NBA 2021-22 Rookie of the Year Odds and Analysis

NBA 2021-22 Rookie of the Year Odds and Analysis

With the NBA regular season getting underway, let’s take a look at the Rookie of the Year futures market. I’ve compiled a group of players that could be in contention to win the award. Since we’ll be investing in each player, I’ve given each a buy, hold, or pass recommendation based on their chances of winning the award.

Best Odds to Win

  • Jalen Green +210
  • Cade Cunningham +300
  • Jalen Suggs +700
  • Josh Giddey + 1600
  • James Bouknight +2500
  • Nah’Shon Hyland +7000

FanDuel Sportsbook has odds on up to 33 NBA players to win Rookie of the Year. I’m impressed with this year’s crop because it’s got a little bit of everything with foreign players from 15 different countries, an Australian selected in the top-10, and the first player chosen from the inaugural G-League Ignite developmental team. The NBA continues to do a tremendous job identifying talent across the globe, but only one will win the prestigious award.

It’s time to break it all down.

Jalen Green +210

Recommendation: Buy 

Green has the shortest odds to win the award, but it only takes a few minutes of watching him with the ball in his hands to understand why. Green bypassed the NCAA and signed on to play with the Ignite of the G-League. There, he led his team with an average of 17.9 points per game. He was a clear standout in the NBA’s summer league, where he averaged 20.3 points and displayed an impressive perimeter touch shooting 52.6% from the three-point line.

Though he only played three games, he still showed a ton of confidence in constantly looking for his shot. Green’s a stylish silky player who’s very easy on the eyes at six feet, six inches. The Rockets might be a young team, but they figure to be a very entertaining group with a backcourt pairing of Green and second-year player Kevin Porter Jr. All signs point to Green being a starter on the team, which should give him ample opportunity to put up impressive numbers.

Cade Cunningham +310

Recommendation: Pass

Although Cunningham was selected first overall, his chance to win this award might be affected by how bad this Pistons roster is. The thing with Cunningham is that you don’t exactly see his brilliance straightaway because he does so much more than just scoring the basketball. Cunningham’s essentially a small forward playing as a point guard. He’s a great ball-handler, and his size also helps him to be a good rebounder. Cunningham averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in his only season at Oklahoma State.

In the summer league, he averaged 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. However, he was held out of preseason due to a right ankle injury, and that’s enough for me to be somewhat bearish on him heading into the regular season.

Jalen Suggs +700

Recommendation: Hold

Suggs played just one season at Gonzaga, and you could tell from his first game that he had the quality to play at the next level. The Minnesota native was the complete package as he averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. Who can forget the half-court shot he hit almost effortlessly to send the Bulldogs into the National Championship game.

Suggs missed Orlando’s final summer league game in the preseason finale with a thumb injury and an undisclosed illness. Those injuries might have affected his play as he averaged just five points, 3.7 rebounds, and three assists after 15.3 points, 6.3 assists, and 2.3 rebounds during the summer league. Availability is critical to winning this award, and this rash of absences concerns me enough to not want to back him in this spot.

Josh Giddey +1600

Recommendation: Buy

I’m a sucker for international players — particularly those who come to the NBA after already playing professional basketball against grown men abroad. Giddey ticks all those boxes and has the quality to wow Oklahoma City fans with his ability to handle and dish the basketball as a player of his size. At six feet, eight inches, he averaged 13.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in 28.9 minutes per game during the preseason.

If I could compare him to a current player in the league, I’d say he’s a combination of Ben Simmons and Luka Doncic. He’ll walk right into the Thunder lineup with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort. OKC should be an exciting team to watch, and with Giddey getting every opportunity to play, he should draw the voters’ interest for this award.

James Bouknight +2500

Recommendation: Buy

Can the Charlotte Hornets have back-to-back Rookie of the Year Award winners? A player on a team won the award in 2016 with Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves. And before that, you’d have to go back to 1974 with Ernie Digregorio and the Buffalo Braves for the last time that occurred. There have been three instances in NBA history when a player on the same team won the award in consecutive years. The issue here with Bouknight is whether he will get enough minutes on the court to put up the kind of numbers to be in contention. One thing we know about Bouknight is that he’s a volume shooter.

It doesn’t take him long to get cooking as he averaged 15.8 points in 23.8 minutes during four preseason games. He figures to be part of the rotation, and the Hornets could be playing in meaningful games down the stretch if they’re able to build off last season’s playoff play-in game. We know this is something voters can prioritize, and with his odds at +2500, it’s simply too good to pass up.

Nah’Shon Hyland +7000

Recommendation: Buy

If not for his play on the court, Hyland could become an NBA favorite, but his nickname “Bones,” which he affectionately acquired for his slender build. At six feet, three inches, he reminds me of a current NBA player who went on to win the ROY award. That player is none other than Ja Morant, the same height as Hyland and essentially the same weight at 174 lbs. Like Morant, Hyland played his college ball at a mid-major school. He averaged 19.5 points at VCU, then averaged 19.75 points with 4.75 assists during the summer league.

In the preseason, he averaged 15.2 points with 4.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds while playing 27.8 minutes per game. The Denver Nuggets are going all-in to try to win an NBA Championship. However, they struggled last year when guard Jamal Murray went down with an ACL injury in April. If Hyland can produce on the court, I don’t see the Nuggets holding him back or limiting his minutes. He could be a game-changer for a Denver team with high aspirations. He was a savvy selection in the first round, and I love his value at +7000.