Victor Wembanyama is commonly known as the most-hyped NBA prospect since LeBron James. The entire basketball world was watching his latest season with Metropolitan 92 to see how he dominated French professional basketball. His skillset enticed scouts, coaches, and proven NBA players alike, making his NBA debut one of the most-awaited events in basketball this year.
Expectations are high and many seem to think that Wembanyama has the chance to make history as early as in his rookie season. Whether or not that happens is still a mystery. So, while we await his NBA debut, let’s look at some of the best rookie seasons in league history.
20. Elvin Hayes
Elvin Hayes did not win a Rookie of the Year award, as Wes Unseld took it home, but his first NBA season was still incredibly impressive. Averaging 28.4 points and 17.1 rebounds, he did not only lead all rookies in scoring but actually the entire league during the 1968-69 season. He was the last rookie to do so, and the feat earned him his first of 12 All-Star selections as well as a spot on the All-Rookie First Team.
Hayes’ career then continued on the same trajectory. He won the 1978 championship with the Washington Bullets, made three All-NBA First Teams, three All-NBA Second Teams, two All-Defensive Second Teams, and led the league in rebounding twice. His numbers were retired by the Washington Wizards and the Houston Rockets, and he was voted onto both the 50th and the 75th NBA anniversary team.