The two rookies who've combined to win the Western Conference Rookie of the Month this season meet for the third time in the NBA when Victor Wembanyama hosts Chet Holmgren on Thursday. But it'll mark the first time they'll see each other since this season's top overall pick overtook the 2022 draft's second selection in the Rookie of the Year race.

When the San Antonio Spurs welcomed the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 24, Holmgren had won the West's only two ROM awards to that point. A week later, Wemby won the award for the first time. He's the favorite to take home the honor for February as well.

Victor Wembanyama vs Chet Holmgren since January 24

Wembanyama outscored the OKC big man 24-17 in a 14o-114 Spurs loss in late January. Since then, the French phenom has averaged 19.8 points per game. Holmgren has tallied 17.1 during that span. In February, Wemby has averaged 10.5 rebounds per contest compared to 8.5 for the Gonzaga product. He also has the edge in assists (4.3 to 2.5) and steals (2.0 to 1.1). All of it despite playing two less minutes per game than his 7-foot-1 counterpart. The 20-year-old rookie's 3.3 blocks per game for the season continue to lead the league.

“I think this is a good sign of progression in the season. I'm glad I haven't stagnated in any way,” Wembanyama says.

“I get a lot of advice every day but I can take a lot of advice so I'm trying to apply as much as I can. There's always ups and downs but the slope is going up. What's for sure is we've been progressing all season.”

Through the stretch, Victor Wembanyama has seen a rise in minutes, playing more than 30 per game over the last week for the first time since mid-December. The increase in playing time hasn't been affected by foul trouble. As the Spurs defensive anchor, he's remained aggressive in being able to stay on the court. A mid-December loss to the Los Angeles Lakers remains Wembanyama's only foul out.

“It didn't happen during the preseason. It didn't happen after the first game so I'm not often in foul trouble.”

Wemby's feats add to the stats

Though the Spurs leading scorer continues to struggle with turnovers, averaging just under four per game this month, other individual numbers have stood out for Wembanyama.

“Taking care of the ball and running back on offense, getting some high energy steals as well. That momentum, we've got to entertain.”

And entertain Wemby has. A 27-point, 10-rebound, 8-assist, 5-steal and 5-block performance in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers last week marked only the 15th “5×5” game in NBA history. It came two nights after he recorded five steals and five blocks (along with 19 points and 13 rebounds) in a close loss to the Sacramento Kings. It was the first time a player recorded consecutive games with five steals and five blocks since Michael Jordan in 1987.

They're just the latest “first time since…” games of what could be a transcendent career.

For now, let's simply call Victor Wembanyama the frontrunner for the NBA's Rookie of the Year.