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Victor Vector Week 22: Wembanyama's case for All-NBA

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 track the San Antonio Spurs rookie's bi-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 ...

There is an All-NBA case to be made for Wembanyama. I did not make it in our early look at the landscape, but his case is strong, especially if we still considered positions as we made our rosters.

In our new position-less reality, guards and forwards crowd the field beyond an increasingly clear first team (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Dončić, Nikola Jokić and Jayson Tatum). That list: Devin Booker, Jaylen Brown, Jalen Brunson, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Anthony Edwards, De'Aaron Fox, Paul George, Tyrese Haliburton. LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Zion Williamson.

There are a handful of worthy bigs, too:

  • Bam Adebayo (60 of 71 games), Miami Heat (39-32, seventh in East)
    20-11-4 on 52/32/75 shooting splits; 19.9 PER, 6.0 WS, 2.3 BPM, 2.2 VORP, 57.2 TS%

  • Anthony Davis (67 of 71 games), Los Angeles Lakers (39-32, ninth in West)
    25-13-4 on 56/28/81 shooting splits; 25.8 PER, 10.4 WS, 5.1 BPM, 4.3 VORP, 62.0 TS%

  • Rudy Gobert (65 of 71 games), Minnesota Timberwolves (49-22, third in West)
    14-13-1 on 65/0/65 shooting splits; 18.7 PER, 9.6 WS, 1.6 BPM, 2.0 VORP, 66.5 TS%

  • Domantas Sabonis (70 of 70 games), Sacramento Kings (41-29, seventh in West)
    20-14-8 on 61/41/71 shooting splits; 23.7 PER, 11.1 WS, 6.7 BPM, 5.5 VORP, 65.1 TS%

  • Victor Wembanyama (63 of 71 games), San Antonio Spurs (15-56, 15th in West)
    21-10-4 on 47/32/80 shooting splits; 22.6 PER, 2.8 WS, 4.4 BPM, 3.0 VORP, 56.4 TS%

Pick two. With weeks to go in the race, I chose Davis and Sabonis, but the case for Wembanyama is simple. He is a more dynamic offensive player than Adebayo or Gobert, and he may be the best defender in the league — far better than Sabonis and slightly more impactful than Davis (an all-time great defender).

The case against Wembanyama is simple, too. His team is terrible. Everyone else on this list at least has a chance to make the playoffs. (Although, Davis is facing an uphill battle.) Wembanyama's plus/minus since the turn of the calendar (+35) might be remarkable on a team that is being outscored by 7.4 points per 100 possessions, but San Antonio's failure to pair him with a point guard to start the season set his case back.

To make All-NBA as a rookie is rare. It has happened 21 times in NBA history and four times since 1984. All four are on our list of the most anticipated rookies of the past 50 years. Larry Bird made the first team in 1980, and Michael Jordan made second team in 1985. The last two are both Spurs: David Robinson (1990 third team) and Tim Duncan (1998 first team). The Victor Vector ranks Wembanyama between them.

Duncan appeared on an All-NBA team every year until missing one for the first time in 2011. Likewise, if Wembanyama fails to make it this year, he may not miss the roster for some time, so long as he's healthy.

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 (5th)Week 5 (3rd)Week 6 (4th)Week 7 (4th)Week 8 (4th)Week 9 (5th)Week 10 (6th)Week 12 (4th) • • Week 14 (6th)Week 16 (6th)Week 18 (4th)Week 20 (4th) • Week 22 ...

20. Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks

  • 1985-86 (50 games): 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 71 games (22-49): 998-451-102-54-103, 172 TO (386-814 FG, 0-5 3P, 226-306 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 1,522.7

19. Kevin Durant, Seattle SuperSonics

  • 2007-08 (80 games): 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 71 games (17-54): 1,405-295-157-68-68, 210 TO (501-1,183 FG, 54-192 3P, 349-399 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 1,627.4

18. Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons

  • 1981-82 (72 games): 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 71 games (34-37): 1,043-179-472-128*-12*, 256* TO (385-909 FG, 11-49* 3P, 262-367 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 1,637.7

(*Some game-to-game statistics unavailable. Estimates based on season averages.)

17. Yao Ming, Houston Rockets

  • 2002-03 (82 games): 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 71 games (37-34): 973-599-116-24-131, 152 TO (358-699 FG, 1-2 3P, 256-320 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 1,840.45

16. Grant Hill, Detroit Pistons

  • 1994-95 (70 games): 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 71 games (26-45): 1,142-345-282-104-57, 162 TO (407-860 FG, 4-21 3P, 324-431 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 1,844.25

San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) blocks a shot by Brooklyn Nets guard Dennis Schroder (17) during overtime of an NBA basketball game in Austin, Texas, Sunday, March 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Wembanyama leads the league in blocks with 3.4 per game. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

15. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

  • 2003-04 (79 games): 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 71 games (31-40): 1,400-377-383-105-56, 237 TO (528-1,284 FG, 57-197 3P, 287-380 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 2,163.7

14. Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers

  • 1996-97 (76 games): 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 71 games (21-50): 1,399-264-474-132-22, 278 TO (487-1,212 FG, 116-372 3P, 309-444 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 2,215.1

13. Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets

  • 2005-06 (78 games): 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 71 games (34-37): 1,084-343-523-150-4, 158 TO (351-815 FG, 46-159 3P, 336-401 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 2,406

12. Dikembe Mutombo, Denver Nuggets

  • 1991-92 (71 games): 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 71 games (23-48): 1,177-870-156-43-210, 252 TO (428-869 FG, 0-0 3P, 321-500 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points: 2,443.45

11. Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks

  • 2018-19 (72 games): 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 71 games (28-43): 1,395-494-380-71-24, 225 TO (464-1,080 FG, 155-462 3P, 312-441 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 2,457.75

10. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

  • 2010-11 (82 games): 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 71 games (27-44): 1,580-850-255-46-40, 191 TO (590-1,180 FG, 7-20 3P, 393-608 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 2,468

9. Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers

  • 1979-80 (77 games): 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 71 games (50-21): 1,216-496-485-155-29, 254 TO (446-841 FG, 5-21 3P, 319-396 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 2,470.55

8. Ralph Sampson, Houston Rockets

  • 1983-84 (82 games): 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 71 games (27-44): 1,503-812-140-59-173, 250 TO (621-1,191 FG, 1-3 3P, 260-395 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 2,497.3

7. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

  • 1997-98 (82 games): 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 71 games (48-23): 1,440-851-192-47-178, 245 TO (586-1,072 FG, 0-8 3P, 268-414 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 2,626.6

6. Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets

  • 1984-85 (82 games): 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 71 games (41-30): 1,492-854-98-87-175, 203 TO (595-1,102 FG, 0-0 3P, 302-488 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 2,638.1

5. Larry Bird, Boston Celtics

  • 1979-80 (82 games): 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 71 games (54-17): 1,519-736-322-130-50, 220 TO (607-1,239 FG, 55-130 3P, 250-298 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 2,848.45

4. Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs

  • 2023-24 (28 games): 20.7 PTS (47/32/80), 10.4 REB, 3.5 AST (3.6 TO), 1.3 STL, 3.4 BLK

  • Advanced rookie statistics: 22.6 PER, 56.4 TS%, .074 WS/48, 4.4 BPM

  • Through 71 games (14-50): 1,306-654-222-79-217, 224 TO (475-1,020 FG, 105-327 3P, 251-314 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 2,864.5

3. Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

  • 1984-85 (82 games): 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 71 games (34-37): 1,968-468-413-164-65, 246 TO (716-1,396 FG, 6-38 3P, 530-628 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 2,871.8

2. Shaquille O'Neal, Orlando Magic

  • 1992-93 (81 games): 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 71 games (34-37): 1,654-963-124-55-249, 263 TO (636-1,118 FG, 0-2 3P, 382-644 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 2,937.4

1. David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs

  • 1989-90 (82 games): 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 71 games (48-23): 1,714-838-145-115-282, 231 TO (587-1,105 FG, 0-1 3P, 540-733 FT)

  • Victor Vector Yahoo Fantasy points (through Week 22): 3,213