With the 2017 NBA draft now in the books and the season drawing closer, there are plenty of intriguing rookies who are likely going to be in the mix for the Rookie of the Year award. In what was one of the most loaded draft classes in recent memory, there are seven players who have odds of 12-1 or better to win the award, according to Bovada.
The group is headlined by two young Philadelphia 76ers stars in Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz. While Simmons was actually drafted last year, he missed the entire season and is still eligible to win the award this coming year. Let’s look at the full breakdown of the odds and give a bit of insight on some of the top players.
NBA Rookie of the Year Odds for 2017-18
- Lonzo Ball: +300
- Ben Simmons: +300
- Dennis Smith: +500
- Markelle Fultz: +550
- De’Aaron Fox: +700
- Malik Monk: +900
- Josh Jackson: +1200
- Jayson Tatum: +1600
- Jonathan Isaac: +2500
- Justin Jackson: +3300
- Lauri Markkanen: +3300
- John Collins: +5000
While the top five specifically seems to be the real names to target, the long shots could each make an argument for the award if they’re able to earn the playing time. Lauri Markkanen and Jonathan Isaac are both in spots where they should see playing time with the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic. The question is more of how their games will translate to the NBA level and whether or not they’ll be able to garnish enough playing time to push guys like Lonzo Ball, Ben Simmons, Dennis Smith, Markelle Fultz, De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, who could all see substantial playing time.
Realistically, it’s hard to bet against Ball or Simmons to win this award. The Los Angeles Lakers and the 76ers are going to build their offenses around keeping the boy in the hands of those two players, which should equate to big numbers during their rookie years. Each should have a long leash as well, which bodes well for their potential to win the award.
After those two, the most popular bets should likely be Smith and Fox. It wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprising if those two get as much if not more run than Ball and Simmons. Smith (Dallas Mavericks) and Fox (Sacramento Kings) are both on rebuilding teams that shouldn’t have much interesting in pulling back their playing time at all. Smith is an exceptional scorer while Fox is electrifying and has an impressive ability to get to the hoop with ease. Both averaged over 16.7 points per game during the 2016-17 collegiate season.
It’s hard to dive too far outside of the top five on this list, but the Charlotte Hornets new guard Malik Monk could certainly be an under-the-radar name to watch. He joins a team with All-Stars Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard. The ability of those two to open up the floor next season could lead to Monk seeing plenty of open looks and being able to play his game, which resulted in him winning the SEC Player of the Year award last season while averaging 19.8 points per game.
Top Picks for NBA Rookie of the Year
Ball and Simmons are the favorites for obvious reasons and are the top picks for the Rookie of the Year award. Each of them is poised to become the face of their franchises, and at the very least are going to be vital to their team’s success in 2017-18. While these are likely to be the hottest picks on the board, it’s always good to consider a few players with longer odds also.
After those two young stars, it’s worth taking a look at Smith and Fox, who both boast odds of 5-1 or better. There should be an unlimited number of chances for both players to dominate the ball and likely put up as many shots as they want as well.
Finally, the best long-shot choice is probably Markkanen, as he joined a Bulls team who recently traded Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves and has seemingly gone into a full rebuild mode. If Markkanen can carve out a role and even push Robin Lopez for the starting job, then his odds at +3300 are really appealing as well.