Which NBA Franchises are Top-Scoring with Their Rookies in 2023/24?


Every season NBA fans get to see a new group of players in action. And every season knowledgeable pundits and armchair experts share their views about how these rookie players are doing in their debut seasons.

With enough of the NBA season completed, it’s our turn to assess how the rookie business done by two NBA franchises before the season is benefitting them so far. We’ll concentrate on a pair of highly-rated fledgling players who have positively impacted their teams’ rosters and highlighting two other less-recognizable draft picks enjoying stellar first seasons. 

Oklahoma City Thunder

It seems The Thunder got its recruiting on point this season, mainly due to 21-year-old Chet Holmgren’s dynamic performances. The 2.16m center’s blocking and defensive presence have bossed opposition attacks and led him to eighth position in the league’s trusted plus-minus metric. That’s not just impressive for a rookie but among all NBA players!

Besides his defensive work, Holmgren’s vision and passing game have been out of the top drawer, reminding one of a young Kevin Durant in some ways. But the Minnehaha Academy graduate, picked second in the first round of the NBA Draft, isn’t the only rookie in Oklahoma making an impact.

With all the attention on Chet Holmgren’s impressive start to life in the NBA, much of 20-year-old Cason Wallace’s point and shooting guard play in The Thunder’s rotation isn’t as immediately evident. The tenth overall NBA Draft pick has found his feet in Oklahoma after being traded by the Dallas Mavericks. Based on his early NBA performances, The Mavericks might be regretting the trade.

Wallace averages 7.16 points per game, with a 50% 3-point average, which is exceptional. Should he finish the season above the 40% mark, which is more likely, his efforts from the three will remain highly regarded.

With odds of +4100 offered by sites for the Oklahoma City Thunder to win the NBA Championship and +1600 to claim the Western Conference, the franchise remains an outside bet. Ongoing top performances by their two rookies, with Chet Holmgren (-120) favored to win Rookie of the Year, may still see some celebrations among its residents.

San Antonio Spurs

With the NBA’s 2023 Draft’s overall first pick included in the roster, it was always likely that the San Antonio Spurs would get a mention in our rookie analysis. Some of those armchair critics might find fault with Victor Wembanyama’s initial NBA stats, but that’s because the 2.24m Frenchman is the most vaunted and highly-rated rookie the NBA has seen in years.

Remember, Wembanyama is still only 19 years old and forms part of a Spurs roster busy rebuilding, with much of the responsibility for this resting on the young power forward’s shoulders. Most seasoned NBA pros would have grabbed Wembanyama’s stats at this early stage of their careers!

The kid from Metropolitans 92 in the French LNB Pro A league is not the finished product by any means, nor should he be. While his 28% 3-point stat is poor,  he also experiences occasions when weightier players leave him off balance. These obstacles will improve in time, though –  Victor Webanyama is a future NBA star!

How can we make such a bold statement this early in the rookie’s career? Wenbamyama already has 71 blocks, 65 assists, 32 steals, and 263 rebounds in his 24-game NBA career. He’s also scored 455 points. No NBA player in the sport’s history has matched these stats over all five sectors, never mind surpassed them. 

Yes, the pressure is on Wenbamyama to perform is there, but he’s already averaging nearly 19 points per game. With The Spurs relying on their star rookie so much, there’s no expectation of overall NBA honors in San Antonio this season, with the bookmakers’ odds reflecting this. 

The odds offered on the San Antonio Spurs for the Championship are second-longest of all the NBA franchises at +100000. Victor Wembanyama remains highly rated on the betting boards, though. He’s a narrow second-favorite to Chet Holmgren for the Rookie of the Year title at odds of -110. 

Other Rookies to Watch

Besides the great business done by Oklahoma City and San Antonio at the 2023 NBA Draft and the former’s trade acquisition of Cason Wallace, a pair of lower draft picks are enjoying more unexpected standout seasons for their franchises.

While remembering that the Golden State Warriors have a history of not playing rookies that much, 19th overall draft pick Brandin Podziemski’s solid efforts in replacing Andrew Wiggins in the franchise’s starting five are worth recognition. 

The Warriors are 10th-favorites for the NBA Championship, with Stephen Curry and Klay Thomson in their roster. That Podziemski is 10th-placed in the odds for Rookie of the Year is an achievement alone. 

Finally, the Miami Heat’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. out of UCLA is also turning heads. The 18th overall pick at the NBA Draft is only behind the two firm favorites in the odds offered by offshore sportsbooks for Rookie of the Year. Jaquez Jr.’s price of +6000 indicate the great start he’s having with The Heat. 

Lying second among all rookies in minutes played this term, his incredible feel for the game and enormous potential are catching the eye of pundits and oddsmakers alike. Evidently they’re not alone, considering the court time Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is giving his rookie. 

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