NBA Betting: 2009-10 Rookie of the Year Predictions
by Matt Severance - 10/20/2009
The NBA season begins a week from today, so the NBA futures props are coming out in force at various books. Today, I'm going to break down the preseason frontrunners for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. All odds are courtesy of WagerWeb - here are the site's top five betting favorites:
Blake Griffin, Clippers (+100): Most experts called this past draft a one-man show, and that was in reference to Griffin, the former Oklahoma Sooner star and National Player of the Year last season. Griffin is a terrific athlete and already one of the best dunkers in the Association. But his game definitely needs some work, as he rarely strayed far from the basket while with the Sooners.
He'll need to work on a mid-range jumper and some post moves because he can't simply overpower people in the NBA as he did in college. Griffin certainly should be the leading rebounder among the rookie class. If Baron Davis stays healthy this season, that would significantly help Griffin's scoring numbers as he can finish on the break as well as anyone. I'd look for something like 12 points and eight rebounds a game averages for Griffin. But at such short odds to be named Rookie of the Year, it's probably not worth your betting time.
Stephen Curry, Warriors (+500): I'd say Curry is the best betting value on the board. The Warriors will play at a fast pace, so it's not out of the question that Curry averages something close to 15 points a game this season. In a way, he has more name value than Griffin does, and don't rule that out as a factor. But the dysfunction on this team could drag Curry down. Monta Ellis has said he doesn't think he can play alongside the rookie, and Stephen Jackson has demanded a trade. Plus, Curry could be torched on the defensive end (he was by fellow rookie Tyreke Evans in a few matchups), and he has struggled with his shot in the preseason, hitting barely more than 30 percent from the field.
Jonny Flynn, Timberwolves (+650): Flynn's value obviously rose once it was made official that fellow rookie point guard Ricky Rubio wasn't coming to Minnesota this year. However, Flynn might not begin the season as a starter - Ramon Sessions could be the Timberwolves' point guard. At worse, those two will steal minutes from each other. Minnesota is going to be real bad, so Flynn won't get much ROY support.
Tyreke Evans, Kings (+650): This guy could eventually be the best player in this draft. Evans has thoroughly outplayed Curry when they went head-to-head in the summer league and a preseason game. The Kings are perhaps the worst team in the NBA, so Evans will play a ton of minutes. In fact, through the team's first three preseason games, Evans was averaging 13 points, 5.0 assists and 5.7 rebounds while playing 33.3 minutes per game, second most in the league. He turns the ball over a ton and isn't a great shooter, but he could put up numbers similar to those all season. But, much like with Flynn at Minnesota, his team's lousiness will hurt his ROY hopes.
James Harden, Thunder (+800): Harden can score in bunches, and the Thunder could be a surprise this season. But it's unlikely Harden sees enough minutes to put up the numbers needed to win ROY - he currently is behind Thabo Sefolosha at shooting guard. Plus, how much will Harden even see the ball with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the floor?
If you are looking for the best long-shot bet for Rookie of the Year on WagerWeb, I would suggest San Antonio's DeJuan Blair, who is +1800. In the Spurs' first three preseason games, the second-round pick led the team in scoring and rebounding averages. In his preseason debut, Blair had 19 rebounds against the Rockets. The one issue with him is that he has veterans Antonio McDyess and Theo Ratliff stealing minutes at his position. But the Spurs, as usual, will be a contender and on national TV a lot, and both could help Blair's cause.
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