While it’s only been a few weeks, it’s evident that Victor Wembanyama will live up to his huge pre-draft hype. Wembanyama seems like the biggest lock for rookie of the year since the Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns. However, it’s still early for any player to concede an award, particularly with so many solid first-year contenders showing out already.
That said, NBA fans shouldn’t look for any fabricated tension in the rankings. In fact, the 2023-2024 NBA season is set to showcase other rookie players who will bring lots of excitement in the arena, impacting their teams’ depth and performances throughout the season.
Here’s a look at the NBA’s rookie power rankings to help you make informed decisions when wagering on the best basketball betting sites online in 2023. These rookie players have incredible talents and are helping shape the performance of different teams in the league.
#1. Chet Holmgren – Oklahoma City Thunder
Draft Pick: No 2 (in 2022)
Season stats: 18.3 PPG, 9.0 RPG & 2.3 BPG
Chet Holmgren is among the two NBA rookies who are ranking among the top five in points, rebounds, assists and steals per game. It’s a testament of how good Holmgren has been doing early in the 2023 NBA season, accomplishing all that without being the main man on a Thunder squad that’s 5-3 and looking to disrupt things this year.
Holmgren has only had a single game where he has shot under 50% off the field. Even then, he still managed to make a significant impact elsewhere. Holmgren recorded a 16-point performance with 12 rebounds, tallying three blocks, three assists and a steal. However, the real highlight came with the nail-biting defeat at the hands of the Warriors during the first day of the in-season tournament.
#2. Victor Wembanyama – San Antonio Spurs
Draft pick: No. 1
Season stats: 21.3 PPG, 9.5 RPG & 2.5 BPG
Victor Wembanyama’s brilliance at the start of his NBA career is undeniable following his performance in 2023. Wembanyama started last week with an impressive performance against the Suns, dropping 38 points in San Antonio’s second consecutive win against the Phoenix Suns in three days. However, as much as Wembanyama has started his rookie campaign with a number of highs, there will be some lows in the course of the season.
That was evident for Wembanyama’s debut game at the Madison Square Garden, going against the Knicks. The Spurs kept things close near the end, but things still got ugly in New York. The Knicks registered a 30-point lead during the game and Wembanyama struggled getting any rhythm that night. The star rookie finished with nine rebounds and 14 points, but he went 4 of 14 off the field to finish the game -25.
While Wembanyama’s performance against the Knicks was lackluster, it’s just a learning experience for the promising rookie as he grows his career. Following the loss, coach Greg Popovich said that basketball is a sport where mistakes can happen at any moment, meaning there are lots of things that Victor can learn from this game.
#3. Ausar Thompson – Detroit Pistons
Draft pick: No 5
Season stats: 13.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG & 3.5 APG
According to Draymond Green, the Thompson twins and Wembanyama are making it hard for him to keep making an all-defensive team. The incredible praise comes from a four-time champion who has become the defensive player of the year. As such, Green isn’t off the base with his praise about the Thompson twins, especially since Ausar has come to the NBA.
Ausar has had some of the hardest defensive assignments among rookies, guarding Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Klay Thompson. While it’s not like Ausar is locking up these guys yet, he has shown a high IQ and great instincts in his games. His ability to block shots has also made Thompson an excellent player on the defense.
#4. Marcus Sasser – Detroit Pistons
Draft pick: No. 25
Season stats: 18.5 PPG. 3.5 RPG, 3.3 APG
A four-year college guard, Marcus Sasser made the Milwaukee Bucks sweat last week with his 26-point outing that almost gave the Pistons the win while on the road. Twelve of these points were recorded in the fourth quarter and the Bucks didn’t seem to answer him. Sasser managed to go wherever he wanted, be it from deep or at the deep while coming from the bench.
#5. Dereck Lively II – Dallas Mavericks
Draft pick: No 12
Season stats: 16.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG
At 7-foot-1, Dereck Lively II is arguably the Mavericks’ biggest player. Lively has developed an on-court chemistry with Luka Doncic and Irving, with his skills earning him a position as the Dallas’ rim protector in their enhanced defense.