This year’s rookie class is one of the most talked about classes in years past, maybe ever. Now, that largely had to do with Victor Wembanyama, but with the likes of Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson being drafted after him, this class was extremely loaded at the top. When you factor in that Chet Holmgren’s rookie year is 2023 as well, there are plenty of rookies that have fantasy basketball value for the 2023-2024 season. In this article, I’m breaking down my top-five fantasy rookies this season and maybe including an honorable mention or two!
Not a lot needs to be said here. He’s the most sought after NBA prospect since LeBron James and the hype thus far may actually be greater than King James. The 7’5” prodigy is just 19, but expectations are through the roof. He’s being drafted in the second-round of fantasy basketball drafts and he’s a -115 favorite for rookie of the year.
We saw a preview of what Wemby’s upside can be despite only being 19 years old last season with the Metropolitans 92. He averaged 21.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 3.0 blocks per game. After being selected number one overall, you’d be hard pressed to find many people passing on Wemby in fantasy drafts if he falls to them in the second round.
Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City
Someone who’s gotten a lot of steam coming his way in terms of rookie of the year votes is Chet Holmgren. Holmgren was not selected in this year’s draft, he was selected in last year’s draft but missed the entire year due to a lisfranc injury to his right foot. He’s an incredibly versatile player that can do everything offensively and despite his slim frame is a force defensively. He shot 39% from three in college while averaging 3.6 blocks. He’s going to be set up by the likes of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, two elite playmakers.
He has the second-best odds to win rookie of the year at +300 and he should be the second rookie off the board in your fantasy drafts. He’s going to adjust incredibly well to the NBA game. If you don’t buy it, just listen to what Paul George had to say about the rookie…
Despite all the odds being in favor of Scoot Henderson going second overall, the Hornets swerved everyone and took Brandon Miller. The Hornets re-signed P.J. Washington and brought Miles Bridges back on a one-year deal, but the investment in Miller where they did in the draft trumps both of those moves. Plus, Bridges starts the year suspended and will have to earn his way back into the team's rotation.
Washington’s ability to play both power forward and center will give Miller the opportunity to play both forward spots and we know how unreliable Gordon Hayward’s been with all of his health issues year in and year out, so he’ll have stretches this year where he’s getting a lot of time as the teams starting small forward. Miller can do it all offensively as he averaged nearly 19 PPG at Alabama last year while shooting nearly 38% from three. He’s going to be best friends with LaMelo Ball in pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop situations and he’s going to have a very solid rookie campaign.
With Damian Lillard shipped off to Milwaukee, all systems go for the Scoot Henderson show in Portland. Yeah, they did add Malcolm Brogdon, but there's no guarantee that Brogdon will be on the team come the start of the campaign. Either way, Henderson's going to be an elite fantasy producer at his ADP for a team in a full-on rebuild.
Henderson played in the G-League last year and averaged 16.5 points, 6.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. He’s a freak athlete and showed last year he can contribute on the defensive end as well averaging 1.7 blocks and steals combined. With the Blazers completely rebuilding, Henderson’s going to have every opportunity to play big minutes with Lillard gone.
I went with a little bit of a sleeper pick here, but I really love Jarace Walker’s landing spot after being selected eighth overall by the Indiana Pacers in this year’s draft. Walker can do it all offensively. He spaces the floor, is a good rebounder and a very good passer. He also has a chance to start from day one. The Pacers did trade for Obi Toppin, but there’s no guarantee Toppin is anything more than a solid bench piece for them.
The flexibility with his offensive game presents them a unique ability to put him near the basket or play him on the perimeter. If you watched him in the Summer League, he showed defensive prowess as well averaging 1.3 blocks and 1.3 steals per game. That’s on par with his college stats as well. We saw how much better everyone was playing alongside Tyrese Haliburton last year and Walker’s going to be great by his side as well.