Every June, some of the top stars from both overseas and the college ranks have their dreams come true when they're taken in the NBA Draft. And each fall, the pressure is on their shoulders to live up to the hype during their rookie campaigns.
But, which stars have exceeded expectations in their first years in the NBA? Guys like Allen Iverson, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and many more wasted zero time announcing their arrival to the league.
Looking ahead to the future, which star will follow in those massive footsteps this season and be the best young NBA player, while boosting their team's NBA betting odds? We take a look at some of the top contenders for who will be the NBA Rookie of the Year in this piece.
Who's the favorite to be the Rookie of the Year at the moment?
In last spring's 2020 NBA Draft, star Duke freshman Zion Williams went No. 1 overall in the least surprising decision anyone could have predicted for the New Orleans Pelicans.
At No. 2 was Ja Morant to the Grizzlies, while another Duke star in R.J. Barrett went No. 3 to the New York Knicks.
Unfortunately for Williamson and New Orleans, the stud forward suffered a knee injury during the offseason, which has prevented him from making an early impact with his new team.
While there's no official timetable for when Zion will be able to return, fans out there better hope it doesn't linger throughout the rest of the year.
As for Morant, he's been absolutely sensational in his first action in the NBA. In his first eight games with the Grizzlies, the 6-3, 175-pounder averaged 18.9 points and 5.5 assists per night. Perhaps even more impressive, he shot 49.2% from the floor and 46.2% from 3-point land.
|NBA 2019-20 Rookie of the Year||Odds to win NBA ROY|
Early on, Williamson has the best NBA Rookie of the Year odds at 3.00, but both JA Morant and R.J. Barrett aren't too far behind. It wil really come down to how much of an impact Williamson can have for his team once he returns to the hardwood at a consistent level.
Knee injuries can be tricky, though, so we'll see how much New Orleans will limit his availability at certain points of the season to keep him healthy. When he's on the hardwood, however, everyone knows how impressive Williamson is on the court.
He's a force around the glass, throwing down earth-shattering jams with ease. He also worked on his shot while at Duke, and isn't afraid to let the ball fly from beyond the perimeter.
Predictions at the start of the 2019-20 season
With the new season just getting started, all eyes appear to be on Zion Williamson and Ja Morant to make the best cases to be named NBA Rookie of the Year. Being the top two picks in the previous NBA Draft, it makes sense.
However, Morant has most certainly stood out and taken advantage of Williamson being sidelined with a knee injury early on. Playing for Murray State last year, he didn't get the same kind of attention Williamson did at Duke.
Regardless, those who turned on his games and studied his film knew exactly what kind of player he is. He gets the job done on both ends of the floor. If it wasn't for Zion and his brilliant acrobatics, there's no question Morant would have been the No. 1 pick.
👀 Replays of Zion Williamson’s explosive dunk vs the Hawks!! pic.twitter.com/ZLo2oGg8Oi— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 7, 2019
As for Williamson, he's got to focus on getting healthy and staying in shape. Many had concerns about his weight entering the league and how it might affect his play. Well, suffering a knee injury before the start of the season sure tells you something.
Whoever does end up winning the award will be joining some pretty dang good company. Recent winners include Luka Doncic, Ben Simmons, Malcolm Brogdon, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Keep in mind NBA Finals odds can be affected by the promising play from rookies as well.
Historically, there have been some amazing talents to win NBA ROY. The impressive list features Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, LeBron James, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and so many others.
NBA Rookie of the Year betting
When you're getting ready to place your bets on who could end up being named the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year, it's going to be important to do some key research. Here at Canada Sports Betting, our partners will provide you with the best and latest odds, which will be an added bonus.
At the same time, there are certain factors you need to consider before you get ready to pull the trigger on a young star. There have been some trends in recent years, while other factors don't stand out as much as one might think.
Guards and forwards have been winners of late
In the last 10 years, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award has only gone to a center once. Can you believe that? Indeed, Karl-Anthony Towns won it in 2015-16, but the other nine years, the honor has gone to either a forward or guard.
Interestingly enough, in the last 20 years, only two centers have been named ROY, with Emeka Okafor joining Karl-Anthony Towns. Guards and forwards have overwhelmingly dominated the award.
Does the conference a rookie plays in matter?
Things have been pretty split historically with the Rookie of the Year between both the Western Conference and Eastern Conference. It really just matters how good the player is balling out, rather than which team he's on.
Past winners of late played for the Bulls, Super Sonics (now Thunder), Clippers, Timberwolves, Bucks, Cavaliers, 76ers, Mavs and Trail Blazers. As you can see, it's pretty even between the conferences.
International players have dominated the award recently
While players from the USA have been known to keep the Rookie of the Year Award in the States, international players have made a strong claim since the 2014-15 campaign.
In that time frame, four of the last five winners have been from different countries outside the U.S. Malcolm Brogdon won it in 2016-17, but the last two winners have been Ben Simmons and Luka Doncic, who hail from Austrailia and Slovenia, respectively.
In 2014-15, Canadian Andrew Wiggins won it, while Karl-Anthony Towns, from the Dominican Republic, won it the next year.
How much does the draft number matter?
Does it matter where a player got drafted in the previous spring's NBA Draft? When it comes to the Rookie of the Year, being a first-round pick makes you stand out. We've got to credit Malcom Brogdon, though, who was a second-rounder, but still won the award in 2016-17.
Other than that, the NBA Rookie of the Year has been virtually all first-rounders. Being the No. 1 overall pick sure increases your odds and chances too. Three of the last five winners were taken No. 1 overall.
Does a rookie's team have to make the playoffs to win the award?
While it's an added benefit for a rookie's team to have success throughout the season, it's not often the determining case for ROY. Keep in mind guys who are taken early on in the NBA Draft are going to teams who struggled mightily the season before. Therefore the Toronto Raptors odds for a rookie likely won't be high, since they just won the title and didn't have a high draft pick.
Whether or not a team makes the playoffs or not won't have a big impact on who ends up winning Rookie of the Year.