Although the odds vary by book, the consensus favorites for NBA Rookie of the Year at this time are Luka Doncic and Deandre Ayton. Both have started their NBA careers in a positive way. Doncic sits as the current favorite at most books in the range of Even Money to +200. Ayton is close behind roughly in the +180 to +300 range. However, if you are looking to take a shot at some upside, two players merit consideration at this time.
The first is Marvin Bagley III. Bagley is by no means a sleeper as he was the second pick of the draft and highly touted as a One and Done Freshman as he departed Duke. However, due to his lack of production in the early part of the season and the fact that he is not a starter, the line has ticked up at many books. We have seen the range from +800 to as high as +2000. At +2000 (a 20-1 proposition), Bagley is certainly worth a look. Over the last few games his minutes have steadily increased and his production has been incrementally getting better. Many considered him to be the best prospect of this draft and with additional looks, his production will continue to improve. It is also relevant that the Kings play a fast paced game, pushing the ball up the court, and Bagley thrives running the floor. If you can get anywhere north of 12-1 on Bagley at this time, it is worth a wager.
The other intriguing prospect is Shae-Gilgeous Alexander. SGA is quietly becoming an effective leader for the Los Angeles Clippers and unlike some of the other candidates for Rookie of the Year, SGA is highly likely to be playing in meaningful regular season games as the Clippers are a likely playoff team. Although the Kings have played above expectations, it is unclear whether they will sustain that bid. Our guess is the Kings will slowly fall out of the playoff picture. However, quality games, including those on national television for the Clippers can increase SGA’s exposure. His recent points and assist numbers are slowly rising and he is gaining considerably more comfort and confidence. At +3000 (a 30-1 proposition) or better at most books, it is worth taking a shot on SGA.
Stay tuned for more opportunities this NBA season.