The 2022 NBA Draft was headlined by a few surprises, including Paolo Banchero’s late surge to the No. 1 pick, the Kings passing on Jaden Ivey, and Sam Presti trading – rather than acquiring – future first-round picks. Let’s take a look at which freshly drafted rookies are favored to earn the 2022-23 Rookie of the Year award.
Who are the NBA Rookie of the Year Favorites?
The Magic seemed to be deciding between Paolo Banchero and Jabari Smith leading up to the first overall pick, and oddsmakers are split between the two as well. Banchero and Smith come in as co-favorites for Rookie of the Year at +350. Oklahoma City’s Chet Holmgren and Detroit’s Jaden Ivey are next up at +550, while Sacramento’s Keegan Murray sits at +900 to earn the award.
Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin is +1000, followed by mystery prospects Dyson Daniels and Shaedon Sharpe, who are both +1400 to win. Wizards guard Johnny Davis and Thunder forward Ousmane Dieng round out the top ten at +1800. Dieng’s new Thunder teammate Jalen Williams is next at +2000. The worst odds among lottery picks are held by both Detroit’s Jalen Duren and Cleveland’s Ochai Agbaji, who are both +2500.
NBA Rookie of the Year History
2021-22) Scottie Barnes (4th pick)
2020-21) LaMelo Ball (3rd pick)
2019-20) Ja Morant (2nd pick)
2018-19) Luka Doncic (3rd pick)
2017-18) Ben Simmons (1st pick, 2016)
2016-17) Malcolm Brogdon (36th pick)
2015-16) Karl-Anthony Towns (1st pick)
Who Should You Watch For?
Paolo Banchero has often been billed as the safest pick in this draft, but a 1st overall pick has only earned Rookie of the Year honors once in the last six years. In fact, that winner was Ben Simmons, who was drafted a full year earlier and missed his first season due to injury. Recent trends force bettors to look at other options, especially after Scottie Barnes won the award this spring. Barnes entered his rookie season with the fifth-best odds at +1300, well behind the three players picked ahead of him plus Jalen Suggs, who was selected after him.
Banchero didn’t land in the perfect spot for rookie production, as the Magic don’t rely too heavily on any player and will be looking to get Franz Wagner even more touches after his strong rookie year. Banchero will make an impact, but is it enough to rival the impact of Chet Holmgren or Jabari Smith?
Holmgren has a chance to make a LaMelo Ball-like impact as a versatile, high-ceiling player in year one. The rebuilding Thunder will let him get all the touches he needs to develop, so the production should be there. At +550, don’t overthink Holmgren’s unicorn-like ability.
There is plenty of room for Smith to make a splash as a rookie with Christian Wood out of the picture in Houston. Stephen Silas will give his young players a ton of playing time, which should allow Smith to produce solid numbers. I’m hesitant to put Ivey in the same group as Banchero, Holmgren, and Smith as he plays more of a complementary role to Cade Cunningham in year one.
If you’re looking for a potential sleeper, Johnny Davis (+1800) is an NBA-ready scorer on a Wizards team with an uncertain future. Davis would have a major scoring role if Bradley Beal leaves, and he still figures to make an impact for a team often stretched thin by injuries even if Beal stays. It doesn’t hurt to take a look at Shaedon Sharpe (+1400), who is a mystery after not playing last season but has one of the highest ceilings in this draft.
Watch out for Keegan Murray, whose draft experience was very similar to Barnes’. In 2021, the first three players came off the board as expected, but Barnes was a surprise at No. 4 over Suggs. Last night, history repeated itself when Murray was the surprise No. 4 pick over Jaden Ivey. Few believed Barnes could have the impact he did, and Murray similarly doesn’t have as many believers as Ivey. Murray is a much different player than Barnes and will be playing for an often dysfunctional Kings team, but he’s NBA-ready at age 22 and will have an opportunity to make a difference from day one.