Each NBA season brings new excitement to fans. With less than three months until the start of the season, it’s time to make some early predictions.
The 2022 draft saw some big names enter the league. These players came from Duke, Gonzaga, Arizona and other NCAA basketball powerhouses.
Despite the number of new talents entering the league, there can only be one winner of the Rookie of the Year award. It’s going to be a tough race, but here are the three newcomers, in no particular order, who are poised to win it.
#1: Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings
Power forward Keegan Murray was drafted fourth by the Sacramento Kings.
Murray had an impressive career in Iowa, where he played for two years. He played 66 games for the Hawkeyes and averaged 23.5 points per game in his sophomore season. His career high was 37 points against Nebreska.
Murray played his first summer league game on July 2. He had an impressive outing against the Golden State Warriors, scoring 26 points and recording eight rebounds. He was named Summer League MVP due to his impressive shooting. Murray went 50% from his shots and 40% from deep, averaging 23 points per game.
#2: Jabari Smith Jr., Houston Rockets
Jabari Smith Jr. was selected third in the draft by the Houston Rockets. He played for the Auburn Tigers. He made a lasting impact in one season with the Tigers, being named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year.
The power forward recorded 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Although he is relatively inexperienced, his impressive 3-point shot could win him the ROTY trophy.
#3: Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic
Paolo Banchero was the first draft selection. The Orlando Magic, which went 22-60 last season, picked the power forward in hopes he would spark a turnaround for the franchise.
Banchero only played one season with Duke. Under legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, Banchero took Duke to the Final Four.
Although he wasn’t the only reason for Duke’s success, he was a big contributor. Banchero averaged 17.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 3.2 apg as the Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year.
Rookie of the Year Odds
While these three are likely to win Rookie of the Year, they don’t necessarily have the best chance. Here are the current betting lines for rookies:
Paolo Banchero (+330)
Chet Holmgren (+420)
Kegan Murray (+650)
Jabari Smith Jr. (+700)
Jaden Ivey (+800)
Benoit Mathurin (+1200)
Odds provided by FanDuel.
Q. Will Paolo Banchero win NBA ROTY?
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