Before he fractured his wrist, Charlotte Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball had the inside track to winning the NBA Rookie of the Year. Ball is presumably out for the remainder of the season, and oddsmakers have adjusted the odds for Rookie of the Year, making Anthony Edwards from the Minnesota Timberwolves the new betting favorite.
Ball averaged 15.9 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game before he fractured his wrist last weekend. Now that Ball is hurt, Edwards has the opportunity to snatch away the Rookie of the Year award. Edwards averages 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game with the last-place Timberwolves.
|2021 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds|
- Anthony Edwards -139
- LaMelo Ball +175
- Tyrese Haliburton +200
- Immanuel Quickly +2000
- James Wiseman +8000
- Saddiq Bey +150000
- Patrick Williams +15000
- Deni Avdija +30000
- Payton Pritchard +30000
This would mark the second season in a row in which an injury could tip the outcome of the Rookie of the Year race.
Last season, Ja Morant secured the Rookie of the Year after a sensational debut season with the Memphis Grizzlies. Morant edged out Zion Williamson because Williamson missed the first half of the season while recovering from knee surgery.
You can back Edwards at -139 odds to win the Rookie of the Year over at DraftKings. Ball has slipped to +175 odds.
Top Pick Living Up to Hype
Edwards is thriving under new head coach Chris Finch. The Timberwolves were the worst team in the Western Conference yet again, so they fired Ryan Saunders shortly before the All-Star Break. The organization drew heat from critics when they didn’t promote an assistant coach from the Timberwolves.
In his short time with the team, players have adjusted and are enjoying playing under Finch’s offense philosophy. The Timberwolves still suck, but at least the offense has sprung to life. As a result, Karl-Anthony Towns and Edwards have flourished.
“You can see the improvements on a daily basis,” said Finch. “He [Edwards] gets better every game and [is] making better decisions. It’s exciting to see a young player with so much potential make strides to achieve it.”
In March, Edwards averaged 24.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He’s still a tad erratic from 3-point range, hitting 30.2%. It’s been feast or famine for Edwards from beyond the arc. He erupted for a career-high 42 points against the Phoenix Suns, but shot just 4-for-13 from downtown. He’s had other rough nights shooting this season, going 1-for-10, 3-for-12, and 0-for-7. Despite his high amount of misses, Finch wants Edwards to keep gunning.
Edwards also threw down the leading candidate for Dunk of the Year.
The Charlotte Hornets selected LaMelo Ball with the third pick in the draft. LaVar Ball, LeMelo’s outspoken father, said his youngest son is the best of his three sons. It didn’t take long for the rest of the world to agree after the youngest Ball made a huge impact with the Hornets this season.
Once Ball started knocking down 3-pointers, his scoring output increased. He averaged over 20.4 ppg as a starter in February, which doubled his initial output when he came off the bench to start the season.
“Melo exceeded our expectations so far this season,” said team owner Michael Jordan at the All-Star break.
Ball went down shortly after the break. The Hornets were in the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs when he went he got injured. Without Ball, the Hornets (23-21) went 3-1 with one overtime loss against the Phoenix Suns over the weekend.
Rookies of Note: Haliburton, IQ, Avdija
The Sacramento Kings secured one of the steals of the 2020 Draft by selecting Tyrese Haliburton with the #12 pick. You can back Haliburton as the value pick at +200 odds because he’s the closest competitor to Edwards. If the Kings trade Buddy Hield to a contender, then Haliburton’s potential value as Rookie of the Year would have jumped. But since the Kings kept Hield, Haliburton still has to share the ball with Hield and a smoking-hot De’Aaron Fox.
The Knicks acquired Immanuel Quickley in a draft-day trade. He was a late first-round pick and, if it weren’t for Haliburton, Quickley would be the steal of the 2020 draft. Quickley averages 12.8 points and 23 assists per game, mostly as a bench player. Although fans have been clamoring for IQ to start, he’s become an integral part of the Knicks’ second unit with Derrick Rose, Obi Toppin, and Alec Burks. Quickley is a long shot at +2000 odds to win Rookie of the Year.
The Golden State Warriors selected big man James Wiseman with the #2 pick in the draft. Wiseman had his ups and downs with the Warriors this season, averaging 11.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Steve Kerr has faith in the rookie, who demonstrated flashes of brilliance this season. At this point, Wiseman is a ROY long shot at +8000 odds.
The Washington Wizards selected Deni Avdija from Israel with the #9 pick in the draft. Avdija averages 6.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 22 minutes per game, but started in 19 games with the Wizards. Russell Westbrook took a shine to Avdija and took him under his wing. You can back the Israeli kid at +30000 long-shot odds to win Rookie of the Year.