For many, it’s a foregone conclusion that San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama will win Rookie of the Year for the 2023-24 season. The Frenchman is the most hyped prospect to enter the NBA in years, after all.
Imagine a world where Wembanyama doesn’t take the top prize for basketball newbies, though.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility. Anyone who watch Wembanyama’s first Summer League game saw that there could be a potential adjustment period to the NBA for the big man. Then again, his second Summer League game suggested the opposite.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement also pushes the threshold for minimum games played to be award-eligible to 65. Wembanyama was shut down after two Summer League games, though he isn’t hurt and showed everything he needed to in Las Vegas. Nobody wishes ill health upon Wembanyama, but he’ll be playing more and more frequently than he was abroad, which could raise those concerns.
If not Wemby, however, then who can claim Rookie of the Year?
Who are the top five candidates to challenge San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama for Rookie of the Year in 2023-24?
The obvious candidates are the ones who directly followed Wembanyama on draft night. Charlotte Hornets forward Brandon Miller and Portland Trail Blazers guard Scoot Henderson will definitely make a run at the award.
Contenders run deep, though. Some are hidden gems that were drafted later in the night, or not at all. Others are showing their ability to ball out with big performances in the Summer League.
In no particular order, here are five players who could give Wembanyama a run for his money in the Rookie of the Year race.