NBA Rookie Ladder: Victor Wembanyama takes early lead in race between unicorns

NBA Detroit Pistons Ausar Thompson (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Detroit Pistons Ausar Thompson (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) /
1 of 5

In our first NBA Rookie Ladder, Victor Wembanyama takes an early lead in a battle between two unicorns. 

The 2023 NBA Draft was considered one of the better classes in recent history. Led by the big names of Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson, and Brandon Miller, this class had both top-tier talent and depth to be considered a hype-filled draft. And through the first couple of weeks of the regular season, we’ve seen flashes of their potential.

As expected, the race for NBA Rookie of the Year is going to be a close one. As we begin our NBA Rookie Ladder, we explore five of the rookies that have impressed the most so far this season.

NBA Rookie Ladder 1.0

Honorable mention: Dereck Lively II, C, Dallas Mavericks

Starting five of six games so far this season, Dereck Lively II has been a pleasant surprise for the Dallas Mavericks so far this season. When he was drafted, the belief was that he would need time to hit his stride as a pro. Even if that remains to be the case, Lively has had a productive and impactful start to his rookie campaign.

Through six games, Lively is averaging nine points and eight rebounds on 77 percent shooting from the field. He’s meshed well with Luka Doncic and gives the Mavs a promising big man that they can continue to develop alongside their talented offensive core in the backcourt.

It’ll be interesting to see how Lively continues to develop but there remains high hope that he will continue to play a large role for the team.