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Victor Wembanyama or Chet Holmgren? Here’s where some voters currently stand in Rookie of the Year debate

This year’s Rookie of the Year race is set up to be one of the best in recent history. Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren are both having historic seasons, and the award truly could go either way depending on how the remaining games play out. 

Around the halfway point of the season, Holmgren was still a slight -190 favorite to Wembanyama’s +125 in betting markets such as BetMGM. The gap between the two has been closing, though.

Who is currently ahead for Rookie of the Year?

MORE: Complete NBA All-Star starter and reserve picks

Is Victor Wembanyama or Chet Holmgren leading the Rookie of the Year race?

The voting will ultimately be conducted by media members, so looking at who they have thus far is a good indication of who is ahead and behind. Here’s what some of the bigger voices in the space are saying so far. 

Yahoo Sports: Chet Holmgren

“It is remarkable that Chet has just been dropped into a burgeoning contender in the West and has been not only just their second-best player, but a legitimate all-star candidate in this year, who’s putting up numbers in line with Hall of Fame enshrinement if he can keep it up for the next decade-plus.”

— Jake Fischer

The NBA on TNT Crew: Victor Wembanyama

“Wembanyama is his team’s first option … If you put Wembanyama on OKC, are they better?” 

— Kenny Smith

ESPN’s Kevin Pelton and Bobby Marks: Chet Holmgren

“Holmgren not only has strong midseason credentials for Rookie of the Year, but he is making the case to play in Indianapolis in next month’s All-Star Game. He also could see his name on an All-Defensive Team.” 

— Bobby Marks

NBC Sports: Chet Holmgren

“What truly separates him in this race is he is playing a meaningful role in winning, a rarity for rookies in the NBA.”

— Kurt Helin

The Ringer: Chet Holmgren

“Chet is elevating and intensifying the things the Thunder were already good at. OKC could score with anyone last season, and Holmgren has bolstered its defensive fortitude without neutralizing that scoring punch.”

— J. Kyle Mann

JJ Redick: Chet Holmgren

“What Chet is doing on a great basketball team, as a rookie, it’s phenomenal. How many times have we seen a rookie this efficient on a top-five basketball team?” 

— JJ Redick

MORE: How Victor Wembanyama escapes pressure of being NBA’s next superstar

Victor Wembanyama is catching up to Chet Holmgren

Victor Wembanyama Spurs

Holmgren started the season with a big lead in the Rookie of the Year race, shooting lights out from everywhere on the floor. That shooting has dipped in recent months, but it is still at an outstanding 54.2 percent from the field, 38.6 percent from 3 and 79.6 percent from the free throw line.

Wembanyama has had the opposite arc in his rookie year. He’s had highlight plays throughout, but he was struggling to score and settling for more jumpers at the beginning of the year. 

Since moving to the center position on Dec. 8, Wembanyama has been the better rookie. He’s averaged an outrageous 21.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.7 blocks per game on 49.8 percent shooting from the field, 33.7 percent from 3 and 79.8 percent at the free throw line. 

MORE: Victor Wembanyama’s DPOY potential in two blocks

Wembanyama has maintained those prodigious rates in only 26.7 minutes per game. The Spurs are being very careful with him, putting him on a minutes restriction while he recovers from an ankle injury. He’s tried to fight it, even covertly checking into a game before being subbed immediately out again. 

Wembanyama has also seen his production rise because the Spurs have finally put point guard Tre Jones into the starting lineup. Jones is one of the only players on the team who has realized that you can throw the ball anywhere near Wembanyama and he will find a way to dunk it. 

There’s little debate that Wembanyama is more likely to be the better player down the line, but Holmgren has put up better statistics on a much better team. However, the statistical gap between them is closing. It’s too close to call as of now — this award will be determined in the last month of the year. 

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