NBA Betting: Rookie Of The Year Props

The battle for NBA Rookie of the Year in 2023 will soon commence when the new NBA regular season begins in October. Last season’s rookie of the year battle took a surprising twist. Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers was widely viewed as the front-runner for most of the season, but Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors overtook him at the end, largely out of a belief that he was more durable and played more games to warrant the award. Mobley was great in the games he played, but his recurring injury problems led voters to downgrade him in favor of Barnes.

How will the new rookie of the year race shape up? Let’s get an early overview of the primary contenders.

Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic

The No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA draft is naturally a frontline rookie of the year contender. Banchero shouldn’t have too many problems scoring in the NBA, but his defense needs to hold up over the course of 82 games in order for him to be the winner of this award. Banchero doesn’t need to play great defense, but he can’t be a turnstile. He has to be reasonably good and not an outright liability on defense. His offense should be up to the task, but being a strong two-way player will be the true measure of his standing in the NBA. Evan Mobley and Scottie Barnes were both elite two-way players last season. Banchero has to rise to that standard.

Jabari Smith, Houston Rockets

The man many believed would be the top pick in the NBA draft fell to No. 3, but Houston could be a better situation than Orlando. Smith plays alongside Jalen Green and other members of an exciting, young core with the Rockets. Smith might be surrounded by pieces who could enable his talents to shine more fully than what Banchero can do in Orlando.

The thing Smith has going for him is that he is the best shotmaker of any draft prospect. This doesn’t mean other elite rookies in this particular draft class aren’t gifted shooters, but Smith makes the toughest shots out of all of them. At Auburn last season, Smith proved that he could hit an 18-foot fadeaway jumper against long and active defenders. He was able to shoot over the top of a defender and use his height to his advantage. No other member of this draft class can make that shot as consistently. If Smith shows he can continue to make that shot on a regular basis, it could be his ticket to the ROY award.

Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder

The obvious question with Holmgren, who weighs less than Banchero and Smith, is if his reed-thin body can take the pounding of the NBA game over 82 games and be healthy and effective. If Holmgren can pass that test, his ballhandling skills and open-court agility will enable him to thrive in a fast-tempo style of offense. What will help Holmgren in Oklahoma City is that he gets to play with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. If the two can thrive as a team, that could propel Holmgren to the forefront of the Rookie of the Year conversation.

Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons

The man many people thought should have been picked at No. 4 by the Sacramento Kings instead went at No. 5 to the Detroit Pistons. Ivey gets to play with a former top pick, Cade Cunningham, and much like Holmgren and SGA in Oklahoma City, a tandem of Ivey and Cunningham could enable Detroit’s newest elite rookie to win some hardware in 2023.


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