NBA Rookie of the Year Odds: Can anyone unseat Victor Wembanyama?

The NBA's Rookie of the Year race is shaping up to be one of the least heavily contested fields of all of the season awards. At the time of writing, the San Antonio Spurs first-overall pick out of France, Victor Wembanyama, has a massive lead in terms of odds to take home the Rookie of the Year Eddie Gottlieb trophy. Both MGM and DraftKings have Wemby at +400 to finish as the RotY, one of the heaviest favorites this early into the season in recent memory. 


Wembanyama already had a huge edge before he even played his first NBA game, but, since then, he's only made quick work of increasing the gap between him and his rookie peers. Through nine games, he's averaged 19.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, two assists, 2.6 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game, while shooting 46 percent from the field and 31 percent from beyond the arc. All the while, he's already shown the flashes of truly unique dominance and physical freakishness that he was advertised to be. 


If his marks stand, he's already on pace to finish as one of the most productive offensive rookies in NBA history. The scariest part for the league is that his current shooting marks are well below both his capabilities and expectations. There's an extremely strong chance that his scoring numbers will only continue to climb, as he grows more familiar with NBA defenses and improves his efficiency as a result. 


For the other rookies currently in the league, they'd better start ramping up now if they want any shot at taking the Rookie of the Year over the French phenom. Some of the top contenders from preseason to challenge Wemby's status as the top freshman have virtually fallen out of the race already.


Other top rookies struggling while Victor Wembanyama thrives


Third-overall pick Scoot Henderson has had an atrocious start to his first campaign, averaging just 8.8 points against four turnovers per outing, shooting an abysmal 35 percent from the field and a truly befuddling 10 percent from deep. He started to show signs of improvement in his last couple of games, but has since gone down with an ankle injury that's likely to keep him out for at least two weeks. As such, he currently has odds as high as +7500 to win Rookie of the Year over Wemby. 


Amen Thompson, the Houston Rockets pick at four, has struggled to earn consistent playing time for a team that's been surprisingly competitive. With Houston sitting at 5-3 through eight games and looking every bit like a squad that wants to make the postseason, it might be difficult for Amen to find his niche on the team with his offensive limitations, particularly for a roster that has several athletes that struggle to shoot from deep like Thompson. 


Taylor Hendricks, ninth-overall selection to the Utah Jazz, has only appeared in one game so far and totaled two whole minutes. There are a few other players taken in the top ten also struggling to garner significant playing time, leading them to fall out of the conversation in the early year, such as Jarace Walker. 


Who is Victor Wembanyama’s top challenger?


Currently, Wemby's top challenger for the Rookie of the Year crown is Chet Holmgren, a red-shirt freshman who was the second-overall pick in 2022. After sitting his first year in the NBA due to injury, Holmgren has quickly established himself as one of the brightest young players in the league for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sportsbooks have the former Gonzaga Bulldog between +250 and +450 to upset Wembanyama. 


For all intents and purposes, though, unless Wemby misses significant time or Holmgren starts playing even better for a Thunder team that wins a lot of games by season's end, that the Rookie of the Year award has already gone to Victor Wembanyama.