What a disaster this class turned out to be. While the 2016 first round draft could eventually turn out some good players, they didn’t really contribute much this year and they won’t be in the Rookie of the Year race. Instead that race will be dominated by two players, Dario Saric (drafted in 2014) and Malcolm Brogdon (second round pick).
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For fun, let’s take a quick look at the Rookie of the Year betting odds that we posted way back on October 17th.
- Kris Dunn +350
- Buddy Hield +375
- Ben Simmons +400
- Brandon Ingram +550
- Joel Embiid +600
- Denzel Valentine +1600
- Jamal Murray +2000
- Thon Maker +2000
- Wade Baldwin +2500
- Marquese Chriss +2500
- Jaylen Brown +3000
- Caris Levert +3500
- Domantas Sabonis +3500
- Dragan Bender +3500
- Malachi Richardson +4000
- Jakob Poeltl +4000
- Taurean Prince +4000
Absent from this list: Malcolm Brogdon and Dario Saric aka the two players most likely to win.
Kris Dunn was the favorite coming into this one and his first year has been a disappointment. He had his chances to seize the job from Ricky Rubio, but that didn’t really work out and the Wolves are a much better team with Rubio running the point.
Second overall pick Brandon Ingram has been one of the worst players in the league this year. There is potential there and he has shown signs of late of being a future player in this league, but it’s going to be awhile. He doesn’t have an NBA body yet and that is kind of important.
A lot of people loved Buddy Hield coming into the year as a four-year college player heading into the NBA, but he has merely being okay. The centerpiece of the return for DeMarcus Cousins, he’ll get lots of play down the stretch but probably not enough to swing this race.
Dario Saric is probably going to win this award. He’s averaging 12.6 points per game, 6.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists. He’s really upped his game lately and is currently averaging 18.8 PPG in March. This late run will probably be enough to win him the award even though his team is terrible and he can pretty much shoot and score all he likes. Not saying he’s a bad player, but he gets opportunities on this team that other rookies might not get.
Personally, I’d go with Malcolm Brogdon. He’s a key contributor to a playoff team and has had to fight for his spot on the team. He’s the third-leading rookie scorer with 10 points per game while shoot 40% from three. He also ranks first among rookies in assists (4.1) and steals per game (1.15). The thing that people like about Hield coming into this year is what Brogdon has done and more. He’s a mature player and didn’t experience the growing pains that a lot of these other rookies have.
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