We’re well past the NBA draft and into free agency. Rosters are beginning to take shape, giving us a sense of what rotations across the league will look like next season. For that reason, it’s a great time to look at the NBA rookie of the year odds.
All odds are brought to you by Jazz Sports Book.
LaMelo Ball +400
Ball, the third overall selection in the NBA draft, opened as the favorite to win rookie of the year. When the lines were released, he was at +300, with no one else coming in at anything better than +400. From the time the odds were released, it felt like Ball should be more favored than he was. Seeing the line move in that direction is an extremely tempting wager.
This comes down to opportunity, as he’s joining a Charlotte Hornets team lacking the talent to feature offensively. After the draft, the Hornets added forward Gordon Hayward, who figures to slightly take away from Ball’s opportunities on offense over the course of the season. Still, if Hayward remains healthy, he should help Ball to be more efficient on the floor.
As the face of the franchise moving forward, Ball is expected to see all the usage he can handle. Additionally, the Hornets desperately need him to be the energizer some think he will be from day one. While Devonte’ Graham has proven to be, at the least, a very solid NBA player. Terry Rozier is bound to develop into the odd man out in the Charlotte backcourt.
Final note, the Hornets ranked fourth in the NBA in passes made as a team last season, and Ball’s greatest strength is his vision and passing ability. He should quickly mesh with the pieces in place, and I have him running away with this year’s Rookie of the Year award.
Anthony Edwards +400
Now tied with Ball is Edwards, the first overall pick in the draft. Although he went first overall and is considered a player ready to make an impact on day one, he isn’t entering a situation as appealing as Ball is. The Timberwolves have stud big man Karl-Anthony Towns and guard D’Angelo Russell leading the way. Additionally, they added Ricky Rubio via trade in the offseason.
Edwards is going to be behind all three players in the pecking order. That’s before mentioning Malik Beasley, who joined Minnesota midseason last year and proceeded to torch the league. The Timberwolves rewarded his small sample size with a big-money contract, so it’s safe to assume he will be a big part of the gameplan.
Even as the first overall pick, +400 feels a little too low for Edwards. He’s in an already clogged backcourt with multiple studs in front of him on the roster. Stay away from this bet until you know he’s guaranteed enough opportunities to make it worth investing in.
James Wiseman +500
Wiseman opened +400 alongside Edwards, though now has slipped slightly behind him.
He was selected second overall and like Ball, enters the league in a better position to put up statistics than Edwards. Wiseman joins the Golden State Warriors and figures to be the starting center from day one. He will have plenty of opportunities to shine on the offensive glass around the three-point shooting Warriors lineups. Klay Thompson is out, which means Steve Kerr and Stephen Curry may be asking Wiseman to take on more of an offensive role.
He won’t be featured on offense but will have more shots available with Thompson not on the court. As of now, he seems to be in a better position than Edwards to produce in year one. There’s more value in playing Wiseman than Edwards at the same price.
Obi Toppin +500
Toppin is joining a New York Knicks team that lacks talent on the roster. They’ve made smart moves this offseason, but that only helps Toppin’s situation in the short term. Instead of overpaying on free agents and strapping themselves to bad contracts, the Knicks have looked to add assets with their cap space.
After that, they signed a handful of players to one-year deals. Nothing to feature on offense, where Toppin thrives at this point in his development. Elfrid Payton, Dennis Smith Jr., and Frank Ntilikina are all back, with Austin Rivers joining them in the Knicks backcourt. None of them are going to light the world on fire offensively, where the Knicks will rely heavily on Toppin and Julius Randle.
Cole Anthony +2500
Anthony enters the NBA coming off a very impressive season with the North Carolina Tar Heels. He dropped to the 15th overall selection, where the Magic added him to a backcourt situation that is one of the worst in the NBA. Markelle Fultz should be ahead of him, but Anthony’s offensive skillset could see him eating into Fultz minutes from day one.
Further, Orlando could play the two alongside each other for stretches. In terms of players taken outside of the lottery, Anthony enters the best situation to make an impact from day one.
In terms of the longshots, he stands head and shoulders above the others in terms of being capable of producing the numbers needed to win ROY.
Patrick Williams +1500
The fourth overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, the selection of Williams surprised many people. Williams was a late draft riser, and many people didn’t think the rumors of Chicago’s interest would be enough for the team to take him fourth overall.
Well, they did. While Williams is a selection that heavily depends on his potential instead of immediate impact, it’s worth considering him if you trust the Bulls’ new front office and their eye for talent. The players selected around him in the draft should at least make one question if there’s enough there for him to sneak into the ROY race.
Personally, I don’t see it.
Killian Hayes +900
Deni Advija +1200
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