Mark Strotman for Bookies.com

By Mark Strotman | | 3 mins

Hornets’ LaMelo Ball 2021 NBA Rookie Of The Year Favorite

Hornets’ LaMelo Ball 2021 NBA Rookie Of The Year Favorite

LaMelo Ball may not have been the No. 1 pick in Wednesday night’s NBA Draft, but he’s the top choice at sports betting sites to win NBA Rookie of the Year this season.

Ball, selected third overall by the Charlotte Hornets, finds himself atop the initial odds list for 2021 Rookie of the Year at +400 odds. He’s not the runaway NBA betting choice, but the fact that he has already played professional basketball in Australia for a year in what will be a shortened NBA offseason, and the opportunity he’ll have in Charlotte to play as the lead guard from Day 1, is why he is the favorite.


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Ball is the most gifted passer in the rookie class and will have plenty of opportunities to post numbers for a Hornets team that won just 23 games a year ago. Ball will look to become the fifth straight point guard to win Rookie of the Year, following Malcolm Brogdon, Ben Simmons, Luka Doncic and Ja Morant.

Beginning with Derrick Rose in 2009, nine of the last 12 Rookie of the Year winners have been point guards. Even though Ball, at 6-foot-8, is not a point guard in the traditional sense (like Doncic), he’ll have the ball in his hands often.

Here are the players with odds better than +2000 at DraftKings:

RookieOdds
LaMelo Ball+400
Anthony Edwards+450
Obi Toppin+600
James Wiseman+600
Killian Hayes+700
Deni Avdija+1400
Tyrese Haliburton+600
Onyeka Okongwu+1600
Isaac Okoro+1600

Odds current as of publication; find and compare the latest NBA Rookie of the Year odds here

Other NBA Rookie of the Year Contenders

The Minnesota Timberwolves are no stranger to NBA Rookie of the Year winners, and No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards will look to join Andrew Wiggins (2015) and teammate Karl-Anthony Towns (2016) in that club. The Georgia shooting guard has +450 odds to win, and there’s no denying his scoring prowess and athleticism that will make him a potential winner. Also working in his favor is his top-pick status: Of the last 12 Rookie of the Year winners, six were No. 1 picks.

There’s an argument that James Wiseman, the No. 2 pick on Wednesday, is the most talented player in this year’s draft class, and playing for a star-studded Warriors team should have him in the national spotlight more than any rookie in this class. Wiseman’s +600 odds are third behind Ball and Edwards, and he’s looking to become just the second center since 2006 to win the award (Towns).

NBA ROY 2021 Longshots

The New Orleans Pelicans shipped Jrue Holiday to the Bucks, opening up nearly 35 minutes per game at point guard. And though Eric Bledsoe came back in the deal, there should be immediate minutes for point guard Kira Lewis to rack up numbers. The No. 13 pick’s +3300 odds feel like good value playing for an up-tempo Pelicans offense with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

Looking for an ultimate longshot? 76ers rookie point guard Tyrese Maxey currently stands at +6000. If the 76ers trade Ben Simmons – unlikely, but never say never with a new head coach (Doc Rivers) and president of basketball ops (Daryl Morey) – Maxey would step into a significant role.