Reigning number one overall pick Victor Wembanyama had sky-high expectations when he entered the NBA. After an encouraging start to the year, he has managed to up his game in a big way over the last month for the San Antonio Spurs despite being on a minute's restriction over that span.
Over his last 12 games—all on a minute restriction—Wembamyama is averaging a stellar 21.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 3.7 blocks in just 24.5 minutes per game. In many ways, the restrictions have helped Wembanyama learn to be more assertive, taking full advantage of the limited playing time he's given.
In fact, he's averaging nearly 16 field goal attempts, which would equate to more than 21 shots per game if he played around 33 minutes a night. Once his minute restriction gets lifted, he could put away the Rookie of the Year debate, which has been steadily trending in his favor.
Wembanyama can soon put distance between him and his top competitor for Rookie of the Year.
Oklahoma City Thunder center Chet Holmgren is Wembanyama's main competition for Rookie of the Year and has put up strong numbers on a better team. Despite that, Wembanyama has clearly been the better player of the two, averaging more points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals while also closing the gap in terms of shooting efficiency.
While part of the case for Holmgren is tied to the success of the Thunder, team success has never played a part in the Rookie of the Year and shouldn't now. After all, the best rookies almost exclusively go to the worst teams from the previous year.
Overall, with Wembamyama playing extremely well while on a minute restriction, it seems like a safe bet that he will be even better once he is able to play more minutes. That bodes well for his Rookie of the Year hopes and he can lock up the award during the second half of the season.