NBA Rookie of the Year ladder: Warriors' Brandin Podziemski surges into top 5

Golden State Warriors off-guard Brandin Podziemski has been a revelation for a team desperate to get back on track.

Brandin Podziemski, Golden State Warriors
Brandin Podziemski, Golden State Warriors / John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 6

The 2023 rookie class has historic upside. That starts at the top, of course. Victor Wembanyama is one of the league's best defensive anchors at 19 years old. So is Chet Holmgren, the redshirt NBA frosh who is currently spearheading the OKC's No. 3 defense.

Brandon Miller has looked more than serviceable as Charlotte's No. 2 pick. After a rocky start, Scoot Henderson is flashing big-time for the Trail Blazers. We have seen sparse but significant star flashes from several top-10 picks already. Factor in the breadth of quality role players from outside the lottery, and there's much to get excited about.

The Rookie of the Year award will probably come down to the rather obvious two-horse race currently unfolding between Wembanyama and Holmgren. That said, the All-Rookie race is much more difficult to parse. There is a lot of talent competing for 10 award slots.

Here's how the race currently stacks up, with several honorable mentions firmly on the radar.

Updated NBA Rookie of the Year ladder: Dec. 30, 2023

Honorable mentions: Craig Porter Jr., Toumani Camara, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Scoot Henderson, Keyonte George, Marcus Sasser, Jordan Hawkins, Duop Reath

Wing. 10. . Pistons. . Ausar Thompson. Ausar Thompson. 64. 10. player

After an impressive start to the season, Ausar Thompson has seen his role dwindle for the historically bad Pistons. The lack of spacing has been a problem for Detroit. Thompson still can't shoot 3s, which makes him a particularly wonky fit next to Cade Cunningham. Even so, the defensive playmaking, athletic finishes, and high basketball I.Q. manage to shine through on a regular basis. He's going to be very, very good one day.

. Magic. Anthony Black. 38. 9. Guard. 9. player. . Anthony Black

Anthony Black has been Orlando's starting point guard in lieu of the injured Markelle Fultz. His production is limited on the surface (5.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists in 20.8 minutes), but Black has been an excellent defender and connector for a competitive Magic squad. Orlando might benefit from a more traditional creator given their current roster construction, but Black is ready to supply effective role player traits on a contender.

Wing. Bilal Coulibaly. player. 142. . Bilal Coulibaly. 8. . 8. Wizards

Bilal Coulibaly continues to produce admirably for the undermanned Wizards. The 19-year-old is already translating his length and anticipation skills to effective defense, all while hitting 61.0 percent of his 2s and 41.0 percent of his 3s. The Wizards' bold upside swing at No. 7 is paying off sooner than later, it would seem.

Cason Wallace. . Thunder. Guard. 7. 149. 7. player. . Cason Wallace

Cason Wallace doesn't get a ton of shots up, but he has been extremely efficient as a connector and play-finisher for OKC's guard-heavy rotation. The Kentucky product has been one of the most impactful rookies on a per-minute basis, even if the numbers don't pop. He is a legitimate sixth man utility piece for the West's No. 2 seed.

. . Wing. 6. player. 170. 6. Brandon Miller. Hornets. Brandon Miller

Brandon Miller has been both productive and efficient as part of Charlotte's starting lineup. He's everything the Hornets could have expected — an efficient 3-point shooter and versatile 6-foot-9 wing with potential to grow into a secondary creator over time. As the Hornets prepare for a likely future without Miles Bridges and Gordon Hayward, Miller's role should only come into sharper focus in the months to come.