks past Sacramento's Harrison Barnes during an NBA in-season tournament game at Frost Bank Center in San Antonio, on Nov. 17, 2023. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama dunks past Sacramento's Harrison Barnes during an NBA in-season tournament game at Frost Bank Center in San Antonio, on Nov. 17, 2023. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

You see flashes of future dominance, but he is shooting 31.3% outside of the restricted area. His decision-making needs to improve. His double-big combination with Zach Collins is being outscored by 11.9 points per 100 possessions. The offensive challenges are compounded by the Jeremy Sochan experiment at point guard, which Yahoo Sports' Dan Devine covered in detail last week. Spurs lineups featuring Wembanyama, backup point guard Tre Jones and no Sochan are +12.6 points per 100 possessions, scoring at a top-five level in a limited sample size, according to Cleaning the Glass. Lineups casting Wembanyama, Sochan and no Jones are -29.3 points per 100 possessions, scoring at a historically low level in a broader sample size.

San Antonio is experimenting with raw materials this season, which is why the Oklahoma City Thunder handed them a 36-point loss despite underwhelming performances by Wembanyama and rookie rival Chet Holmgren in what Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill termed "Skinny Bowl I." The Thunder are functionally not much younger than the Spurs, but the front end of their rotation fits more seamlessly, and it helps to have 25-year-old All-NBA first-team point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander running the show in Oklahoma City.

We are seeing the benefits for Holmgren, who spent last season on injury reserve studying his fit on a team built for him to play center. Holmgren has been far more efficient offensively (17 points a game on 57/46/91 shooting splits!) and even more impactful defensively than Wembanyama. Holmgren is challenging 9.8 field-goal attempts inside of 6 feet per game, holding opponents 11% below their expected percentages, per the NBA's tracking data. (Opponents are shooting 9.4% worse on Wembanyama's 4.7 rim contests per game.)

The result: Holmgren's production on the Western Conference's second-place team yielded 485.05 points through 13 games on our Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy scale — slightly better than Wembanyama's 479.45.

We will find out if it all comes out in the wash. That is what the tracker is for. Before we get started, 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

Without further ado, the Victor Vector rankings: Week 1 (16th)Week 2 (6th)Week 3 (6th) • Week 4 ...

20. Yao Ming, Houston Rockets

  • 2002-03: 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 13 games (7-6): 121-69-9-3-14, 21 TO (47-69 FG, 0-0 3P, 27-40 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 203.95

19. Kevin Durant, Seattle SuperSonics

  • 2007-08: 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 13 games (2-11): 240-55-23-16-12, 44 TO (83-223 FG, 18-64 3P, 56-67 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 286.9

18. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

  • 2010-11: 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 13 games (1-12): 215-137-23-9-4, 30 TO (88-181 FG, 0-1 3P, 39-74 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 328.05

17. Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers

  • 1996-97: 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 13 games (5-8): 224-54-58-21-6, 47 TO (74-182 FG, 23-56 3P, 53-88 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 344.1

16. Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers

  • 1979-80: 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 13 games (9-4): 189-66-69-18-7, 32 TO (71-134 FG, 0-1 3P, 47-59 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 355.95

15. Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks

  • 1985-86: 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 13 games (3-10): 231-103-20-14-23, 34 TO (86-187 FG, 0-0 3P, 59-72 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 359.85

14. Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons

  • 1981-82: 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 13 games (8-5): 287-43-98-22-3, *55 TO (105-221 FG, 1-12 3P, 76-115 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 367.3

(*Game-to-game turnovers unavailable. Estimate based on season average.)

13. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

  • 1997-98: 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 13 games (8-5): 188-142-22-5-31, 42 TO (81-146 FG, 0-2 3P, 26-63 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 369.05

12. Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks

  • 2018-19: 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 13 games (5-8): 255-84-57-11-3, 53 TO (91-192 FG, 32-83 3P, 41-54 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 404.6

11. Grant Hill, Detroit Pistons

  • 1994-95: 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 13 games (7-6): 254-66-58-24-13, 32 TO (90-182 FG, 3-10 3P, 71-86 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 412.6

10. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

  • 2003-04: 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 13 games (4-9): 229-87-82-17-10, 45 TO (92-208 FG, 11-33 3P, 34-53 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 425.65

9. Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets

  • 2005-06: 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 13 games (6-7): 219-69-86-26-1, 33 TO (73-170 FG, 10-41 3P, 63-76 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 432.5

8. Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets

  • 1984-85: 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 13 games (10-3): 247-134-18-12-36, 34 TO (101-196 FG, 0-0 3P, 45-79 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 435.05

7. Larry Bird, Boston Celtics

  • 1979-80: 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 13 games (10-3): 244-116-52-24-11, 40 TO (102-206 FG, 4-11 3P, 36-44 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 449.3

6. Ralph Sampson, Houston Rockets

  • 1983-84: 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 13 games (5-8): 276-154-30-6-29, 42 TO (117-220 FG, 0-1 3P, 42-62 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 463.5

5. Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs

  • 2023-24: 19.3 PTS (43/28/78), 9.5 REB, 2.4 AST (3.8 TO), 1.1 STL, 2.6 BLK

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 16.2 PER, 51.7 TS%, -.039 WS/48, -3.2 BPM

  • Through 13 games (3-10): 251-124-31-14-34, 49 TO (94-219 FG, 21-74 3P, 42-54 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 479.45

4. Dikembe Mutombo, Denver Nuggets

  • 1991-92: 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 13 games (5-8): 262-193-23-12-33, 51 TO (92-209 FG, 0-0 3P, 78-106 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 495.95

3. David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs

  • 1989-90: 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 13 games (8-5): 272-167-26-19-34, 46 TO (86-165 FG, 0-0 3P, 100-140 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 512.25

2. Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

  • 1984-85: 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 13 games (7-6): 358-80-56-36-25, 50 TO (130-268 FG, 1-5 3P, 97-115 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 517.15

1. Shaquille O'Neal, Orlando Magic

  • 1992-93: 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 13 games (8-5): 295-192-19-14-44, 58 TO (112-210 FG, 0-0 3P, 71-129 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 4): 523.25

This article contains affiliate links; if you click such a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission.