21P, 9R, 0 ER against Wambanyama…6-foot-2 prospect is challenging for rookie of the year honors

Victor Wambanyama (San Antonio) and Chat Holmgren (Oklahoma City) make their Paycom Center debuts as they battle for Rookie of the Year honors.

The Oklahoma City Thunder earned a 122-121 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in their first preseason game of the 2023 NBA Preseason on Tuesday night at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City.

The game was highlighted by a matchup between Victor Wembanyama and Chat Holmgren. Wembanyama, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 Rookie of the Year draft, has a challenger. Chat Holmgren, the No. 2 pick in the 2022 Draft, had a strong showing against Wembanyama.

Holmgren scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds in just 17 minutes on the night. He didn’t commit a single turnover during that time. He also shot 7-of-10 from the field.

His matchup Wembanyama chipped in with 20 points and five rebounds. Both players had great performances, but the consensus is that it was a close call in favor of Holmgren, not just on paper but also on impact.

“I’m going to be doing that for a long time,” Holmgren said in a postgame interview in front of the home fans for the first time. “OKC, I love you!” he wrote on social media, showing his affection for the fans.

Holmgren is a highly touted prospect who was selected second overall in the 2022 NBA Draft behind Paolo Banquero (Orlando Magic). He suffered a foot injury in the offseason Drew League ahead of his rookie campaign that sidelined him for the season, but he used the year off to work on his size, which was considered a weakness.

The upcoming 2023-2024 season will be Holmgren’s rookie year. He won a decision against Wembanyama, the No. 1 pick for Rookie of the Year. His rim protection at 6-foot-9 is excellent, and his slightly lighter weight (94 kg) allows him to switch on defense. He also has the ability to shoot the three-pointer, which helps with spacing. He made his debut in front of the PACOM Center, and it will be interesting to see if he can continue this performance in the NBA regular season. 스포츠토토