James Wiseman NBA Rookie of the Year Favorite After Hot Start
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James Wiseman found himself in a unique position as a top pick joining a Warriors team just one year removed from an NBA Finals appearance. The second overall pick was immediately thrown into the fire for a Golden State group playing without Klay Thompson (Achilles) and Draymond Green (foot), and the results were so promising that just three games in, the Memphis product is now the favorite in the latest NBA Rookie of the Year odds.
Wiseman began the season with +600 odds to win the award in NBA futures markets, trailing LaMelo Ball (+400) and top pick Anthony Edwards (+450), and tied with 22-year-old Obi Toppin. With three games under his belt, the odds have shifted significantly, and the 19-year-old center now leads the way with odds as low as +250 at some sports betting sites.
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Why Wiseman Rookie of the Year Odds Shortened
This crop of NBA rookies had just two months between draft night and their first NBA game. Wiseman was in an even more difficult spot considering he departed Memphis in early November, meaning he went more than 13 months between live game action.
But he didn’t skip a beat, racking up 13 points and 7 rebounds in 25 minutes against the Nets. He followed that up on Christmas with a promising 18-point, 8-rebound effort against the Bucks. He has been plagued by foul trouble with 10 fouls in 72 minutes, but when he’s been able to stay on the floor, the results have been promising. Steve Kerr trusts his rookie center and has been public about the confidence he has in him.
Steve Kerr on James Wiseman: "He's clearly the focal point of the future of how we're building this team with Steph, Klay, Draymond. I can now throw James in there."— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 26, 2020
No other Rookie of the Year contender is playing with the kind of talent Wiseman has in teammates Steph Curry and Green, and playing for Kerr should also give him a leg up compared to other rookies playing for inexperienced, Lottery-bound teams.
The Warriors will be mainstays on national TV, so Wiseman will be in the spotlight plenty as his rookie season moves along. His odds are as short at +220 on Bet MGM, but you can still find value as high as +300 on FOX Bet.
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What Makes Wiseman a Good NBA Rookie of the Year Bet Now
As if the minutes he’s already logging on what should be a playoff contender, Wiseman’s rookie outlook improved after teammate Marquese Chriss suffered a broken leg in practice on Sunday. Prior to the injury, Kerr mentioned that Wiseman’s minutes would be getting a “bump up,” but the rookie may be tasked with taking on some of Chriss’ 13.5 minutes per game. If Wiseman can stay out of foul trouble, he could approach the 30-minute mark moving forward.
The additional minutes should mean more scoring opportunities for Wiseman, who in a small three-game sample size is shooting 47% from the field and has made 5 of his 6 3-point attempts. His 4.7 free throw attempts per game are also a positive sign of his aggressive mentality that should lead to more points.
And that’s good news as far as his Rookie of the Year consideration is concerned: 21 of the last 30 Rookie of the Year winners led their draft class in points per game, six others finished second, and the other four were third. Wiseman (14.7 points) should battle top pick Anthony Edwards (16.0 points) for the rookie scoring title. The next closest qualified rookies in points per game are Chicago’s Patrick Williams (10.3) and Sacramento’s Tyrese Haliburton (9.7).
Also working in Wiseman’s favor is that 20 of the last 30 Rookie of the Year winners were drafted either first or second overall.