2012-2013 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds and Predictions: Favorites, Dark Horses and Sleepers to Win NBA ROY: Perhaps more so than in any other sport, a rookie can make a quick and significant impact in the NBA. Granted, not every rookie has the franchise-changing potential of LeBron James or Derrick Rose, but many first-year players are asked to carry a heavy load sooner rather than later. With the 2012-13 NBA season fast approaching, a new crop of rookies is set to take the court. When trying to figure out who will emerge from the class and win the Rookie of the Year Award, history suggests sticking with the top 10 picks. The last 26 winners have been drafted in the top 10, and only three players have ever won the award after being drafted outside the top 10. Not to mention the fact that three of the last four winners have been the No. 1 overall pick, including two straight. With that in mind, here is a look at the top candidates for this year’s NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
2012-2013 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds, Picks and Predictions
Fresh off a national title, a gold medal and plenty of awards at the collegiate level, center/power forward Anthony Davis will try to add the Rookie of the Year Award to his trophy case. The No. overall pick of the New Orleans Hornets has a freakish skill set, and while his offensive game is still developing, his defensive impact is undeniable. Davis will instantly become the top interior defender and rebounder for a Hornets’ team thin in the middle, and he should flirt with averaging a double-double as a rookie. If he also continues to block shots at a torrid pace like he did in college, Davis won’t need a gaudy points per game average to be named the league’s top rookie.
Playing at Weber State, Damian Lillard was a name that not every college basketball fan knew. He will quickly change that with NBA fans when he becomes the Portland Trailblazers starting point guard this season. Lillard has an explosive offensive game, and he can beat defenses with his perimeter and mid-range game or drive to the hoop and get to the foul line. He was knocked a bit for being a shoot-first point guard, but with LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum among his teammates in Portland, Lillard will have by far the best supporting cast of his career. He could lead all rookies in scoring this season, and if he backs that with a solid assist total, the Rookie of the Year Award could be his to lose.
The Dark Horses
The Washington Wizards needed a shooting guard to complement point guard John Wall, and they landed a great one in Bradley Beal. The former Florida Gator is an excellent pure shooter, and his perimeter ability has been likened to that of Ray Allen. More importantly, Beal was an excellent rebounder from the shooting guard spot in college, he is comfortable with the ball in his hands, and he cares on the defensive end. With his ability to stuff the stat sheet, his upside compares to that of a Dwyane Wade with a better jumper but without the slashing ability. Still, if Beal posts numbers in the neighborhood of 15 points, five rebounds and five assists as a rookie, he could sneak up and snatch top honors.
From a physical standpoint, shooting guard Terrence Ross is as impressive as any player in the NBA. The Toronto Raptors drafted Ross to become the perimeter weapon they have been lacking, and while he has the smooth stroke and range to do that, he is more than just a jump shooter. Ross is 6’7” and can jump out of the gym. While he may need to work on a back-to-the-basket game, Ross is already capable of scoring in transition and finishing around the rim. More importantly, he can use his size and shooting ability to create his own shot on offense, which is something the Raptors desperately need. Ross’ game is a little one-dimensional at his point, but if he leads all rookies in scoring by a sizeable margin, it could still be enough to win him top honors.
While he was actually drafted two years ago, center Jonas Valanciunas had to spend a year overseas before he was eligible to join the Raptors. Well, the Raptors will have their 7’0” big man, and he should make an immediate impression. Valanciunas is a hard-nosed player that loves to rebound and block shots. As a result, he should be able to carve out some serious playing time in a Toronto frontcourt crowded with score-first bigs. Valanciunas isn’t inept on offense himself by any means, and he is actually extremely athletic for his size. As long as he finds his way to enough minutes, he could end up being the leading rookie rebounder and shot blocker and stealing the Rookie of the Year Award from the frontrunners.
Cleveland shocked a lot of experts by drafting shooting guard Dion Waiters with the No. 4 pick, and while the Cavaliers may have reached a bit, it doesn’t mean he can’t win the Rookie of the Year Award. For one, Waiters will be playing alongside Kyrie Irving, who is a star in the making at the point guard spot. Waiters is an excellent ball handler in his own right, and with the Irving drawing opponents’ best perimeter defender each night, Waiters will have his chances to score. At his best, he is the type of player that can score from the perimeter and get to the basket, and he is a strong defender, as well. If his jump shot remains consistent during the season, Waiters could put up the all-around numbers he needs to join follow in Irving’s footsteps and win the Rookie of the Year Award.
2012-13 Odds to Win NBA Rookie of the Year Award
1501 Andre Drummond +2500
1502 Andrew Nicholson +2500
1503 Anthony Davis +175
1504 Austin Rivers +2000
1505 Bradley Beal +1000
1506 Damian Lillard +250
1507 Dion Waiters +1800
1508 Harrison Barnes +1200
1509 Jared Sullinger +1800
1510 Jeremy Lamb +1000
1511 John Henson +1800
1512 John Jenkins +2500
1513 Kendall Marshall +1500
1514 Marquis Teague +1800
1515 Maurice Harkless +2200
1516 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist +650
1517 Meyers Leonard +3000
1518 Royce White +1500
1519 Terrence Ross +2000
1520 Thomas Robinson +1000
1521 Tyler Zeller +2200
1522 Field +800
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