With Victor Wembanyama entering the league and Chet Holmgren playing his first season, the 2023-24 Rookie of the Year Award always looked likely to be fought out between the league’s two lanky young stars. And that’s exactly the way it has played out. Nearing the All-Star break they are streets head of their nearest competitors to win the award, with favouritism having see-sawed a little before settling recently on Wembanyama. Those two aside there are only two other names still in the betting markets, and on this page we will take a look at each of the remaining chances – or at least, those still with odds – to win this award.
NBA 2023-24 Rookie of the Year (ROY) Winner Betting Preview – Odds, Tips & Predictions
Favourites to Win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award
Below, we take a look at the four best chances to win this award, and how they’re shaping up more than halfway through the season.
Victor Wembanyama (San Antonio Spurs)
A month ago, Wembanyama had lost his grasp on favouritism in this market, but the most highly touted draftee to enter the NBA since LeBron James has well and truly put his stamp on the race over the past month. Incredibly, he has done so while operating on a minutes restriction, with the Spurs taking no chances with their precious commodity since his return from an ankle injury. He returned from that injury just before the end of 2023, and in his 14 games throughout January averaged a relatively low 26.7 minutes. But while his minutes were reduced his output went in the other direction, with those 26.7 minutes yielding 24 points per game on more than 50% shooting, as well as 9.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.3 blocks. He has plenty of room for improvement at the defensive end of the floor, but his incredible size already makes him an absolute menace for opposing offences, while his rebounding has improved as well. At the other end of the floor he is shooting a little better, while also being better utilised by teammates, who appear to be gradually realising that a simple lob with Wemby anywhere near the bucket is generally going to end pretty well. In terms of production, he is now outperforming Holmgren by some margin, and the concerns surrounding his relative lack of efficiency compared to his Thunder counterpart are gradually being quashed. The main thing going against him will likely continue to be the performance of his team – while Holmgren is providing a valuable contribution to a legitimate championship contender, the Spurs are wallowing away at the bottom of the West. But this is not the MVP – this is the Rookie of the Year Award, and while team performance is somewhat relevant it is not a determining factor in the way it is for the MVP. Wemby has skyrocketed into favouritism for a reason, and if he keeps playing the way he has over the past month or so will be incredidbly difficult to beat.
Chet Holmgren (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Chet Holmgren has displayed a remarkable level of consistency throughout the course of his first playing season in the NBA, playing a key role on a Thunder team fighting for the one seed in the competitive Western Conference. His fall from favouritism in this award to a more than $3 underdog with major NBA betting sites is certainly not through any drop off of his own, but rather a product of the drastically improved play of his RoTY rival in Wembanyama. Holmgren has continued to provide plenty of value for the Thunder at both ends of the floor – over the course of the season to date he is averaging 16.8 points per game, but most impressive is the 53.6% that he is shooting from the floor and the 39.4% he is shooting from long range. He’s also grabbing 7.5 boards and dishing out 2.7 assists per game, while his 2.6 blocks a night is good for fourth in the league. His efficiency continues to be superior to that of Wembanyama, but his Spurs counterpart is certainly closing that gap and with it shutting down Holmgren’s chances of winning this award. At the time of writing he is averaging a good 3.5 points per game less than Wembanyama as well as 2.5 rebounds, and slightly lower assist and block numbers, so on stats alone he’s clearly in second place in this race. But of course, their situations are very different. Holmgren has a far less prominent role on a very talented Thunder team, and much of the value he has provided in his rookie season has come from his willingness to accept that role and put up solid albeit unspectacular numbers very efficiently. For advanced stat lovers, he may well still hold some appeal as a Rookie of the Year winner, a title of which he would be very deserving. But there is no doubt that the form Wembanyama has displayed of late will be difficult to overcome if it continues. There is good reason that Holmgren’s odds have drifted with Aussie betting agencies, but while he does appear destined for second place, this race has already gone through plenty of twists and turns so far this season, and there’s no reason to assume that the script won’t be flipped yet again.
Brandon Miller (Charlotte Hornets)
Brandon Miller is the one name remaining in the Rookie of the Year betting markets who has not been involved throughout the course of the year, and while realistically it would still take a miracle for him to win it, he has deservedly jumped up the list of candidates over the past month or so. For his first 30 games or so Miller was a solid piece on the struggling Hornets, but as far as offensive options went he was a little way down the list even on that team, and even with Lamelo Ball out for an extended period. When Ball returned that looked likely to continue, but while the number of looks he was getting per game didn’t really change, the efficiency with which he was hitting them certainly did. Now, with Ball once again out for an extended period, he has taken on a great role on offence and is flourishing in it. For the season to date Miller averages a solid 16.5 points on 44.4% shooting from the field and an impressive 38.4% from deep, but harking back to his return from a two-game absence in January, he’s been putting up far better numbers. In the 14 games since then up until the time of writing, Miller is putting up 22.4 points per game on better shooting than his season average at 49.2%, and 39.6% from the field. He isn’t doing a whole lot else with just 4.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in that time, but he’s demonstrated some exciting defensive ability to go with his undoubted offensive talent and appears to be very rapidly getting the hang of this whole NBA thing. At $126 he is not a particularly realistic prospect of winning the Rookie of the Year Award, though had he played like he has for the past few weeks throughout the entire season he may well be. For him to get near Wemby and Chet, Miller will need to keep doing what he has been doing for the past 14 games and then some, and while he seems more than capable of maintaining this form he won’t likely do enough to challenge that top duo.
Jaime Jaquez Jr (Miami Heat)
Jaime Jaquez Jr has drifted a little further still since the last time this page was updated, and at nearly $400 he’ll probably have his odds taken down relatively soon barring a major uptick in production. Regardless, it has been a terrific first season for the 18th pick from last year’s draft, who has slotted in seamlessly to the democratic Heat system. He has shown an ability to score or pass depending on what has been required of him, and has ably filled in for his more experienced teammates when required. An injury in January, however, curtailed his run of form, and since he has returned he has not had quite the same impact as what he was having previously. His numbers for the season don’t quite jump off the page – at the time of writing he is averaging 12.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 29.4 minutes, but for a period he was playing a much bigger role for the Heat and rewarding them for it. From late November up until his injury in mid January he scored in the double figures in 23 of 25 games and regularly dished out four or more assists, with his best performance coming against the Sixers when he scored 31 points on 11-15 shooting to go with ten rebounds. It is worth noting that Jaquez Jr is 22 years old so a more immediate impact was probably expected, but nonetheless he looks like a player capable of comfortably outperforming the 18th pick with which he was drafted for many years to come. Realistically he won’t be winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 2024, but nonetheless he looks like being yet another savvy pick up by the Miami Heat.
The 2023-24 Rookie of the Year race was widely expect to be battled out between Wembanyama and Holmgren, and that is exactly how it has played out, with the two exploding into favouritism early in the season and not looking back since. But the race has seen plenty of twists and turns; initially it was Wembanyama doing the frontrunning, but Holmgren’s impressive efficiency saw him take the lead in the betting around the turn of the year. Wemby, however, has demonstrated a major uptick in production over the past month or two, scoring nearly a point a minute for an extended period of time and continuing to develop the other areas of his game, too. If you jumped on him when this turnaround began you would be a very happy punter at this point in time, but unfortunately betting sites haven’t wasted any time in bringing his odds in as his form has improved. Still, while he no longer offers great value, Wembanyama absolutely looks like the clear man to beat in this race.
NBA ROY Betting Trends:
- The top pick has secured the Rookie of the Year award four times in the last 10 seasons.
- Forwards and centers (PF/C) have seen limited success in recent NBA ROY history, with only four victories in the past 20 seasons.
- In this century, only one Rookie of the Year winner (Malcolm Brogdon, 36th pick in 2016) was drafted outside the lottery.
- In 16 out of the last 20 seasons, the Rookie of the Year has been selected among the Top 5 picks.
Last 10 NBA ROY Winners:
|NBA ROY Winner
James is a sports writer from Melbourne, and has contributed to a variety of publications covering a range of sports including basketball, cricket, Australian Rules, golf and surfing to name a few. An avid fan of all of the above and more, James’ downtime is spent falling ungracefully off his surfboard, turning over footies and playing an out of tune guitar.
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