2021 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds

This year’s NBA Draft Class does not have a standout superstar like last year’s, so the Rookie of the Year award for 2021 is anybody’s game.

LaMelo Ball, the younger brother of former number two overall pick Lonzo Ball, is currently the favorite to be named rookie of the year in 2021. Right behind him is Anthony Edwards, the number one overall pick in this year’s draft. As we continue to go down the list, guys like James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, and even Killian Hayes are just a few of the players that have a chance to be named Rookie of the Year.

LaMelo Ball is no stranger to pressure. Since the Ball family burst onto the scene in 2017, LaMelo has constantly had the spotlight shined on him. Lesser plays would have folded under the pressure, but not LaMelo. The 19-year-old Point Guard was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the third pick in this year’s draft after an excellent career in the Australian Basketball League.

LaMelo will come into Charlotte and be expected to be the franchise PG for years to come. That is probably why he is favored to be Rookie of the Year with +400 odds. With a slew of good young players surrounding him, it is no surprise that Ball is the current favorite to win ROTY. If Devonte’ Graham can successfully transition into a Shooting Guard, then there is no limit to what LaMelo could do in his first year in the NBA.

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Who Is Favored To Win the 2021 Rookie of the Year award?

Unlike last year, we do not have a single, generation-defining player coming into the NBA (like Zion Williamson). We don’t even have an NCAA Tournament superstar coming into the league this year (like Ja Morant) because March Madness was canceled in 2020. In reality, we can’t be really sure how any of these kids will fair at the next level. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the odds to win rookie of the year.

LaMelo Ball, CHA: +400
Anthony Edwards, MIN: +450
Obi Toppin, NYK: +600
James Wiseman, GSW: +600
Killian Hayes, DET: +700
Deni Avdija, WAS: +1400
Tyrese Haliburton, SAC: +1400
Onyeka Okongwu, ATL: +1600
Isaac Okoro, CLE: +1600
Kira Lewis Jr., NOP: +3300
Patrick Williams, CHI: +3300
RJ Hampton, DEN: +5000
Aleksej Pokusevski, OKC: +5000
Immanuel Quickley, NYK: +5000
Devin Vassell, SAS: +5000
Precious Achiuwa, MIA: +6000
Cole Anthony, ORL: +6000
Malachi Flynn, TOR: +6000
Josh Green, DAL: +6000
Tyrese Maxey, PHI: +6000

Mar 8, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) in action against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

While LaMelo is arguably the most talented player in this year’s draft, he still has several areas of gameplay that he could improve on. He apparently lacks explosive scoring capabilities at times. This theory was proven as he only shot 25% from beyond the arc in his college/amateur playing career.

It is also concerning that he enters the NBA as a household name even though he is still an unproven entity. We have seen in the past that people targeted and played harder against Lonzo Ball because of all the talking (bragging) his father did. Considering LaMelo has even more hype around him than Lonzo, I could see teams giving him a hard time on a night in and night out basis.

The Case For Anyone Else as the NBA Rookie of the Year

Even though LaMelo Ball is the current favorite to win Rookie of the Year, it is not a guarantee that Ball will have a stellar first season in the league. He could struggle early on, or get injured, or have a hard time fitting into his role with the Hornets. That’s why there are a few other good options to wager on if you aren’t convinced Ball is going to be all he’s cracked up to be.

Anthony Edwards is right behind Ball as a favorite to win the 2021 Rookie of the Year award. At +450 odds, it is uncommon to see the number one overall pick not be the outright favorite to be named ROTY. Edwards created plenty of controversy before the draft when he said that basketball “… is what I do.” This raised flags about Edwards’ commitment to the league, but that did not deter the Timberwolves from selecting the Georgia Shooting Guard with the first pick in the NBA Draft. Even though he is “… still really not into it,” Edwards has the second-best odds to be named ROTY (+450).

Obi Toppin and James Wiseman are both good sleeper picks with +600 odds. At the beginning of the 2019 college basketball season, Wiseman seemed like a consensus future number one overall pick. Unfortunately, Wiseman faced suspensions and injuries in college, causing him to leave Memphis early in order to prepare for the NBA Draft. That decision worked out since Wiseman was still selected second overall this year. With bonafide superstars around him like Draymond Green and Steph Curry, Wiseman has a chance to come in and be an effective NBA big man right away.

We also can’t discount Obi Toppin, who was selected with the eighth overall pick in the NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. The former Dayton Flyer exploded onto the scene last year, averaging 20 points and 7.5 rebounds per game during the college basketball regular season. As a result, Toppin was named a consensus First-team All-American and National College Basketball Player of the Year. There is no doubt that this kid has the talent to thrive in the NBA. I think he will get a lot of opportunities to show his skillset in the Big Apple, which is why he could be a steal at +600 odds.

If you are looking for a pair of super sleeper picks, you don’t have to go too far down the draft board. Tyrese Haliburton could be a steal at +1600 odds. His field goal percentage beyond the arc in college was well over 40%. This could translate quite well in the NBA since Haliburton is considered one of the more polished players in this draft. With Buddy Hield and De’Aron Fox guiding him, Haliburton could be worth a small bet for ROTY.

A super sleeper pick for the award could also be Chicago’s Patrick Williams. Williams shot up people’s boards after an impressive pre-draft process. The Bulls believe Williams has an incredible upside. His frame and build is similar to that of a young Kevin Durant, so Chicago’s front office is hoping that Williams can develop into a well-rounded player in the NBA in due time. Despite being picked fourth overall, he is a long-shot to win ROTY with +3300 odds. It could be worth placing a wager on him if he continues to grow and learn.

As is the case with anything in the NBA futures market, be sure to pay attention to the ebbs and flows of an 82-game season.  You never know when the futures bet you covet will hit that sweet spot in value.

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