Wemby vs. Chet: Best, Worst ... Funniest?
Get ready for Tuesday's Rookie of the Year showdown
Tuesday on TNT (6:30 p.m. CT), the Extraterrestrial risks Chetmate in OKC. Here’s a quick primer.1
Five things to know:
1️⃣ Chet’s better so far
Let’s not get it twisted — Wemby’s the better prospect.
Through 10 games, their scoring, rebounding, blocks, steals and assists per game are a wash, more or less.
But when it comes to shooting — from 2-point territory, 3-point range or the FT line — Holmgren’s way out in front.
Two factors that will eventually work in Wemby’s favor:
He’s 20 months younger. How will Wemby look in April 2025? He’ll still be more than three months younger than Chet is now.
Wemby’s playing out of position most of the time, assuming his eventual position is center. That’s not a critique — the Spurs are providing him a chance to stretch his wings, and he’s taking it.
2️⃣ Vic remains the best bet for ROY
For what it’s worth, Wemby remains far ahead as the betting favorite for NBA Rookie of the Year, listed most places at 70-80% likely to win.
But these things change as the facts on the ground — and in the air — do.
3️⃣ San Antonio is the NBA’s worst team so far
Yes. Despite two dramatic wins in Phoenix.
Or just look at the standings upside down, sorted by scoring margin.
The five worst teams, “led” by the Spurs, losers of five straight:
Perhaps the Spurs aren’t playing this season to win. In any case, they have fallen far below the rest of the league.
By contrast, OKC is a slightly above-average team, and would be the No. 5 seed in the West if the playoffs started today.
4️⃣ Best wishes
Victor and Chet play with joy, competitiveness and team spirit — and remarkable skill — making them easy to like. And their budding rivalry should be great for the NBA and its fans.
So I find myself fervently rooting for their good health.
Of course, their super size and thin frames make me nervous. When the folks at The Onion make jokes about your apparent frailty, as they have in a couple of cheap shots at Chet … it brings up painful memories of big men whose careers were derailed.
On the other hand, Substack star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — an obvious forerunner for Wemby and Chet — is No. 1 all-time in minutes played. So let’s assume that it’s his track record that counts, and that this is the dawn of an exciting new NBA era. 🌄
5️⃣ Funniest comps
Victor Wembanyama = the new Bol Bol?
(Fact check: Wemby is something we’ve never seen before. Sorry, Messrs. Bol, O’Neal and Thomas.)
The Lincolnesque beard makes it clearer than ever he’s the evolutionary version of another basketball hero with Pacific Northwest roots.
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Primer is a word whose pronunciation is contested. Most people I know pronounce it “primer” (with a long “i” … like the stuff you apply before you paint), and that’s how it’s said in England, too. But the primary primer pronunciation in the U.S. sounds like “primmer” — despite the way most Americans actually say it. So, do what you like and you’ll be in good company. But that’s my primer on primer.