The great thing about the NBA is that there is always promising young talent ready to step in and show the league what they’re made of. Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes won NBA Rookie of The Year last season and joins a strong list of players who are among the current crop of stars in the league. Previous winners of the honor include LaMelo Ball, Ja Morant, Luka Doncic, and Ben Simmons.
While Barnes looks to improve and take the next step in his second NBA season, a new group of neophytes will take the court looking to make their mark. If you place NBA bets on Bovada, you might be interested in checking who are the ones leading the odds for 2022-2023 NBA Rookie of The Year.
With that being said, let’s take a look at which first-year players have the best chance to bring home the Rookie of The Year award.
Generally speaking, it is wise to start any review of potential rookie greatness with the player who went first overall in the NBA Draft. The Orlando Magic decided to select Duke forward Paolo Banchero in that spot, and hope to be rewarded for years to come. There’s no questioning Banchero’s basketball ability. At 6’10”, his versatility and athleticism make him a prototypical athlete in the modern game. During his time with the Blue Devils, he was entrusted with ballhandling duties during fast break opportunities and would be difficult to guard due to his varied skill set.
Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley is going to have an interesting decision to make this year. His frontcourt is decently stocked with talent, as Wendell Carter Jr., Mo Bamba, and Franz Wagner all have good cases to see 25 or more minutes per game. Orlando also figures to get back Jonathan Isaac at some point, who missed a lot of time due to injury but flashed legitimate defensive potential.
Jabari Smith Jr.
The player that many expected to go first overall in the 2022 NBA Draft slid down to the third selection. The Houston Rockets aren’t complaining, as Jabari Smith’s natural scoring ability tantalized evaluators while he put the ball in the basket for Auburn University. Smith has one of the best cases to win Rookie of The Year in 2022-2023. Houston doesn’t figure to be competitive for a postseason berth this season and will prioritize player development in all 82 regular season games. There also aren’t many roadblocks to significant playing time for Smith, who is likely to play close to 30 minutes a night from the get-go. When there are a few candidates for Rookie of The Year on subpar teams, sometimes ties can be broken based on individual highlight games. Smith would seem to be in a great position to record a few 35-point, 13-rebound games this year, which would put him in the driver’s seat for end-of-season honors.
With the top three players in the NBA Draft set in some order, the next individual who received a lot of attention last spring was Jaden Ivey. There were a lot of discussion surrounding teams possibly trading up to select the scintillating prospect from Purdue University, as franchises marveled over his athletic ability.
The Detroit Pistons ended up snagging Ivey with the fifth overall selection, and now have one of the most dynamic young backcourts in the NBA. Pairing Ivey with Cade Cunningham gives Detroit the wherewithal to push the ball up the floor and give opposing defenses fits.
He may not have the same type of statistical impact as some of his classmates in 2022, but Ivey will have an interesting opportunity to play meaningful games if the Pistons can take a step forward this year. The roadmap is similar to the one followed by Barnes last year, who played a valuable role on a team that qualified for the postseason.
In the vast majority of cases, Rookie of The Year honors goes to players who demonstrate significant offensive prowess and have scoring statistics that leave fans wondering what’s to come in future years. However, San Antonio Spurs forward Jeremy Sochan has the chance to zig while everyone else in the league zags.
The Spurs figure to be one of the worst teams in the NBA this season, and it’s hard for the contributions of role players to be respected on struggling teams. However, with defensive analytics as developed as they’ve ever been, it might be possible to quantify the potential impact Sochan has defensively and on the glass. The former Baylor prospect has boundless energy and will pursue the ball on each and every play. Sochan also figures to be a problem on defense for offensive players wanting an easy night at the office.