Thunder’s Chet Holmgren sounds off on Rookie of the Year race vs. Victor Wembanyama.

Chet Holmgren got brutally honest on the Rookie of the Year race with Victor Wembanyama and the Thunder’s championship chances.

Thunder's Chet Holmgren, Spurs' Victor Wembanyama both dunking basketballs. Place fire in image.

Victor Wembanyama is probably going to win the Rookie of the Year award, but Chet Holmgren has enjoyed a terrific season as well. The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder stars are set to compete against one another for years to come. Holmgren recently spoke with Shams Charania of Stadium about the Rookie of the Year conversation.

“You know, I feel like it would be a disservice to our team and what we’re trying to accomplish, especially the way everybody’s bought in to doing whatever it takes to win, and setting other certain personal things to the side,” Holmgren said. “That’s kind of been my day to day thought process. There’s definitely a competitive aspect to all the match-ups (vs. Wembanyama) as there should be.

“That’s how the NBA is, and that’s what the NBA’s been built on, dudes being competitive and everybody wanting it really bad. I feel like that’s not going to change. As long as we’re playing and our two teams match up on the schedule, it’s going to be competitive and it’s going to be fun.”

Chet Holmgren is focused on helping the Thunder win games. Oklahoma City is currently third in the Western Conference with just a few games remaining in the regular season. Holmgren understands that winning takes priority, especially with the playoffs right around the corner.

With that being said, the Thunder star also admitted that there is a “competitive aspect” that surfaces when playing Wembanyama. The two will likely be compared to each other throughout the remainder of their careers, and Holmgren wants to take care of business when playing the Rookie of the Year favorite.

Chet Holmgren’s impressive rookie season

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) brings the ball up court against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center.

Holmgren’s rookie season would have been in 2022-23 if it was not for a preseason injury that kept him out for the entire year. He also would have been the Rookie of the Year favorite in almost any other season, but he had to battle arguably the top NBA prospect ever in 2023-24.

In a lot of ways, Holmgren has simply been unlucky so far in his NBA career. Yet, he has managed to perform at an extremely high level nonetheless.

The 21-year-old is averaging 16.6 points per game on 52.7 percent field goal and 37.1 percent three-point shooting. He is also recording 7.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per outing.

Holmgren’s belief in the Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) hits the game winning basket with 1.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter while being defended by New York Knicks guard Miles McBride (2) at Madison Square Garden.

John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Again, though, Chet Holmgren’s primary goal is to win a championship.

“If you don’t come into training camp on day one with the mindset of doing everything and taking the steps towards winning a championship, you don’t end up in the Thunder organization,” Holmgren told Charania. “Credit to our front office for putting the right guys in this locker room and in the building with us. But that doesn’t change the fact of how hard it is. At the end of the day, only one team can win. So we’re going to take all the steps to put us in the position to have the best chance of doing that.

“But we also understand that it’s not going to be easy and nobody is going to let us win it. We gotta do what we gotta do to put ourselves in the best situation. And then we got to live with that.”

Winning the NBA Finals will certainly be a challenge. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren leading the way. Oklahoma City will have a chance, though. The Thunder do feature a young roster, but Holmgren does not think that will be an issue in the postseason.

“I feel like there’s never been a team in the NBA, who’s had success that hasn’t had a narrative around what they’re doing. I guess that’s the narrative that we’ve picked up and it’s on us to prove them wrong. At the end of the day, the success that we find within our group and within our organization is going to be the only thing that is compared to that narrative.

“So it’s on us to do what we plan on doing. From there, the pieces are going to fall where they do.”

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