Dan Favale | Wed 18/07/2018 - 02:23 EDT

Early Odds for 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year

Odds for the NBA's 2019 Rookie of the Year award come via BetOnline and are accurate as of Tuesday, July 17. Although these lines will remain fairly steady until the 2018-19 regular season begins, do yourself a favor and double-check them before deciding on a wager. Also note these options are not ordered by betting odds, but rather strictly by which players look like the best investment as of now. 

6. Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies (+800)


Jaren Jackson Jr.'s skill set belies his placement at the bottom of our six-player ladder. That much became clear during the Las Vegas Summer League. Jackson showcased poise while firing threes, decent rebounding chops and the ability to block shots in volume. He averaged 3.8 swats in under 25 minutes per game.

The lack of potential for opportunity with the Memphis Grizzlies drags him down. He has the ability to play the 4 beside Marc Gasol, but the Grizzlies are trying to win now, while both Kyle Anderson and JaMychal Green need to soak up time at power forward as well. 

None of which means Jackson will want for playing time. He shouldn't. That would be franchise malpractice on the Grizzlies' part. But he probably won't enjoy the volume or exposure required of Rookie of the Year candidates. His best bet at climbing this ladder, aside from obliterating expectations, is seeing Memphis lean into a midseason rebuild after falling out of the Western Conference's playoff picture for the second consecutive season.

5. Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago Bulls (+1,400)


Wendell Carter Jr. is another player who feels too low. He looked like a borderline superstar during his stint in summer league. He flashed elite-level defensive chops, punctuated by expert switching, rebounding and shot-blocking. He even provided a glimpse into some outside shot-making, rim-running and, most impressively, situational passing.

So why is he checking in at fifth place instead of, say, first or second place?

Blame the Chicago Bulls. More specifically: Blame their signing of Jabari Parker.

Though Parker's two-year contract, complete with a team option for 2019-20, seems like a low-risk play, it actually stands to be rather damaging to the Bulls' outlook. They claim he'll play the 3, but that experiment won't last long. He doesn't have the lateral quickness to hang defensively at small forward. And that means he will invariably eat into the power forward and center reps for Bobby Portis, Lauri Markkanen and, yes, Carter. 

As of now, it doesn't even look like Carter will crack the starting lineup to begin the season. That's always a red flag in the Rookie of the Year discussion. It shouldn't be in this case, because he should be starting. But the Bulls, as always, have a butchered sense of right and wrong.

4. Kevin Knox, New York Knicks (+700)


Is it possible for a rookie to be both overrated and underrated at the same time? It turns out yes.

On the one hand, Kevin Knox isn't supposed to be involved in this conversation at all. Reactions to the New York Knicks drafting him at No. 9 ranged from indifferent to flat-out mad. Sneaking into our ladder is a big deal. On the other hand, he's touting top-three odds at the moment, which feels a little steep, if not patently outrageous.

Indeed, Knox was a summer-league standout. He averaged north of 21 points per game while breaking out surprise off-the-dribble creation, both for himself and his teammates. His 35 percent field-goal percentage is something of a concern, but the context under which his buckets came is more important. Drilling pull-up threes and driving into the heart of defenses is hard. He handled it with aplomb and poise defying his inexperience.

Getting ample playing time from the jump shouldn't be an issue in New York. The Knicks are in full-on rebuilding mode, and Kristaps Porzingis won't be returning from his ACL injury until December or January, if he returns at all.

Still, we have to pump the brakes on Knox's Rookie of the Year hype. He won't command the same volume in the regular season that he did during summer league. Tim Hardaway Jr., Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke will eat into his touches. He's also an unfinished product at the defensive end. Someone with his length should be blocking more shots, and he doesn't yet look too comfortable rotating out onto the perimeter. Keep him on your radar, but be careful not to jump the gun. He's a long-shot play with favorite(ish) odds.

3. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (+400)


Luka Doncic is going to be the best player from this draft class. That's at least what yours truly expects. Playmaking wings rule the NBA, and he does just about everything on the offensive end.

From setting the table for his teammates to hitting ridiculously tough pull-up jumpers off the dribble, this kid has it together. Even if his defense is underrated. He (apparently) stands at 6'8", and he's strong enough to tussle with bigger wings—3s and small-ball 4s alike.

Like so many other rookies, though, opportunity figures to be an issue. Doncic joins a Dallas Mavericks team that is trying to juggle rebuilding with competing. They've entrusted to the offense to a young point guard in Dennis Smith Jr., but they also signed a 30-year-old DeAndre Jordan to a fat one-season deal in free agency.

Doncic will only be given such a long leash early on as the Mavericks look to re-establish themselves as playoff contenders. Even if he does receive more than 25 minutes per game, it could come as more of an ancillary device than featured weapon. Both Smith and Harrison Barnes could monopolize most of the touches until the 19-year-old gains a little more seniority.

2. DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (+500)


First-overall picks should always be among the top-two options in Rookie of the Year projections. If they're not, a team has probably done something wrong.

Fortunately for the Phoenix Suns, they've done something right. 

Even if Doncic morphs into a superstar, Ayton is good enough to ensure the Suns don't suffer from draft-day remorse. His defense is a work in progress beyond the empty shot-swatting faculties, but he has the range and mobility of a guard at the offensive end. He will not only finish lobs and put back misses, but he'll drain spot-up threes, hit some shots off the dribble and draw fouls off intricate face-ups.

With the Suns expected to roll him out as the starting center right away, Ayton won't want for minutes. He shouldn't lust for touches either. Devin Book takes a lot of shots, but he's also coming along as a facilitator. Ditto for Josh Jackson.

Usage only becomes a problem for Ayton if the Suns indulge TJ Warren's jab-step ways too frequently. This is to say: Usage could become a problem for Ayton. Consider this No. 2 placement a hedge against his uncertain shot volume and questionable defensive development.

1. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks (+1,000)


Don't let Trae Young's early summer-league struggles fool you. This kid can play. 

In fact, he even proved as much amid his summer-league warts. He shot just 38 percent from the field during Las Vegas exhibitions, but he came into his own as a pull-up maestro deeper into the schedule. More importantly, he made stride after stride as a distributor. Only three other players averaged more assists per game, and the angles with which Young was tossing passes ranked among the most advanced of anyone to take the court.

There will be a learning curve as Young takes the reins for the Atlanta Hawks. The important thing is he's projected to take the reins. The Hawks seem certain to trade Dennis Schroder after drafting Young and trading for Jeremy Lin, and they don't have guys who excel at creating their own shot beyond these point guards.

That opens the door for Young to lead all rookies in usage, scoring and assists per game. And if history has taught us anything, a newbie who paces his peers in so many important departments has a great, if infallible, shot at seizing Rookie of the Year honors.

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Category : Sports Betting News

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