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Top NBA Rookies Wembanyama and Holmgren Struggle in Rookie Matchup

Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren tried to avoid creating competition during their much-anticipated first regular-season meeting on Tuesday night. The game wasn’t much of a competition, and there isn’t much of a rivalry between the two slender 7-footers.

Wembanyama said he wasn’t aware he was being compared to Holmgren. “Every prospect is compared to everyone,” the 19-year-old from France said.

Both players had off nights, with Wembanyama finishing with eight points on 4-for-15 shooting, 14 rebounds, and two blocks, and Holmgren finishing with nine points on 3-for-10 shooting, seven rebounds, and three assists. Wembanyama, the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, entered the night averaging 19.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks. Holmgren, the No. 2 pick in the 2022 draft, was averaging 16.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks before Tuesday.

Fans have marveled at the versatility of Wembanyama and Holmgren, with both displaying impressive shooting range and passing skills and finding early success in the league despite their slender frames.

After the game, they said little about each other. When questioned specifically about what it’s like to see someone nearly his size with similar skills, Wembanyama didn’t bite. “Tall guys who handle the ball — there’s almost one on every team now, the way basketball is evolving,” he said. Holmgren focused on the team, saying, “Just a great matchup between the U.S. and France. A lot of great players in that game that were competing. It came down to the wire and we were able to edge out a win in that one.”

But by the end, there wasn’t much drama created between the two players, and none was created after the game, either.