With the season upon us, one of the most fun things to speculate on is the Rookie of the Year race. While the NBA Championship odds may show that things might not be that competitive this year, the Rookie of the Year race is wide open and there is just so much that we don’t know right now. Who will get playing time? Who will put up good stats on bad team? Who will end up a vital part of a playoff team? There is always a lot to unpack with the rookies and the odds shed some light on that.
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It surprises me a bit to see Ayton as such a high favorite and the favorite at a couple books, especially when Suns blogs are saying not to bet on him. That’s not to say he won’t win, but he’s a 20-year old center coming to one of the worst teams in the league. Not only that, but a league that has not really had room for a center over the past couple of seasons. I think Ayton has enough athleticism and shooting that he’ll work in the long term, but there will be an adjustment period for him and I don’t see him going 20/10 right away.
Ayton and Collin Sexton were the favorites in a vote among the rookies and I expect him to be a big part of the Cavs potential playoff run this season. Good stats and being part of the rotation on a playoff team could really help him with voters. The thing is, point guard is one of the toughest positions to adjust to in the NBA and that is one position I would stay away from when betting this award. I can see Trae Young getting his shots, but I am staying away from him for the same reason.
My top “sleeper”, which he barely qualifies at his price, is Kevin Knox of the New York Knicks. He should get a ton of opportunity to play this year as the Knicks will be missing Kristaps Porzingis and he has the kind of skill set that can play right away in today’s NBA.
Looking for a deep sleeper? How about Wendell Carter Jr. of the Bulls? I don’t put much stock in summer league, but he looked outstanding and did a good job when switched on to smaller players which was a big question about him. He can score and rebound at an elite level and if he breaks steals that starting job from Robin Lopez, he might never give it up.
In my mind, this is Luka Doncic’s Rookie of the Year award to lose. He’s very polished, is playing for a super smart coach who will know how to utilize him and you know he’s going to get big minutes. I think he’s the best rookie in this class and he’ll prove it this year.
Complete odds from our top four NBA sportsbooks are below.
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