10 wildly overlooked aspects of Wembanyama's historic Rookie of the Year season

Rookie of the Year winner Victor Wembanyama had a historic season for the San Antonio Spurs but it was even better than most realize.
Victor Wembanyama
Victor Wembanyama / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 10

9) Wembanyama broke through the rookie wall.

The term "rookie wall" is used to describe first-year players who peak early only to struggle later on during the season. Unsurprisingly, that didn't affect Wembanyama, who actually got better as the season wore on, particularly after December 7th, when he was moved up to center in the starting lineup.

In 52 games since that date, Wemby has averaged a stellar 22.4 points while shooting 34.5% on 5.7 threes, in addition to 11 rebounds, 3.9 blocks, 4.4 assists, and 1.2 steals. Compare that to his stats before switching to center, with him putting up 18.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 19 games.

Over the final four months of the season, he was basically putting up 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks per game while shooting around the league average from three. Some of that can be attributed to playing at the five, while others can also be partly attributed to playing more with Tre Jones, who took over as starting point guard for Jeremy Sochan.

Of course, Wembanyama got better too. He adjusted to teams getting underneath him and making it harder for him to dribble by posting up more. His shot selection also improved as the Spurs got better at feeding him the ball and tossing him lobs, keeping him from having to settle for contested mid-range jumpers. 

Ultimately, Wembanyama adjusting mid-season to a dramatically different role and the ever-changing personnel around him is encouraging. So is his putting up monster numbers for the final four months of the season, which suggests that he can do it over a full season and likely be even better in year two after adjusting to the NBA.