The French Revolution may be coming to the NBA after the Spurs drafted Victor Wembanyama with the top pick.
Wemby is considered a generational talent, and sportsbooks have already made him the odds-on favorite (-250, 71 percent implied probability) to make an immediate impact and win the 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
However, there’s another blue-chip prospect who may be overlooked for this betting market, and that man is Scoot Henderson.
The third-overall pick with the Trail Blazers, Henderson has been touted for years as a “can’t-miss” prospect, and sportsbooks see his potential scoring prowess as they’ve listed him at +450 (18 percent implied probability) to win the award.
NBA Rookie of the Year odds
These odds are heavily skewed towards Wembanyama, and bettors are likely getting a bargain if they grab Scoot now instead of waiting until the regular season.
Scoot Henderson has not been bashful about the type of impact he believes he can make in the NBA.
He has said in post-draft interviews that his No. 1 goal is to earn Rookie of the Year.
It seems clear he doesn’t want to be an understudy to All-Star Damian Lillard, who’s annual offseason “will he or won’t he” trade saga has grown tiresome.
If and when Lillard gets traded, Henderson would be immediately given the green light to put up scoring barrages similar to what he did in the G-League over the last two seasons.
What Scoot brings to the NBA despite his “limitations” (he’s measured at 6-foot-2) is he’s a constant threat in the midrange and has superb ball-handling skills that allows him to get into the paint at will.
Having those two options to go with an assertive approach should allow him to flourish in the NBA, where he’ll likely average at least 20 points per game just on drives and transition buckets alone.
I know what you’re thinking: Didn’t you just tell us that Victor Wembanyama is the generational talent?
Yes, but this is specifically about an award, where the qualifications to be eligible have dramatically shifted.
Now, all players need to play at least 65 games to qualify for league awards like Rookie of the Year or MVP.
Wemby is going to a San Antonio team that, quite frankly, modernized the way we look at load management.
Betting on the NBA?
They were doing it before it was en vogue.
If the Spurs bring Wembanyama along slowly and are thinking about the long term, this means the rookie could miss upwards of 15 games in his opening season, just from sitting out and resting.
Not to mention that the Frenchman is 7-4, and big men that size tend to have injury issues with their legs and feet (see Chet Holmgren, Yao Ming, Joel Embiid).
One minor injury, and that’s likely an additional 5-10 games missed.
The probability of Wembanyama playing 65 games is incredibly low given those factors.
Betting on someone else like Scoot Henderson for NBA Rookie of the Year should be viewed as a safer investment at this stage.
Scoot Henderson (+400, FanDuel)