The 2016 NBA Draft is in the books, NBA free agency is about to start and the USA Olympic team has been finalized. Slowly, but surely, we’re already inching back to another crazy NBA regular season. The 2016-17 NBA season is still a ways off, but it has us thinking; with all of these star rookies fresh on the brain, who might be worth a bet for NBA Rookie of the Year?

Rookie of the Year Odds

The early bets favor the #1 pick, Ben Simmons, who heads into the new season with +325 odds, per Bovada:

Case For Ben Simmons

The case for Ben Simmons winning the 2016-17 NBA Rookie of the Year is strong. He’s on a bad team and they lack offensive talent, plus he’s a physical specimen that is going to be handed the keys to the offense. Simmons lacks a jumper, but he can do everything else at an elite level.

Jahlil Okafor was able to average 17 and 7 on a terrible Sixers team as a rookie, so there is some very tantalizing logic that supports similar – if not better – numbers for Simmons. After all, Simmons was a total freak at LSU, averaging a double-double to go with over five dimes per game. Simmons isn’t about to get the 76ers back into the NBA playoffs just yet, but he’ll make them a little better and in the process he’ll be putting up some serious digits.

Who Could Challenge?

As good as the stats are that Simmons will probably put up, there are some things to consider when you think about an argument against him winning the ROY award. Playing on a bad team can actually be a deterrent, as those numbers could ring hallow if Simmons loses a ton and some of his main competition has similar or slightly better numbers and somehow finds a way to win.

The other glaring issue, which we already touched on, is Simmons can’t shoot. Points may not fall into his lap at the insane rate some other highly touted prospects find them, while his general efficiency may be a touch and go struggle during his rookie year. Not being able to kill defenses from outside of even 20 feet could hinder his ability to attack at will, as well.

Naturally, that opens the door to guys like Brandon Ingram, Kris Dunn, Buddy Hield and maybe even Denzel Valentine. Valentine might be a lock for a huge role in Chicago as a rookie, as Derrick Rose is gone and all the Bulls really have that they can rely on right now is Jimmy Butler. That could the ball in Valentine’s hands a ton and due to his versatile skill-set and gamer mentality, that could equate to big things. The Bulls are a better team than the Sixers by a mile, too, so if Valentine crushes it and Chicago can even sniff the playoffs, he’s in the mix.

That makes Valentine an interesting Rookie of the Year bet with +1200 odds, but he’s probably the least likely to snag the ROY title of that group. Dunn probably won’t be in the mix in year one, either, or at least we can’t envision it, seeing as he’s going to share the ball with the likes of Ricky Rubio, Zach Lavine and Andrew Wiggins quite a bit. There is a ton of talent in Minnesota in general, too, so unless they make a big trade, it may be tough for him to distinguish himself on his own team – let alone matched up against the other stud rookies.

Hield might be one of the best bets in this rookie class, as the Pelicans ride Anthony Davis but may be working with scraps, otherwise. They won’t be bringing Eric Gordon or Ryan Anderson back and Jrue Holiday is seemingly always banged up, so there is a serious offensive role to be had here. That could mean Hield pours in 11 points per game, or maybe he blows up right before our eyes. An inability to consistently create his own shot on the next level could still hold him back, of course.

ROY Prediction

And then there is Brandon Ingram. The former Duke star is too skinny and wasn’t good enough to go #1 overall in the 2016 NBA Draft, yet just about everything else about his talent and game makes you think he’s going to be a star almost immediately.

Another huge thing that works in Ingram’s favor is the fact that Kobe Bryant is gone and a ton of scoring opportunities are going to be there for the taking. Los Angeles has just three other scorers on the team in Lou Williams, Jordan Clarkson and De’Angelo Russell, too, so odds are they put a good amount on their rookie’s plate early on.

It can’t hurt that Ingram has a silky smooth offensive game, can create for himself and others and can stroke it from long range. Simply put, he has the game to make a huge impact right away and by all accounts, is Simmons’ top competition for NBA Rookie of the Year. In fact, we like him to win it. He’s the better shooter and he’s highly skilled in his own right, while the Lakers arguably boast a little more talent and could have a more successful run this year. All of that could combine for a huge first season for Brandon Ingram, and with the third best odds (+650) he even provides a little bit of a payout if he hits.

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *