Rookies are youngsters that came into the league every year to take over. Making the jump from NCAA basketball to the NBA is not always easy.
The fact that you shined on a collegiate level doesn’t necessarily transform into NBA success. It can happen the other way around, too.
Now, every year we have some prospects to watch. Some draft classes are more stacked than others. Nevertheless, the reality is that you need new stars in the league. There are rookies that come out of nowhere and become stars in their own right.
We’ve seen some big prospects in recent years—like PG Luka Doncic or PF Zion Williamson—become real stars. These were mediatic young players. Then again, some of the NBA’s biggest stars weren’t this highly-regarded and now are in the elite.
Players like SF Kawhi Leonard became a 2x NBA Finals MVP and champion. Nikola Jokic was selected in the second round and just won MVP last season. This is why having a good rookie year can launch a player’s career.
Chosen by a group of the United States and Canadian broadcasters and journalists, each one gets three votes. The first vote is worth five points, the second gets three points, and the third one equals one point.
The rookie that ends up with the most total points cast is the one that gets the Rookie of the Year award. It doesn’t matter how many first votes the player has, but the total points.
So, you know how the award is given. How about the players to watch—and bet—to get some profit on the Rookie of the Year award?
Let’s see what the odds say!
Cade Cunningham – The no.1 overall draft pick is pretty much the only reason to watch the Pistons this year. The former Oklahoma State shooting guard has a lot of upsides.
He played in 27 games, averaging a 20 piece, along with 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Not only that, but Cunningham is a big guard standing at 6 feet 8 inches tall. A prolific shooter who made 43.8% of his field goals, including 40% from three.
If he manages to translate his game into an effective shooter in the NBA, giving his size, he can be a mismatch.
Jalen Green – The third player of Filipino heritage to get into the NBA comes with a lot of promise. He is a special product. He is coming as a pioneer of the NBA G League Ignite pathway program.
He’s been drafted by the Rockets, a team desperate for young talent. After all, Houston was the worst team in the NBA last season. A guard or forward, he shined with Ignite scoring 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals.
Carrying a chip—and now a franchise—on his shoulders, Green balling can get him the award.
Jalen Suggs – Oh man, this is sort of exciting. The Magic is not a good team, but with the pick of Jalen Suggs, they have an exciting backcourt for the future. Gonzaga was by far the best team in college last year. They didn’t win because March Madness is well mad.
However, Gonzaga was outstanding, and much of it was due to Jalen Suggs. He went for 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists. He is a magnificent shot-creator inside the key and had a 58% 2-point FG effectiveness.
He has a high basketball IQ that could do wonders for the Magic and place the spotlight on him. His three-point shooting is not a solid area of his game, but it’s something he doesn’t really need to be great at the beginning of his career.
Evan Mobley – After using their draft picks the last two years to build the backcourt, this year they went and drafted FC Evan Mobley. He is a big guy, seven feet tall.
The concerns come with his physique; he is a slim 210 pounds. For instance, C Joel Embiid is also that tall but weighs a whopping 280 pounds.
Mobley’s stock is a question mark, as the Cavs used a lot of effort this offseason to acquire big men. This may hamper his stock as his minutes might be limited.
Alperen Sengun – Originally an OKC Thunder pick, the Rockets got their hands on the Turkish big man, Alperen Sengun. The former Besiktas player is one to watch. He got 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.7 blocks. He won the Turkish Super League MVP in the process.
At only 19 years old, he is 6-feet-10 and will probably be deployed as a power forward, having a solid core for the future. H-Town can have a potential star in their hands.
Davion Mitchell – The point guard is seriously undersized. He is a mere 6-feet-2, so his skill should be on a different plateau for him to succeed. He spent four years in college and is 23 years old. It’s not a lot of good precedents to become an NBA star.
Having said so, he averaged 14 points a game in his last year with Baylor and guided them to the National Championship. He was a box office and played 33 minutes a game. Also, he was drafted by the Kings, who had a massive rookie selection last year with guard Tyrese Haliburton. The benefit of the doubt goes to him.
James Bouknight – Shooting guard James Bouknight made a tremendous leap into his second year at UConn. He went from 13 to 18.7 points a game. His rebounds went up from 4.1 to 5.7, assists went from 1.3 to 1.8, and steals went from 0.8 to 1.1.
He was nothing short of sensational. The Hornets have an established backcourt, but his minutes could be a lot in the second squad.
Franz Wagner – Hailing from Germany, Wagner played for two years in Michigan. At 6’9” and 220 pounds, we have high expectations for this jack of all trades player.
Despite that, his college stat sheet isn’t a lot to brag about, with 12.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. However, he can be a solid role player for the Magic.
Chris Duarte – Coming out of Oregon, the 6’6’’ guard Chris Duarte is called to give the Pacers a much-needed quality depth in the rotation.
He spent two years in college, and in the last season, he developed a prolific three-point shooting. He averaged 42% from outside while putting up 17.1 points per outing. He is also a sound perimeter defender, as he averaged 1.8 steals in his college career.
Ayo Dosunmu – Drafted by his hometown team, guard Ayo Dosunmu could be a sight to behold when it comes to the Bulls stock. Chicago is pushing for a postseason appearance and Dosunmu is a key part of the rotation to get them into the promised land.
Playing as a substitute to top-tier SG Zach LaVine can help him. Yes, his minutes might be less than he’d want to, but whenever he is on the court, he will face either second squads or tired opposition.
Dosunmu scored 20.1 points per game, whilst providing 5.3 assists. He also has a lot of court experience, since he played three years in College for Illinois. At 21 years old, he has the maturity not all rookies have.
|Year||Winner||Team||Statline (PPG, RPG, APG)|
|2020||LaMelo Ball||Charlotte Hornets||15.7/ 5.9 / 6.1|
|2019||Ja Morant||Memphis Grizzlies||17.8 / 3.9 / 7.3|
|2018||Luka Doncic||Dallas Mavericks||21.2 / 7.8 / 6.0|
|2017||Ben Simmons||Philadelphia 76ers||15.8 / 8.1 / 8.2|
|2016||Malcolm Brogdon||Milwaukee Bucks||10.2 / 2.8 / 4.2|
|2015||Karl-Anthony Towns||Minnesota Timberwolves||18.3 / 10.5 / 2.0|
|2014||Andrew Wiggins||Minnesota Timberwolves||16.9 / 4.6 / 2.1|
|2013||Michael Carter-Williams||Philadelphia 76ers||16.7 / 6.2 / 6.3|
|2012||Damian Lillard||Portland Trail Blazers||19.0 / 3.1 / 6.5|
|2011||Kyrie Irving||Cleveland Cavaliers||18.5 / 3.7 / 5.4|
To bet in this department, follow this step-by-step guide:
1. Go to your preferred sportsbook and log into your account.
2. Select the ‘NBA Odds’ tab option amongst the betting menu.
3. Go to the ‘Player Futures’ drop-down menu.
4. Click on ‘Rookie of the Year.’
5. Pick your bet and make it real by submitting it in the bet-slip window.