Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr. favorites to win NBA Rookie of the Year

Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr. favorites to win NBA Rookie of the Year


Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr. favorites to win NBA Rookie of the Year

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The updated odds for 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year call Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball the favorite to win the award next year.

Next up is Dennis Smith Jr., who has significantly shorter odds than he had last month when he was drafted by the Mavericks. Below are other favorites to take home the hardware next season.

Lonzo Ball (Los Angeles Lakers)

Implied Probability — 28.6 percent

After taking home the 2017 Summer League MVP, Ball remains the favorite to keep the accolades coming by winning Rookie of the Year next season. However, history is not on his side. Only one player in Lakers history has taken home the hardware: Elgin Baylor. He received the honor in 1959 and the team still played in Minnesota. If he can keep the triple-doubles alive during the regular season, though, he could run away with the win.

Dennis Smith Jr. (Dallas Mavericks)

Implied Probability — 25.0 percent

In the last month, no player has raised his stock for Rookie of the Year quite like Smith. His odds indicated he became nearly five times more likely to win the award after a strong summer league campaign. As a player who was “betting on himself” to get a more lucrative shoe deal with an impressive performance, the talent is clearly there.

Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)

Implied Probability — 22.2 percent

Last season, two players on the Sixers finished in second and third place for Rookie of the Year voting: Dario Saric and Joel Embiid. Unfortunately for the 2016 pick, Ben Simmons, he will face a similar predicament sharing the court in Philadelphia with 2017 No. 1 overall selection Markelle Fultz. Even if they both perform well, they could essentially split votes. Of course, it’s not unheard of for a player to be the first player selected, miss a year then win Rookie of the Year considering Blake Griffin showed it was possible.

Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)

Implied Probability — 16.7 percent

Even though he was one of the most dominant players during summer league in Las Vegas, Tatum feels like an unlikely candidate. While it has nothing to do with his talent, the opportunity to succeed in Boston may be less simply because of available playing time. Last season, Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown played 17.2 mpg. The season before, Terry Rozier played 8.0 mpg. Compare this with 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, who recorded 26.4 mpg.

Markelle Fultz (Philadelphia 76ers)

Implied Probability — 10.0 percent

In the last 20 years, the No. 1 overall pick has won Rookie of the Year eight times. These odds for Fultz feel lower than expected, especially as he is behind Tatum. The Celtics, of course, traded the No. 1 pick in the draft with Philadelphia. Boston went on to select Tatum while Philadelphia moved up and offered future assets to grab Fultz at the top spot. So if Tatum wins the touted trophy, this will be a move long questioned for the 76ers front office.

De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings)

Implied Probability —10.0 percent

While the Kings (like the Sixers) also have a young team in Sacramento, Fox is the obvious leader an impressive rookie class. He will be joined by Bogdan Bogdanovic as well as Harry Giles, Justin Jackson and Frank Mason as first-time NBA players next season. But he could still stand out as one of the most hyped young point guards in basketball. The veteran additions of George Hill, as well as Vince Carter and Zach Randolph, could hurt his cause if it dips into his overall productivity.


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