Looking back, the 2023 NBA Rookie of the Year race had several first-year hoopers showing they belong at the pro level. While we didn’t see Chet Holmgren make an impact after the skilled big suffered a Lisfranc injury in Summer League, plenty of others, such as No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero, gave basketball fans a new star to talk about.
Now as we monitor the 2023-24 season, we have a brand new list of candidates leading the way. Victor Wembanyama is a frontrunner. That’s no spoiler, but who else is sneaking up on the competition this year?
Banchero may have taken the 2023 NBA Rookie of the Year award last season, but who’s our in-house leader to win the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy in 2024? Here’s our list so far.
Related: NBA schedule
2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year odds
Before we get into the list of candidates, let’s look at who sportsbooks view as the best odds to win NBA Rookie of the Year.
Here are the players with the best odds to win NBA ROTY in 2024:
|Player||NBA ROY odds|
|Jaime Jaquez Jr.||+5000|
|Dereck Lively II||+12000|
Below is our list of NBA Rookie of the Year candidates for the 2023-24 season, in reverse order.
Honorable mentions to win NBA Rookie of the Year:
- Marcus Sasser, Detroit Pistons
- Cason Wallace, Oklahoma City Thunder
- Amen Thompson, Houston Rockets
10. Bilal Coulibaly, Washington Wizards (Last week: 9)
Bilal Coulibaly stats
- 8.5 PPG, 1.7 APG, 3.6 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 52% FG, 41% 3PT
While the 19-year-old is an extremely raw prospect, Coulibaly will continue getting plenty of opportunities to see floor time on the Wizards. If he can impress with his 6-foot-6 frame defensively while rebounding his position well and hitting open shots, there’s a path to competing for the NBA Rookie of the Year award, but he won’t be anywhere near a frontrunner.
9. Scoot Henderson, Portland Trail Blazers (LW: 10)
Scoot Henderson stats
- 9.2 PPG, 4.2 APG, 2.6 RPG, 0.5 SPG, 35% FG, 20% 3PT
Somehow falling to the third pick, Henderson likely would have been in the running to be a top pick in many other draft classes. But the former G-League star isn’t off to a particularly hot start, making just 9-of-44 3-point attempts thus far. Still just 19, he has plenty of time to figure the NBA out.
8. Jordan Hawkins, New Orleans Pelicans (LW: 7)
Jordan Hawkins stats
- 12.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 39% FG, 37% 3PT
The 14th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft has already been thrust into a significant role for a New Orleans Pelicans team that hopes to compete for a playoff spot in the West. Hawkins is taking a lot of shots for a role player, but he’s not making enough, and he doesn’t offer much else aside from his scoring, so climbing the ladder in our NBA rookie rankings won’t be easy, but 13 points per game is no easy task for a first-year player.
7. Keyonte George, Utah Jazz (LW: 8)
Keyonte George stats
- 10.3 PPG, 5.2 APG, 3.3 RPG, 33% FG, 29% 3PT
Even though he’s not the point guard teams had their eye on at the top of the 2023 NBA Draft, George is making a name for himself early on in Utah. He leads all rookies in assists per game, and while his shooting splits could improve, averaging nearly ten points per game is a nice plus this early in the 20-year-old’s career.
6. Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets (LW: 4)
Brandon Miller stats
- 14.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.1 APG, 44% FG, 39% 3PT
By deciding to go with Miller over Scoot Henderson, the Hornets added a high-upside talent who could become the team’s top scorer in time. With LaMelo Ball setting the 21-year-old up nicely in transition, Miller is off to a strong start, ranking third among rookie scorers, which included a 29-point outburst against the Knicks. Now with Ball set to miss time with his ankle injury, we expected to see Miller thrust into the role of a leading scorer, but that hasn’t happened. Yet he’s also shot just 35 percent from the floor in his past three games.
5. Dereck Lively II, Dallas Mavericks (LW: 6)
Dereck Lively II stats
- 8.7 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 0.6 SPG, 72% FG
We’re seeing why the Mavericks were eager to plug the 12th overall pick in their starting lineup. Lively is staying in his lane, playing within his skillset, and it’s led to a phenomenal 72 percent field-goal rate early on. He’s also become a nuisance on defense, blocking multiple shots in each of his past four games, including a beastly seven-block night against the Thunder. So far, Lively is an early Rookie of the Year candidate, but surpassing the Wembanyamas and Holmgrens of the world won’t happen.
4. Jaime Jaquez Jr., Miami Heat (LW: 5)
Jaime Jaquez stats
- 12.1 PPG, 2.5 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1 SPG, 52% FG, 38% 3PT
The 18th overall pick out of UCLA, Jaquez has quickly developed into one of the best shooters on the Miami Heat. Jaquez doesn’t hesitate to fire up shots from distance, which is exactly what the Heat need to complement the likes of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. The one they call ‘Juan Wick’ has scored in double figures in each of his past seven games and is rapidly rising up NBA Rookie of the Year rankings.
3. Ausar Thompson, Detroit Pistons (LW: 3)
Ausar Thompson stats
- 10.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 45% FG, 14% 3PT
Being drafted one slot behind his brother, Ausar lands in a strong spot with the Pistons, who have an immediate need for a starting small forward. He’s been on the receiving end of several alley-oops, showing his impressive athleticism, but Thompson has also been a strong defensive presence, ranking second among all rookies in rebounds per game despite being just 6-foot-7. Thompson also ranks seventh in the NBA in offensive rebounds. He may not be the NBA’s ROTY frontrunner, but the Pistons have found yet another key part of their young, talented core. Eventually, they will learn how to win.
2. Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs (LW: 2)
Victor Wembanyama stats
- 18.9 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 2.6 BPG, 1.3 SPG, 43% FG, 26% 3PT
The prospect that some have said has the highest ceiling since LeBron James is no longer our leading candidate to win Rookie of the Year, with his shooting percentages nowhere near Holmgren’s. Wembanyama stands 7-foot-4, has an eight-foot wingspan, and can do everything a guard can do on the basketball court. Yet, ‘The Extraterrestrial’s naturally breathtaking size also allows him to terrorize opponents in the paint as a menacing rim protector. Defensively, Wembanyama is a problem for any opponent he faces. Yet offensively, could still improve his efficiency, as he’s averaging nearly 19 PPG, but he’s been having to take 16.2 shots per game just to get there. That’s not ideal.
1. Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder (LW: 1)
Chet Holmgren stats
- 16.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.4 BPG, 51% FG, 37% 3PT
Chet Holmgren missed his entire rookie season due to a Lisfranc injury, and now he gets another chance at the award. Holmgren’s presence adds more intrigue to what could be a strong rookie class. How quickly can the 21-year-old former Gonzaga star show that his all-around skillset translates to the pros? So far, Holmgren’s been a sniper from deep while ranking among the league leaders in blocks. If it weren’t for Wembanyama’s special season, Holmgren would be a runaway candidate to win Rookie of the Year. But so far, he’s winning the race despite shooting just 40 percent over his past four games.
Who won the 2023 NBA Rookie of the Year?
After averaging 20 PPG and leading all first-year players, Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic won the 2023 NBA Rookie of the Year award. He was the first No. 1 pick to win ROTY since 2018. Can Victor Wembanyama make it a trend?
Has anyone won MVP and Rookie of the Year NBA?
Both Wilt Chamberlain and Wes Unseld have won MVP and Rookie of the Year in the NBA in the same season. A total of 16 players have won both throughout their careers. But doing so in the same year hasn’t been done since Unseld in 1969.