Looking Ahead: Next Steps for NBA’s Top Three Rookies

One area in which each of the NBA’s top three rookies needs to improve moving forward.
May 18, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA;  Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) dunks past Dallas Mavericks forward Derrick Jones Jr. (55) and Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) during the second half in game six of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
May 18, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) dunks past Dallas Mavericks forward Derrick Jones Jr. (55) and Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) during the second half in game six of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2023-24 NBA season comes to a close this month, members of this rookie class will call an end to their first season. As they embark on the rest of their NBA journeys, they’ll need to continue to develop and define their careers. For the top three rookies from this past season, these developments are even more crucial.

Here’s one thing each of the top three rookies will need to work on as they take their next steps.

Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs: Shot Selection

Apr 12, 2024; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Victor Wembanyama (1) and teammates react after a victory over the Denver Nuggets at Frost Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2024; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Victor Wembanyama (1) and teammates react after a victory over the Denver Nuggets at Frost Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports / Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

After a historically unprecedented Rookie Of The Year campaign, there isn’t much to nitpick about Wembanyama’s game. He’s already well on his way to NBA dominance. However, he can work to increase the quality of his shot diet. He had a season True Shooting Percentage of just 56.5%, which isn’t bad by any means. However, as a 7-foot-4 unstoppable physical force, he has a lot of room to plausibly improve his efficiency through taking higher percentage looks. Moving forward he can look to take more shots closer to the basket as well as more assisted attempts as he continues to ascend amongst the NBA’s best.

Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder: Strength

May 18, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) shoots as Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) defends during the first quarter in game six of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
May 18, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) shoots as Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) defends during the first quarter in game six of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

For the Rookie Of The Year runner-up, the biggest weakness of his game is clear. It’s almost become cliche to suggest that Holmgren needs to add strength, but that doesn’t make it any less true. He excels at protecting the rim, but can be susceptible to getting overpowered down low and on the boards due to a lack of strength. More muscle would also allow Holmgren to add a new dimension to his game in terms of overpowering smaller matchups.

Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets: Defense

Apr 7, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Brandon Miller (24) reacts to a call during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kinser-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Brandon Miller (24) reacts to a call during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kinser-USA TODAY Sports / Scott Kinser-USA TODAY Sports

As Miller looks to help lead the Hornets out of their playoff drought, he needs to set the tone. He did a great job as a rookie to step up as a vocal leader and set the tone in terms of intensity. To further these efforts, he should look to leverage his physical tools into more consistent defensive impact. Over the course of the year, he had many stretches of impactful defense, but this success always seemed to wane eventually.


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Arya Chawla

ARYA CHAWLA

Arya is an NBA & NBA Draft analyst from Boston, Massachusetts. He has produced content on specific players and teams as well as general basketball philosophy.