- Doncic still the favorite for 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year
- Summer league play moves the odds board
- No. 1 DeAndre Ayton lurks as top ROTY challenger
It’s funny, after watching the top NBA prospects duke it out at Summer League, the consensus is that the guy who didn’t play is still the favorite.
But that’s not a shot against this bumper crop of rooks, who mainly flashed immense potential – and will, of course, only get better. It’s a nod to the body of work of one of the most NBA-ready rookies to hit the league in a long time.
So while things change, some things remain the same. We told you back in June that it was Luka’s world. As we close in on September, he’s still comfortably on top.
Let’s take a look at the updated odds.
Odds to Win 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year
|Luka Doncic||Dallas Mavericks||7/3|
|Deandre Ayton||Phoenix Suns||3/1|
|Collin Sexton||Cleveland Cavaliers||7/1|
|Kevin Knox||New York Knicks||10/1|
|Wendell Carter||Chicago Bulls||12/1|
|Marvin Bagley III||Sacramento Kings||15/1|
|Trae Young||Atlanta Hawks||25/1|
|Mikal Bridges||Phoenix Suns||99/1|
|Mo Bamba||Orlando Magic||99/1|
Stop hating on Doncic because he’s European
Has some saltiness emerged with so many pundits essentially locking in Doncic for ROTY? All you need to do is look at this survey of the incoming class of NBA rookies compiled by NBA.com – asking who they believe will have the best career.
Luka Doncic has ALREADY had a better career than many of these guys will ever have, and yet didn't get a vote. What a world. https://t.co/nR1j4wjkbc
— Mark Deeks (@MarkDeeksNBA) August 21, 2018
Adding to that, it’s likely Michael Porter Jr. skipped the social media session at rookie camp, because a simple thumbs up has him in the spotlight too.
Michael Porter Jr. liked an Instagram comment saying that Luka Doncic is 'overrated'… pic.twitter.com/5fF2P4XkK6
— theleaguesource (@theleaguesource) August 9, 2018
Porter, of all people, should know that the shade is not fun. He nearly dropped out of the lottery altogether as people picked his injury-plagued college career apart, and continue to question his health as he skipped Summer League.
It doesn’t matter what is said or perceived of Doncic: we have the footage. This isn’t Summer League with up and comers and scruffs trying to nab a training camp invite. These are grown professional men, and he’s putting them in the spin cycle.
This Luka Doncic double ankle breaker is one of the filthiest things you will ever see: pic.twitter.com/pcCWz0eBwo
— Jake Paynting (@jakepaynting) August 20, 2018
That survey also wildly voted Trae Young as the best playmaker, hauling in 35% of the vote. This guy right here, he got 9%.
Don’t be fooled. He is going to be a dandy. The hype for this one, is pretty real.
Ayton is the only rookie on Doncic’s level
Meanwhile Ayton looked every bit of the modern NBA center the Suns were expecting when they drafted him first overall. He’s athletic as hell, defends like a beast, and gobbles up everything at the rim.
Situation matters too. Ayton is going to be surrounded by a young, but talented group of wing players, shot creators and shot takers.
If the plan is to funnel drives into Ayton on the defensive side, then find him lurking around the rim for finishes on penetration that breaks down the D, then Phoenix has got itself a gem right that will only continue to shine as he matures.
If Doncic struggles any, Ayton has the potential to put together a monster year and sneak in for the rookie honors.
If Doncic struggles any, Ayton has the potential to put together a monster year (think 17ppg, 11.5rpg and 3.0bpg on 60% from the field and 35% from three) and sneak in for the rookie honors.
Sexton, Knox, and Carter use Summer League to flash potential
Collin Sexton showed a super motor and played without the burden of expectations for the Cavaliers – which is the right mindset, considering no one is expecting much from them after LeBron bolted to the Lakers.
He’s still raw, but he competes defensively and can seemingly find his way to the rim at will. That jumper is shaky, at best, but he’s going to get his reps in, and a veteran like George Hill should help him nicely. He makes the leap up our board as a darkhorse.
Knicks fans must have been salivating as Kevin Knox showcased a diversified set of skills that, when put next to Kristaps Porzingis, make him an ideal wing man, giving New York a potentially great 1-2 punch to build on.
And Wendell Carter Jr. showed he is an immediate plug and play guy into the Bulls’ rotation right now. While Carter profiled as a low-ceiling pick, a working man’s Marvin Bagley, he didn’t exactly have the offensive repertoire to get teams and scouts giddy.
But he does have a great foundation, and slots into a could-be profile of say, an Al Horford, with more hops. That’s not too shabby.
Trae Young takes a tumble in ROY odds
Young, voted best shooter of the class, struggled mightily to start Summer League before a couple of better games later on. Obviously, it’s Summer League, but that volatility of play is likely an indicator of what you’re going to see going forward.
He does have a great shot, but he’s a smaller player with a smaller frame, and you’re going to see that take a toll during the season. It’s also just terrible that, unless he turns into a megastar, he’s always going to be known as the guy that got traded for Doncic – unless, you think Doncic is the one who flops.
2019 NBA Rookie of the Year Betting Advice
I’m all in on Doncic. But I wouldn’t blame you if you went Sexton, or, for a longer shot, Young.
They are going to get a ton of minutes and opportunity with the ball in their hands. Fortunately, this isn’t an MVP race, so winning doesn’t matter. And no matter what rookie you want to lay capital on, they’re likely to see a lot of losing.