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Victor Wembanyama & Chet Holmgren: The NBA’s Future

NBA fans always get ramped up for head-to-head matchups. When I was growing up, it was exciting to watch Kobe Bryant and LeBron James play against each other. The two were at the top of the NBA and only met twice every year due to being in separate conferences. However, they were always the biggest headline on game day and had everyone’s eyes glued to the TV. In today’s NBA, fans are excited for Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren to go head to head and will continue to be as their careers progress. 

The NBA has never seen such talent at the center position. Don't get me wrong, there are many centers from the past and today that display a level of skill set that many others can’t. However, for two guys to be 7 feet and display the skill that they have is remarkable. In their early careers, both Wembanyama and Holmgren have shown that they can shine as the best players on the floor. 

Leading Up To This Season

NBA fans were cheated out of an early experience for Holmgren. His injury during the 2022 off-season forced him to miss his entire rookie season. It was unfortunate because the Oklahoma City Thunder were emerging as one of the more promising teams in the Western Conference. As they were one game away from securing the eighth seed, a player like Holmgren could’ve possibly helped them get over the hump. 

Wembanyama was known as a generational talent the moment scouts laid eyes on him. Standing at 7’4, the big man can make plays that make him look like a point guard. There was no question that Wembanyama would become the number-one pick of the 2023 NBA Draft. Playing under legendary head coach Gregg Popovich, Wembanyama has continued to be a rookie favorite in the early season. 

First Two Meetings/What's To Come

Wembanyama and Holmgren saw their first meeting during the preseason. Although the game didn’t count, it was great to see them give fans a preview of what’s to come. Wembanyama displayed the value of his height with his rebounding, rim protection, and dunks. Holmgren did the same but also showed the ability to initiate offense and lead others to success. 

Holmgren finished the contest with 21 points and nine rebounds. Wembanyama ended with 20 points and 5 rebounds. The hype around the two continued as they both had great performances. It was the appetizer of the game that took place on November 14. 

We also have to understand that Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren are in different situations. While Wembanyama is a part of a rebuilding organization, Holmgren is a part of a playoff contender. Heading into the matchup, the Thunder were favorites to win the contest. However, that didn’t take away from being a fun matchup between the rookies. 

The electricity in the Paycom Center was astounding. The crowd was energized and prepared for another fun matchup. However, it wasn’t the matchup that we expected from Wembanyama and Holmgren. In their first regular season matchup, fans expected both to score 20+ points but both didn’t finish in double-figures. Despite the underwhelming performance, both were still able to have shining moments throughout the contest. 

Holmgren and the Thunder prevailed again in a 123-87 blowout against the Spurs. The game sparked the beginning of a new era. As Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren’s careers progress, they will continue to emerge as top players in the NBA. Considering they play in the same conference, hopefully, the world will experience playoff battles between the two as well. 

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