The NBA season is less than a week old and Zion Williamson (New Orleans), Ja Morant (Memphis), and RJ Barrett (New York Knicks) are the top three betting favorites for NBA Rookie of the Year. Even though he has yet to play a game and is expected to miss the first 20 games, Zion is the favorite with 3/2 odds to become the NBA Rookie of the Year.
The hype around Zion will have to wait another month or possibly more. The Pelicans lost Zion after he suffered a knee injury in the preseason. The team estimated Zion would miss six to eight weeks while recovering from knee surgery. Everyone hopes he can return in early December.
Even though he’ll miss approximately 25 percent of the season, Zion is the top rookie in the NBA Rookie of the Year race with 3/2 odds to win the prestigious distinction.
2020 NBA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR ODDS:
Zion Williamson (Pelicans) 3/2
Ja Morant (Grizzlies) 7/2
RJ Barrett (NY Knicks) 7/2
Rui Hachimura (Wizards) 12/1
Coby White (Bulls) 14/1
Zion’s college teammate from Duke, RJ Barrett, is also one of the early Rookie of the Year favorites. Barrett currently leads the last-place New York Knicks in scoring. Without landing Zion or a top free agent, Barrett is the main attraction at Madison Square Garden.
Ja Morant, the second overall pick out of Murray State, is also logging big minutes with the Memphis Grizzlies. In three games, Morant has already made an impact. He’s leading the Griz in scoring, assists, and steals.
Meanwhile, rookies Coby White and Rui Hachimura earned starting jobs after their strong preseason play.
Morant Time in Memphis
The Griz won their first game of the season in a thriller. Morant exploded for 30 points in a 134-133 overtime victory against the Brooklyn Nets. He also dished the ball to Jae Crowder, who knocked down the game-winning three-pointer. Morant more than held his own against All-Star Kyrie Irving.
In just three games, Morant emerged as one of the best players in Memphis. The rookie point guard leads the team with 18.0 points and 6.0 assists per game. He’s also pulling down 3.7 rebounds and adding 1.7 steals per game.
The Griz’s second overall draft pick is already paying off dividends, while top pick Zion has yet to suit up.
Welcome to MSG, RJ Barrett
New York City sports fans can be brutal. The boobirds are not shy expressing their opinions. Just ask point guard Dennis Smith, Jr. After a slow start, Knicks fans crucified Smith by chanting for his backup to come into the game.
Rookie RJ Barrett has done nothing (yet) to draw the ire of Knicks fans. Barrett logged significant minutes in the preseason, which was a precursor to earning a starting job. So far, head coach David Fizdale gave Barrett the most playing time on the team, averaging 36 minutes per game.
In three games, the Knicks have yet to win. Barrett has been the lone shining star, averaging 21 points and 5 rebounds per game. Barrett leads the Knicks in scoring, and he’s been hitting 53 percent of his three-pointers, which was easily his weakest trait coming into the NBA.
Rui and Coby
In Chicago, there’s a lot of buzz involving a rookie point guard Coby White. The Bulls selected White with the seventh overall pick out of North Carolina. White won the starting job, and his blue collar work ethic impressed the impossible-to-please, Jim Boylen.
Through three games, White is the Bulls third-best scorer, averaging 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game.
The Washington Wizards drafted Japan’s Rui Hachimura out of Gonzaga with the ninth overall pick. While the Wizards are in rebuilding mode, Hachimura earned a starting small forward job.
In three games, Hachimura is second on the Wiz in scoring, averaging 16.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Only superstar Bradley Beal (20.3 ppg) is putting up more points than the rookie.