OKC Thunder’s Chet Holmgren New Favorite for NBA Rookie of the Year

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Center Chet Holmgren from the Oklahoma City Thunder has emerged as the new betting favorite (-155 odds) over Victor Wembanyama (+120) to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award.

Oklahoma City Thunder center Chet Holmgren, seen here throwing down a dunk against the Los Angeles Clippers, is currently the betting favorite to win Rookie of the Year. (Image: Getty)

Holmgren, the #2 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft from Gonzaga, sustained a foot injury during a pro-am game in Seattle before the preseason began. He didn’t appear in any regular games during the 2022-23 season, so he retained his rookie status heading into this season.

Holmgren began the season as the second favorite on DraftKings’ NBA awards board at -155 odds to win the Rookie of the Year.

Wembanyama, a teenage sensation from France, was DraftKings’ preseason favorite to win the NBA Rookie of the Year at -225. The San Antonio Spurs selected the 7-foot-4 wunderkind with the #1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Chet Holmgren (Thunder) -155

Holmgren is a key starter on the young Thunder (18-9), who are in third place in the Western Conference. The rookie center is the Thunder’s third-best scorer behind all-star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (30.8 ppg), and second-year forward Jalen Williams (17.4 ppg).

Holmgren averages 17.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, and 2.4 assists per game. He’s shooting 52.6% from the floor, including 36.9% from 3-point range. He’s been consistent, posting 10 double-doubles in 27 games this season.

Holmgren has had two big scoring games this season, including a 33-point effort against the Philadelphia 76ers. It was an impressive performance from Holmgren, who more than held his own against reigning MVP Joel Embiid.

Holmgren dropped a career-high 36 points in an overtime victory against the Golden State Warriors in November. That clutch performance grabbed the attention of NBA bettors.

Victor Wembanyama (Spurs) +120

Wembanyama averages more points (18.5), rebounds (10.7), and blocks (3.0) than Holmgren, but he’s the best player on a very bad team. The Spurs (4-24) are one of the worst teams in the Western Conference this season, which has been a detriment to his Rookie of the Year odds.

If the Detroit Pistons weren’t bogged down in one of the worst losing streaks in NBA history, the Spurs would be the worst team in the NBA this season. The Spurs dropped 17 games in a row, and are currently in the middle of a four-game losing streak.

Wembanyama looked good through the first 25 games this season. He demonstrated flashes of utter domination, including a 38-point performance against the Phoenix Suns in November.

Wembanyama tallied 30 points, 13 rebounds, and six blocks in a loss against the Los Angeles Lakers in mid-December.

There’s more than two-thirds of the season remaining, so Wembanyama has plenty of time to impress voters.

Jaime Jaquez (Heat) +3000

If you’re looking for a value bet, then keep tabs on rookie Jaime Jaquez from the Miami Heat. Jaquez is third on the NBA awards board at +3000 odds to win Rookie of the Year.

The Heat selected Jaquez with the #18 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. The UCLA swingman led the Bruins to a Final Four berth in the 2022 March Madness college basketball tournament. But he impressed the Heat’s front office with his defense and ability to create his own shot.

The Heat (18-12) are the defending Eastern Conference champion and are currently in fifth place in the East.

Jaquez averages 13.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game as a rotation player with the Heat. He’s shooting 51.6% from the floor and 38% from 3-point land.

Jaquez saved his best game for Christmas in a victory over the 76ers. He led the Heat with a game-high 31 points and handled the bulk of the offense with all-star Jimmy Butler sidelined with a calf injury.

Great to get a win, and career night on Christmas,” said Jaquez. “I grew up watching these games and to be able to play and have a career night, I just go back to all the hard work, late nights in the gym, preparing for moments like this.”

Jaquez earned the trust of head coach Erik Spoelstra early on, and began the season as a vital member of the second unit. He also started seven games when Tyler Herro missed time with an ankle injury.


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