Summer League action is right around the corner, and we will all get to see every rookie that has a shot at this award start to stake their claim. Even though these games don’t count, they will shift the NBA Odds, so before they begin, here are my three best bets.
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Jabari Parker (+300)
The outright favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award this season is the second pick in the draft, Jabari Parker. Parker has been labeled as the most NBA ready prospect among all of the players in the draft. Combine that with the amount of shots the Bucks will likely ask him to take, and you have the recipe for a Rookie of the Year.
We saw this just this past season with Michael Carter-Williams, who was asked to be the second leading scorer on a very bad team. His inflated stats were enough to give him the award, and Parker is far more talented and NBA ready than Carter-Williams is. Parker is the favorite for a reason, and he could run away with this award.
Julius Randle (+900)
I was not too high on Julius Randle coming out of college, but if he can develop quickly, he is on the perfect team for him next season. Randle’s body and rebounding ability is going to make him very successful with the Lakers, and considering Pau Gasol looks like he might be leaving town, Randle is going to get 30-plus minutes every night in LA. Some people have compared Randle to Zach Randolph, and even though I don’t completely agree with the comparison, I would not be surprised to see Randle come up with nine or ten rebounds per game this season. It might be a few years before he turns into a starting caliber player, but with the situation in LA, he might have to start and play big minutes this season. At his NBA Odds, he is absolutely worth a small wager on him to win the Rookie of the Year.
Doug McDermott (+1400)
As you can see with my two picks above, I am all about opportunity in this year’s Rookie of the Year award. Doug McDermott might be the dark horse in all of this, because even though his coach, Tom Thibodeau has a bias against playing rookies, McDermott might be the exception to that rule. His NBA Odds of +1400 are a great value too, and even though he may not start, I will be surprised if McDermott gets less than 23-25 minutes per game this season for Chicago.
It may be hard to compete with Parker up the road in Milwaukee, however, if for some reason the Bucks chose to bring him along slowly, the Bulls have every reason for McDermott to succeed. If Derrick Rose is completely healthy all season, he is going to give the rookie a ton of space to work with, and even if the Bulls sign Carmelo Anthony, I suspect he will be playing some power forward too, leaving room for McDermott. It’s definitely a long shot, however Dougie McBuckets is not a bad play.