Victor Wembanyama, this year’s first pick in the draft, and Chet Holmgren, last year’s second pick, will always find it hard to avoid comparisons between each other.
With both of them being wiry, skilled, and tall players, with Wembanyama standing at 7’3 and Holmgren at 7’1, fans have been salivating to see if they would match up well against each other. Neither of them disappointed fans in their first head to head matchup.
Sure, it was only in the preseason, but it was still a fun first look at the two centers. Wembanyama had a good night with 20 points, five rebounds, two steals and a block while shooting 8 of 13 from the floor and 2 of 5 from beyond the arc in 19 minutes of play. Holmgren had a fine game of his own, playing Wembanyama to a standstill with 21 points, nine rebounds, an assist and a block. He made 7 of 10 field goal attempts and both of his threes.
Both players showed why their draft stock was so high. The ever-evolving NBA loves the three ball now, and the prospect of having a big man on your roster who has good dribbling and long range to add to their ability to score in the post is a coach’s dream.
The only hope, of course, is that the two will be able to stay healthy throughout their careers. If they do, then NBA fans will be the winners, as their head to head matches could bring even more prestige back to the center position that has regained its luster after the small ball revolution of the 2010s. With veterans like Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Domantas Sabonis leading the way, youngsters like Wembanyama, Holmgren and Houston’s Alperen Sengun have the right role models to follow.