Updated odds to win the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year have been released by SuperBook USA and as expected, No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson is the heavy favourite.
|Michael Porter Jr.||Nuggets||100-1|
|Nassir Little||Trail Blazers||100-1|
Last year, the preseason favourite was Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks who would go on to win the award.
While Williamson is certainly the front runner, he'll have stiff competition from some other rookies in prime position to put up big numbers.
Our Global NBA.com staff gave their picks for who is most likely to challenge Williamson for top rookie honours:
Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13): Ja Morant has the best chance of pushing Williamson. The highflying point guard is coming off a season in which he averaged 24.5 points, 10.0 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game at Murray State and is heading to a Grizzlies team that will practice patience, allow him to make mistakes, and give him every opportunity to put up big numbers with a long leash.
Moreso than perhaps any other award, the Rookie of the Year boils down to simple individual counting stats. You can pretty much throw team success completely out the window.
Add up points, rebounds and assists per game and whichever rookie sits on top, that's almost always going to be your winner. In fact, it's happened in 15 of the last 16 years with the lone exception being the funky 2016-17 season when Joel Embiid led all rookies. but played in only 31 games which led to Malcolm Brogdon taking home the hardware.
Like Trae Young this past season in Atlanta, Morant will have the ball in his hands a ton.
Unlike Zion Williamson in New Orleans, he doesn't have the likes of Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram and JJ Redick on board, all of whom will certainly get their touches.
Morant is my pick to be the biggest stat padder and as such, pose the biggest threat to Williamson for ROY.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): Since 1990 the Rookie of the Year award has gone to the first overall pick 14 times, but since we can't pick Zion I had to go with the next best option - a point guard.
Point guards have won the ROY 17 times, the most by position. With two dynamic PGs in this rookie class, I had to go with the one who I think will have the most impact - Darius Garland.
Garland will be playing on a Cleveland team that's going to be desperate for him to make an impact. Collin Sexton, the Cavs first round pick a year ago, can probably slide over to the off-guard role take a cue from Patrick Beverly last season while he shared the court with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Garland can step right in and provide scoring and playmaking for a team that relied heavily on Sexton to do so last year. Sexton had a usage rate of 24.7%, third most for a rookie only behind Luka Doncic and Trae Young.
Where there's an opportunity, there's usually a rookie of the year. Cleveland will provide plenty of opportunities for Garland to stat pad, the only issue is the wins might not be coming along with it.
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): I'm going with Ja Morant as well.
Memphis is ushering in a new era of basketball with Morant and 2019 All-Rookie First Team selection Jaren Jackson Jr. at the forefront.
It's already been touched on, but Morant's sophomore season was historically impressive as he was both a potent scorer and influential playmaker. He even recorded a triple-double in the Racers' opening-round upset win over Marquette.
As a result, the Grizzlies couldn't help but use the No. 2 overall pick, putting him in a position to be a ball-dominant guard with the trade that sent long-time point guard Mike Conley to Utah.
Yes, the competition will be much greater at the NBA level, but Morant will also have more talent around him than ever before. More talent will equate to easier buckets and flashier dimes to more capable finishers.
To top it all off, Morant's world-class athleticism will make for plenty of above-the-rim highlights that will sure up his case as next year's top rook.
Benyam Kidane (BenyamKidane): I'm backing RJ Barrett
While he's had his struggles in Summer League, I expect Barrett's game to look a lot better with the increased spacing at the NBA level, opening up his best skill - scoring the ball.
And that's exactly what the Knicks will need him to do. Last season, they were dead last in the league in offensive rating at 104 points per 100 possessions and although they've added more firepower in Julius Randle, Bobby Portis and fellow rookie Ignas Brazdeikis, Barrett projects as their best scoring option from the wing.
In his lone season at Duke, he led the team in scoring, averaging 22.6 points per game, while sharing the load with Zion Williamson. Although Barrett shot just 30.6 percent from three, he wasn't shy about letting it fly, launching 6.2 attempts per game.
The playing time will be there for Barrett in New York this season, with expectations sky-high for the no. 3 pick.