NBA Rookie of the Year Odds and Betting Predictions
by Matt Severance - 04/08/2009
With the NBA's regular season set to conclude on April 15, it's time to start thinking about the Association's 2008-09 awards. You can check back at Doc's soon for MVP, Coach of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year stories, etc., but we'll start with the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy, which goes to the NBA's Rookie of the Year. The trophy, if you were wondering, is named in honor of the former Philadelphia Warriors coach and owner. I didn't know that …
BetEd lists seven current candidates for NBA Rookie of the Year with odds: Derrick Rose (-1200), O.J. Mayo (+150), Russell Westbrook (+350), Brook Lopez (+2000), Michael Beasley (+5000), Greg Oden (+9000) and Marc Gasol (+9000).
Let's breakdown each guy with some NBA Rookie of the Year predictions, from the longshots to the favorite, although this race isn't much of one behind Rose.
--Oden, Trail Blazers: Despite the fact he appears to be in his mid-40s, and was drafted in 2007, Oden is indeed a rookie. But he has had what only can be considered a disappointing year, mostly due to injuries. The former Ohio State big man has missed 21 games with various injuries, which no doubt is causing Blazer fans to think he might be the second-coming of Sam Bowie and that the team should have taken Kevin Durant instead. Maybe he will still evolve into a mini-Bill Russell, but he has to stay on the floor. At least he will be one of the three rookies on this list to reach the postseason, but he hasn't played more than 30 minutes in a game since January.
--Gasol, Grizzlies: If Gasol wasn't in Memphis and wasn't from Spain, he might have a lot more run as a top rookie candidate and certainly better odds. He might well be the most surprising rookie of this class, as Pau's brother is averaging 11.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. His emergence makes the trade of his brother to the Lakers a little less-lopsided - Marc Gasol was one of the pieces that went back to Memphis, and definitely the best one now.
--Beasley, Heat: The former Kansas State star can put up 20 points as easily as allow 20 to the opposing power forward. And averaging just over five rebounds a game won't cut it at that position. You'd have to say Beasley was a bit disappointing this year, especially on defense, but he probably will be a 20-point-a-night guy in the league within a year or two.
--Lopez, Nets: True centers just don't win the Rookie of the Year Award, with the last being Shaquille O'Neal in 1993 (Emeka Okafor, Tim Duncan and Amare Stoudemire are not full-time centers). And even Lopez says he would vote for Rose. But Lopez probably has been the best value pick from the 2008 draft, as he was No. 10 overall and is averaging 13 points (shooting better than 53 percent) and 7.9 rebounds a game. Lopez will get some votes for Rookie of the Year. He won't win it but might finish second and will be one of the best centers in the East for some time.
--Westbrook, Thunder: A lot of people thought the then-Sonics reached when they took the UCLA guard No. 4 overall. But he has proven to be a future star and a nice piece along with Jeff Green and 2007 Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant on an up-and-coming team.
--Mayo, Grizzlies: He will end up as the top rookie scorer in this class, and he moved to the top of the rookie rankings on sites such as ESPN in February after averaging 19.7 ppg that month, but he has fallen back. Mayo is a points machine but must improve his shooting percentage and stop turning the ball over. But with Mayo and Gasol, Memphis has the best overall rookie class of 2008-09.
--Rose, Bulls: Folks, the award is a lock to be his unless somehow the Bulls stage a colossal collapse in the final week and miss the playoffs. The Chicago native is the only rookie playing truly meaningful minutes on a playoff team, and he leads all rookies in assists and is second to Mayo in scoring. Rose also has taken over as the leader of his team and is shooting pretty well from the field (47 percent). He still doesn't have three-point range, and coach Vinny Del Negro has taken him out for defensive purposes in a few games, but Rose will become the first Eastern Conference player to win Rookie of the Year since Okafor in 2004-05 and first Bull since Elton Brand in 1999-2000.