With the NBA Draft and Summer League behind us, we now know a little more about this year’s crop of rookies. This year’s draft class looks to be a good one and the race for Rookie of the Year should be a good one. Much is expected from the award winner this days. It takes more than just solid numbers. Recent winners have been more than just a one-dimensional players. It takes floor leadership, scoring and defense, and, not to mention, future All-Star potential. The futures odds are great right now as it is so early and making the right call now will pay big come 2019. Let’s have a look at the frontrunners and see where the value is for the 2019 Rookie of the Year.
Luka Doncic +400
Definitely the most NBA ready player of the group, Doncic will get plenty of run with the Mavs. Trying to get to the top of the Western Conference is no easy feat but making the trade to get Doncic is a step in the right direction as he has NBA starter written all over him. Four to one odds is nice value on a player of his caliber, too.
Deandre Ayton +450
If Doncic is the most NBA ready, Ayton is the most NBA body. This kid is a monster and will have no problem competing on the low block with anyone in the league. His shooting touch is said to be there too, making him a legit stretch five. Putting it all together can take time though and, even with his skill set, he may be further away than a few others here. +450 is a nice number but the big man may not be the best value when compared to Doncic.
Collin Sexton +800
This point guard drafted out of Alabama finds himself in a tricky situation. With Lebron James leaving for the Lakers, the Cleveland Cavaliers have hit rock bottom. Being able to draft a kid of Sexton’s talent will help soon enough but his first year is going to be a bad one with lots of losing and then a little more losing. However, this does put Sexton in a interesting situation, though, because he won’t be judged by how well his team performs like other rookies will. Solid numbers in an injury free season could see Sexton take the award and eight to one odds is a great value.
Marvin Bagley +800
The upside of Marvin Bagley is impossible to know. This guy has every aspect of the game in his skill set and throws in a high motor on top of it. We like the +800 number because it would not be a shock to see him holding the trophy at the end of the year. However, it’s that high motor that gets him in trouble. We saw it last season and already in the summer league, Bagley gets little nagging injuries that cost him time on the court. The NBA season is a long one and those injuries add up. While Bagley has the talent to win the award, he might not get the time on the court he needs to prove it.
Trae Young +1000
Another interesting talent in this year’s draft is Trae Young because people either love this kid or hate him. He is a gunner and after leading the NCAA in scoring and assists as a freshman, many think he is the second-coming of Steph Curry. Others note his lack of size, strength, and high turnover rate and see him as overrated. Time will tell but we tend to feel like the latter group. He did hit a wall during his first college season, so what’s he to do with an NBA season which is twice as long. +1000 is not enough for this long shot.
Wendell Carter Jr. +1500
The Chicago Bulls may have the steal of the draft with this forward Carter. His Summer League games were very impressive, especially on the defensive side of the ball which is where many of his question marks were. The Bulls, playing in the weak East, will make some big strides this season and Carter will be able to ride that success. Fifteen to one is a nice payday and Carter has the goods and the value to steal the award.