It comes as a surprise that oddsmakers are giving Brandon Ingram just the 3rd best odds to take home NBA Rookie of the Year. However, the 2nd overall pick of the Los Angeles Lakers firmly believes he can do it.
Recently Ingram told L.A. Daily News columnist Mark Medina that winning the award remains on his season goals list. This echoed his draft evening statement that winning the award was on his to-do list heading into his first professional season.
“All rookies want to win rookie of the year.” Ingram told Medina. Continuing to say “That’s something that drives me.”
According to many, the Duke product has the greatest upside potential of any rookie in the league this season. However, most also believe he’s not quite as NBA-ready as Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76’ers 1st overall pick in the June draft.
Odds to Win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award
According to Grizzly Gaming’s Russell Potvin, who is in charge of sports betting for Canadian players, Simmons is the +150 favorite to win the 2016-17 award. Odds on him winning were as high as +250 just a few weeks ago. This while Ingram’s odds have fallen from +400 to +700 during that same span.
“Simmonds opened as the favorite and will likely close as the favorite.” said Potvin, a sportsbook executive who has worked in sports betting for over 15 years.
According to Potvin, the 5th overall pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves Kris Dunn has moved past Ingram at +600. He is followed by Ingram at +700, Joel Embiid at +900, and Buddy Hield at +1500.
Embiid who was the 76’ers 1st round pick in 2014, is probably the biggest question mark coming into the season. A string of injuries has kept him from making his NBA debut but recently posted Instagram videos of him have been released. These videos seem to show that his health issues are behind him, making him an interesting betting option.
As far as long shots, the Chicago Bulls Denzel Valentine is the player who turned the most heads at the NBA Summer League. While it will be tough for the former Michigan State Spartan to outshine marquee players like Simmons, Ingram, Dunn, Embiid, and Hield, his +2000 odds make him a strong value bet.
Back to Brandon Ingram
At just 19 years old Ingram is set to be the second-youngest rookie in the NBA behind Dragan Bender. The age difference gives Simmons (20), and particularly Dunn, Hield, and Embiid (all 22 years old at the time of this writing) distinct advantages both physically and perhaps mentally over Ingram.
Additionally, there is a lot of opinions that Ingram will be playing behind Luol Deng. The recently acquired Deng is probably Laker’s best player right now. The conventional wisdom is that having Ingram come off the bench is the best thing for both him and the team long-term. In doing that, he’ll get to learn from Deng, and be insulated from the task of taking on the most difficult defensive assignments.
Ingram’s age and projected playing time are not exactly conducive to his Rookie of the Year aspirations. Combined they are probably a strong enough reason to make him not worth betting on. However, that shouldn’t stop Lakers fans from pulling for his success this fall.