Can Chet Holmgren lead the league in blocks as a rookie?

OKC Thunder could see Chet Holmgren lead the league in blocks as a rookie.

Memphis Grizzlies v Oklahoma City Thunder
Memphis Grizzlies v Oklahoma City Thunder / Joshua Gateley/GettyImages
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So far this year, Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren has been having a block party this season. He is one of three players with 70 or more blocks, trailing only Brook Lopez, who leads the league in total blocks (83) and blocks per game (3.1).

Holmgren and Victor Wembanyama have each blocked 71 shots; because the Spurs star has appeared in one fewer game, he is placing second in blocks per game (3.0), with Holmgren coming in third (2.8).

If Holmgren, or Wembanyama for that matter, were to go on to lead the league in blocks, they would become the first rookie to do so.

Holmgren has had the most games this season with seven or more blocks with three; he currently leads the association in block percentage at nine percent.

Should Holmgren go on to lead the league in blocks, he would join Serge Ibaka as the only Thunder player to lead the league in blocks, Ibaka led the NBA in blocks four times while he was with the team, in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. In addition to becoming the first rookie to lead the league in blocks, Holmgren would be the first player drafted out of The University of Gonzaga to hold the shot-blocking title.

Holmgren is all hands on deck

Holmgren is allowing 60.0 percent accuracy in the restricted area, whereas Wembanyama is allowing 67.5, and Lopez is allowing 63.1.

Moreover, when Holmgren is on the floor opponents are shooting 43.1 percent from the field, versus 45.5 percent when he is off the floor.

When Lopez is on the floor, opponents connect on 46.1 percent of their shots against 48.3 percent when he is on the bench. For Wembanyama, when he is on the floor, teams shoot 48.2 percent; when he is off, teams shoot 50.3 percent.

That last set of numbers is a bit unfair to Wembanyama because Holmgren and Lopez play of much better teams, however the numbers are fun to analyze nonetheless.

At the end of the day, it is very exciting that not one but two rookies have an opportunity to lead the league in Blocks because that has never happened in 75 years, and maybe it won't end up happening, but the race between Holmgren, Wembanyama, and Lopez will be an intriguing one to monitor, in the ultimate battle of youth versus the vet.

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