NBA Rookie of the Year odds are officially out! The Rookie of the Year award (abbreviated ROTY) has yielded quite a few unexpected winners over the past decade, including Scottie Barnes, Malcolm Brogdon, and Michael Carter-Williams. Brogdon became the lowest pick (36th) to win the ROTY award in 2017, instilling confidence for future players who fall in the draft that they, too, can win the award. Damian Lillard was even once an underdog to win the award as the No. 6 pick; he was relatively unknown until he was drafted out of Weber State. The other six ROTYs in their respective draft classes were top three picks.
There are plenty of factors to consider when debating which rookies to bet on: usage, opportunity, and efficiency on both ends of the floor. Last season’s winner, Scottie Barnes, did not lead rookies in point, rebound, assist, steal, or block averages per game. However, Barnes was consistent and efficient on offense and defense and elevated the Toronto Raptors to new heights.
Additionally, Barnes saw significant usage at the beginning of the year due to Pascal Siakam’s injury, which helped him gain confidence early in the season; he posted 18 points and nine rebounds per game during that stretch. The lesson here is that there can always be elements of unpredictability and luck.
Currently, Paolo Banchero is the favorite to win the 2022-23 Rookie of the Year award. Banchero will start for the Orlando Magic and should garner significant offensive volume; he could also impact the defensive end, given his incredible size and length. Still, there are never any guarantees for a player to stay healthy or play as well as expected.
For instance, Chet Holmgren was a co-front-runner for the ROTY award, but after an incredibly unfortunate play during a Pro-Am, Chet Holmgren suffered an ankle injury. This injury has shaken up the odds for the rest of the rookies heading into the 2022-23 regular season. The odds for the ROTY award will continue to fluctuate throughout the season, so keep up to date below.
NBA Rookie Of The Year Odds 2022-23
Most sportsbooks have posted the upcoming NBA Rookie of the Year odds, so take a look below at the board to see each player’s odds. Some players have solid preseason value, while others are a bit more high risk given the uncertainty of their spot in the respective team’s rotation. Paolo Banchero currently has the best odds to win the ROTY award, but preseason expectations can be misjudged if not properly researched.
Front-Runner: Paolo Banchero (+440)
Surprisingly, this year’s No. 1 overall pick is not the preseason favorite to win the 2022-23 Rookie of the Year award. Banchero has been an underdog before, even as recently as June; he was at least +2500 at one time to be selected first by Orlando in the 2022 NBA Draft. This was a nightmare for the sportsbooks but a dream come true for Banchero.
In terms of offensive skillset, no player is more prepared to assume a primary scoring role in the NBA than Banchero. Banchero is a three-level scorer with a strong handle and huge playmaking upside. Throughout his freshman season at Duke, Banchero flashed lightning-quick vision with elite passing accuracy, so his ROTY bid won’t solely depend on scoring and rebounding numbers.
Also, he has reportedly been listed at 6’10.5” without shoes, which would put him close to seven feet with shoes. Due to Orlando’s questionable and injury-prone roster, Banchero will have the size and skill to command 30-36 minutes per game on a nightly basis. He’s the most obvious and, in my opinion, the best choice for Rookie of the Year right now.
Long-Shot: Bennedict Mathurin (+1500)
After Bennedict Mathurin was drafted, he immediately called out one of the greatest players of all time, LeBron James. It took all but one day for him to make a splash. The phrase “he’s got that ‘dawg’ in him” is overused, but this applies much like my “unicorn” comment about Chet Holmgren above.
Mathurin had plenty of moments as a sophomore at Arizona that spelled out “superstar” frontwards and backward; his insane leaping ability, defensive length, prowess, IQ, and superb three-point shooting were on full display all season long for Arizona.
In Indiana, Mathurin will have an opportunity to start immediately and get plenty of volume on the offensive end. For instance, Chris Duarte averaged over 13 points per game last season for the Pacers as a late lottery pick, and I predict a similar season for Mathurin. Perhaps, he will even be better, as his athletic prowess, handle, and shooting ability could elevate him to 15-17 points per game as a rookie for a rebuilding team.
Stay Away: Jabari Smith Jr (+550) and Shaedon Sharpe (+2100)
Once thought to be the surefire No. 1 pick, Smith fell to the third overall pick after a mysterious pre-draft process from the Orlando Magic. It makes sense for a team that doesn’t have the first pick in the draft to be aloof; however, it makes little difference for the lucky lottery winners to confuse everyone for months. What difference does it make to them?
Regardless, Smith has an impressive combination of size, length, and shooting at 6-foot-10, and is likely, still growing. He was snagged with the third overall pick due to his sky-high ceiling, but I feel Smith is not ready to provide the production level to win ROTY quite yet.
The primary driver for this thought process is his inability to create clean looks off the dribble. Against NBA-caliber defenders, Smith will have to rely on his incredibly tough shot-making ability, which he does have, to put up adequate numbers for that kind of award. Still, if Smith excels and blasts past expectations, especially on the defensive end of the floor, then he has a chance, similar to a player like Evan Mobley last season. I think it will be a few years before he puts it all together, though.
Meanwhile, Shaedon Sharpe is another player whose odds seem attractive but will probably be nowhere near ROTY contention. Sharpe has a truckload of individual offensive talent but has not seen a competitive floor in over a year. By the time the NBA regular season rolls around, it will still take him some time to adjust to pro-level speed and physicality.
During his time at Kentucky, Sharpe became known as a “mystery” prospect with boom-or-bust potential; that description will follow him for a while. Sharpe will be coming off the bench for Portland, which could spell disaster for his ROTY backers. Short of a few injuries to key players like Jerami Grant, Damian Lillard, or Anfernee Simons, and a miraculous jump in maturity, confidence, and will, Sharpe probably won’t see the floor nearly enough to justify taking a flier here.
NBA Rookie of the Year Odds: Conclusion
As we have seen before, the Rookie of the Year race can range from highly lopsided for the preseason favorite to a complete surprise from a long shot and anywhere in between. Based on talent, usage, and situation, Paolo Banchero is in a prime position to run away with the Rookie of the Year award; however, nothing is a guarantee. Injuries and cold streaks have derailed players, but there is no indication that Banchero will fall to these award deterrents.