Clearly San Antonio's #1 pick, the reason so many teams tanked last season, Victor "Wemby" Wembanyama is installed as the bookmaker's favourite to scoop Rookie of the Year, but he has plenty of competition.
Wemby is genuinely a once in a generation prospect. Standing well over 7ft tall, with an 8ft+ wingspan, and yet possessing an array of skills rarely seen in a starting 5, let alone a single player, one of the biggest challenges to Wemby's prospects of scooping the NBA Rookie of the Year title is actually the NBA CBA. The what? Let me explain.
The NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement governs all manner of things related to player / team relationships, keeping the balance of player and team power sweet. This prevents unrest as seen in the past, and helps the NBA run smoothly. But the CBA also manages things like, the criteria for winning individual player rewards, and that bar is set high. To win the MVP, or DPOY, or in the case in points, the Rookie of the Year players have to play 65 (sixty five) games per season.
That's a lot of games, and in fact if this rule has been in place for the NBA's individual awards between 1968 and its introduction (at 65) in 2023/24 a whopping 14 honorees would not have claimed their titles. Right now we have no idea whether Victor Wembanyama is capable of playing 65+ NBA games in a single season, and whilst the same can be said naturally about any rookie, some pundits believe Wemby's height and span assets, could also give him injury problems in the hustle and bustle of the world's best basketball league.
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NBA Rookie of the Year - 2023/24 - Contenders
#1 Victor Wembanyama (SAS) #1 Draft Pick: Best Odds 1.67
#2 Scoot Henderson (POR) #3 Draft Pick: Best Odds: 5.00
#3 Chet Holmgren (OKC) #2 Draft Pick (2022): Best Odds 7.00
#4 Brandon Miller (CHA) #2 Draft Pick: Best Odds 15.00
#5 Amen Thompson (HOU) #4 Draft Pick: Best Odds 23.00
#6 Ausar Thompson (DET) #5 Draft Pick: Best Odds 36.00
#7 Jarace Walker (WAS) #8 Draft Pick: Best Odds 46.00
#8 Taylor Hendricks (UTA) #9 Draft Pick: Best Odds 51.00
#9 Cam Whitmore (HOU) #20 Draft Pick: Best Odds 51.00
#10 Anthony Black (ORL) #6 Draft Pick: Best Odds 61.00
Aside from the obvious Wemby pick, we quite fancy Chet Holmgren to "do a Simmons" and win the Rookie of the Year award after spending his actual rookie season in the medical bay. Ben Simmons was the #1 draft pick in 2016, signing for the Sixers. However after rolling his ankle during preseason and breaking the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot, Simmons ended up missing the whole 2016/17 season.
Upon his return he won Rookie of the Year, with a stunning debut season, the likes of which he has sadly failed to reproduce since.
Chet Holmgren potentially carries a similar story, drafted as the #2 overall pick in 2022 by the Thunder, Holmgren has missed the whole of the 2022/23 season with a Lisfranc injury to his foot.
Holmgren is also, like Wemby, a big guy, standing over 7ft tall, with a huge leap and wing like span, if he stays fit, he can surely have a big impact on the court. We also like the fact that Chet plays for the Thunder, where he is going to be able to dominate headlines easier than Wemby will in San Antonio.
Clearly Wemby is the favourite, and should be, but for us, the smart money is on Chet Holmgren.