Coming into the 2023-24 NBA season, San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama was the overall favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award. But Oklahoma City Thunder big man Chet Holmgren wasn’t far behind, and it was considered a two-man race through the first month and a half of the season.
NBA Odds: Holmgren A Solid Favorite For Rookie Of The Year
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 4, 2024
But Holmgren’s team has been one of the best in the Western Conference this season, and he has not only taken the lead in the odds for the ROY award, but is extending his lead seemingly by the day.
Drafted a year before Wembanyama, Holmgren is not the traditional rookie in the sense of the word. But he didn’t play a single minute during the 2022-23 season due to injury, meaning that he and the Spurs’ rookie stepped onto an NBA floor at about the same time.
And while some predicted that the two would have to deal with nagging injuries throughout their careers, you wouldn’t be able to tell that Holmgren missed an entire season based on his performance so far.
Wembanyama is listed as the “underdog”, coming in with a current designation of +160 (via BetOnline). He actually has better traditional stats than Holmgren does, whose status as the favorite comes in at -260. Wemby averages a point and a half better per game in the scoring column, and out rebounds Chet by almost 3 per. He has more blocks, steals, and even more assists as well.
Holmgren Boosted By OKC’s Success
The Kia NBA Rookies of the Month for December! #KiaROTM
— NBA (@NBA) January 4, 2024
But Holmgren isn’t behind by much in most of the categories, and perhaps most importantly, his team isn’t a bottom feeder.
Wembanyama was “led” the Spurs to a 5-28 record, the second worst of any team in the NBA. On the other side, Holmgren is a major part of why the Thunder are one of the best teams in the league so far this season, and why they are just one game back of the #1 spot in the Western Conference.
Every other player is a massive long shot, as it has been a down year for rookie performances. Jaime Jaquez Jr. of the Miami Heat is the only other first-year player that has been making enough noise to garner any kind of consideration for the award, but is listed all the way back at +4000 despite being the third player on the board.
Brandon Miller, the second pick in last year’s draft, is listed at +10000. The third overall pick, Scoot Henderson, is listed at +20000.