Victor Wembanyama enters Tim Duncan, David Robinson territory with latest honor

From Tim Duncan and David Robinson to LeBron James, Victor Wembanyama earns more rookie rare air.

Victor Wembanyama, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs logos

Another month, another Rookie of the Year award for generational talent Victor Wembanyama. Another day, another link to San Antonio Spurs legendary big men David Robinson and Tim Duncan.

Not surprisingly, Wemby has been named the Western Conference Kia Rookie of the Month for March. It’s the third straight month in which he’s won the award, a feat accomplished by both of San Antonio’s famed “Twin Towers.” The 7-foot-5 phenom is the first Spur to win the honor in three consecutive months since Duncan did it during his 1996-97 rookie campaign. Robinson took home the award in every one of the six months of the 1989-90 campaign on his way to unanimous Rookie of the Year honors. For Wembanyama, this is yet another indicator that he’s primed to win the award this 2023-24.

The 20-year-old blossoming superstar also joined LeBron James in another regard.

Throughout March, Wembananyama scored at least 30 points five times. He started the month with 31 in a win versus the Indiana Pacers on March 3. He scored 33 in another win, an overtime contest in Austin, Texas against the Brooklyn Nets. Five days later, he managed another 31 in a two-point loss to the Memphis Grizzles. He closed March with his first-ever 40 point game in a thrilling triumph against the New York Knicks and 32 in a narrow loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Wembanyama is the first rookie to score 30+ points five times in a calendar month since James did it in December of 2003.

Victor Wembanyama in March

San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) shoots a free throw

Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Wembanyama appeared in 12 games, starting all of them, for the Spurs in March. He averaged 21.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and continued to top the NBA in blocks with a league-leading 3.83 rejections. For the month, he averaged 1.17 steals in 31.7 minutes to lead all rookies in scoring, rebounding and blocks for the month.

In the aforementioned overtime win over the Nets on March 17, he finished with 33 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (three times), Charles Barkley (1986) and Joel Embiid (2017) as the only players with 30 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks in a game. 

During the month, he posted eight double-doubles. When he managed a season-high 40 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists in the Knicks clash on March 29, he became the first rookie with 40+ points and 20+ rebounds since Shaquille O’Neal in 1992-93.

Wemby’s bigger rookie picture with Spurs

For the season, the top pick in this past summer’s draft is averaging 21.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.4 blocks, 3.6 assists and 1.3 steals in 29.2 minutes per game.

After Chet Holmgren, who was selected second overall in the 2022 draft but missed all of last season with injury, won this season’s first two Rookie of the Month awards, Wembanyama has captured the following three trophies. With the NBA’s regular season set to end in mid April, Wemby has eight scheduled games remaining in this last month of the season.

As an aside, the Spurs have entered a partnership with Kia (15 other teams also have deals with Kia America), who sponsors the NBA’s rookie awards. As one of the largest league partners, Kia has served as the official automotive partner of the NBA for 16 seasons.

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