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Victor Wembanyama has all but locked up the Rookie of the Year award, at least that's what I'd be writing down if I had an official ballot. He entered the league as the most hyped prospect since LeBron James, and has somehow surpassed the hype and expectations to this point. He's leading the league in blocks, is 14th in rebounds and averages the fewest minutes for a 20+ point scorer, which might not sound all that impressive, but it shows how efficient of a scorer he is while averaging less than 30 minutes a night. 

While he may not win Defensive Player of the Year, he's made an incredibly strong case to at least be a finalist, and in the very near future, he'll likely have an entire trophy case full of them. But for right now, as Wembanyama's rookie season is winding down with just two and a half weeks left of the regular season, it seems like the perfect time to look at his Top 5 best performances of his rookie campaign.

5. Wembanyama's NBA debut

Statline: 17 points, 5 rebounds 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 66.7% FG, 60% 3P

There are plenty of other performances you could put up here because Wemby's put up historic numbers almost nightly. But it only feels right to round out this ranking with his NBA debut. It wasn't his most dominant performance, but it was certainly a peek inside what was to come for the rookie. He was incredibly efficient, and we saw on opening night how his presence in the paint wards off opponents from testing him at the rim. He only recorded one block in that game against the Mavericks, but it was the first example of his NBA career to show why even when you try to space the floor to lure him away from the basket, his length negates that gameplan.

Even with the modest statline, Wembanyama had the Spurs tied at 115 apiece with 3:55 left in that game, but the combination of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving proved too much for the Spurs. That first game put the league on notice that Wembanyama was not only worth the hype but was going to be a problem for years to come.

4. 5x5 night vs. Lakers

Statline: 27 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 steals, 5 blocks, 43.8% FG, 37.5% 3P

This is the game that had my colleague Brad Botkin put Wembanyama in the category of Top 25 player in the league, and honestly can you argue that after this performance? He became the youngest player in league history to join the exclusive 5x5 club. Oh, and to top it off, he did it in the quickest time after playing just 31 minutes. It came in a loss, but that doesn't take away from how impressive this statline is. 

Only 15 players have ever recorded a 5x5, and only one other rookie has done it. What's even crazier about this is that Wemby was just one assist shy of doing the same thing literally just the day prior against the Kings. These aren't normal things for rookies to be doing, and even with all the hype surrounding Wembanyama, he seems to be surpassing that on an almost nightly basis.

3. Clutch performance vs. Suns

Statline: 38 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 57.7% FG, 50% 3P

Let me just set the stage for this game. It was Wembanyama's fifth NBA game, the Suns had erased a 27-point lead that San Antonio had built up and the game was tied at 116 apiece with 4:21 left in the game. Up to this point, the Suns were showing why they were considered a title contender back in November, with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant chipping away at the lead with every made basket. Phoenix was showing its experience while San Antonio was showing its young age. And then Wembanyama just took over. 

Over the final four and a half minutes, Wembanyama put up 10 points, first throwing down a difficult dunk through contact. He followed that up by draining a 3-pointer and then nailing a mid-range jumper, on top of going 3 of 4 from the free-throw line. It was the first of many clutch performances from the rookie, and it showed the Suns, as well as the rest of the league, that he wasn't afraid of a high-pressure moment. It also served as Wemby's season high in points, and the Spurs ended up needing every last point by the end of the game.

2. Wembanyama vs. Holmgren Part 3

Statline: 28 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 blocks, 2 steals, 52.9% FG, 71.4% 3P

Each matchup between these two rookies has been must-see television, and the third iteration delivered the most. Holmgren and Wembanyama were like prized heavyweight boxers exchanging blows in the first half, with the OKC rookie holding the slight edge after two quarters. But out of halftime, Wembanyama put on an absolute show and led the Spurs to a rare win. Twelve of his 14 points in the second half of that game came off 3-pointers, an area where Wembanyama has struggled to find some consistency. But against the Thunder, his shot was falling from deep, and it was his hot hand that helped San Antonio outduel Oklahoma City. 

The highlight was certainly this fourth-quarter block against Holmgren that sent Spurs fans into a frenzy for obvious reasons. It was again one of those blocks that only Wembanyama could pull off, and for it to come against Holmgren, who he is clearly building a rivalry of sorts against, was just icing on the cake. Holmgren doesn't get this stepback midrange jumper blocked often, in fact it's always impressive when the 7'1 Thunder center drills a smooth jumper from that exact spot. But of course, this wasn't just any defender, and Wembanyama made sure to let him know it wouldn't be easy.

What's crazy about that block is Holmgren did everything right. He crossed Wemby up with his handle, which caused him to stumble backward. Then, to create even more space, the OKC big man went into a stepback. Yet it still wasn't enough, as Wembanyama had no issue recovering and closing the gap to meet Holmgren right at the top of his release, blocking the shot before it even left his hand.

1. Historic triple-double vs. Raptors

Statline: 27 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks, 5 assists, 2 steals, 71.4% FG, 50% 3P

This was the quintessential performance to show off the generational talent that Wembanyama possesses. It also gave us a glimpse of the future, one where Wembanyama is all but certain to record the league's first quadruple-double since David Robinson in 1994. But for now, he'll just have to settle for an equally ridiculous statline that he put up against the Raptors, where he became just the fourth rookie in league history to record a triple-double that included blocks.

What's truly remarkable about Wemby's performance in that game was that the blocks he was getting seemed to get increasingly harder as the game went on, and it wasn't as if he was just swatting shots from 6'5 guards. Four came against the 7'0 Jakob Poeltl, and this one in particular against Scottie Barnes is something literally only Wembanyama is capable of doing.

I was just as perplexed as Barnes was after that block, but likely not for the same reason. While Barnes probably thought he should've gotten a foul call, it appeared Wemby got all ball, but the sheer fact that he was even able to pull that off is unlike anything I've ever seen before. It's plays like that that make you remember the practically infinite length Wemby has, and the fact that he was able to recover that well while he was out on the perimeter means no one is safe to get a basket off at the rim, even if you try to pull him out to the 3-point line. 

Combine that with the scoring, rebounding, and facilitation, and you have Wembanyama's best performance of his rookie season. He likely should've gotten the quadruple-double in that game because he was dishing absolute dimes to his teammates, but they were unable to finish some of them. But the Frenchman will surely be in a position to record that rare feat soon, and he'll definitely do it more than once over his career.

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