The 2021-21 season is coming down the home stretch, and we’ve seen significant movement in this year’s odds for Rookie of the Year at DraftKings Sportsbook since the All-Star break. Charlotte Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball appeared to be running away with the award before suffering a season-ending wrist injury that required surgery in March, and now a new first-year player has taken command of the race. Let’s go over who has the best chance to take home the hardware.
Minnesota Timberwolves wing Anthony Edwards has become the odds-on favorite at +100. The Georgia product got off to a slow start in the pros, but the knee injury D’Angelo Russell suffered in February and the 12-game suspension Malik Beasley had to serve last month have helped him surge to the top of the heap. Russell is back, but Beasley is out 4-6 weeks due to a hamstring injury. This should allow Edwards to continue to start and play big minutes.
Edwards averaged 24.2 points per game in March and is averaging 22.7 points per contest in April. His scoring could take a hit moving forward that Russell is back in the fold, but Beasley is expected to miss four to six weeks with a hamstring injury. Edwards is far from the most efficient rookie in the league. He’s shooting just 39.4% from the field and 31.3% from deep. However, his raw scoring ability and ability to create show-stopping highlights with his athleticism make it hard for his competition to keep up.
Sacramento Kings G Tyrese Haliburton has the second-best odds at +150 and has been among the frontrunners all year. His averages of 13.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game are impressive considering all the young talent he has to compete with, and he’s very efficient as well. Haliburton is shooting 48.1% from the field and 41.8% from three. Both marks are well above the league average. He also gets the job done on the defensive end and averages 1.2 steals per game. Haliburton has already cemented himself as a go-to closer for the Kings because of his defensive prowess and poise in the clutch, but he might not have enough flash to catch Edwards.
Ball isn’t completely out of the race at +200, but the fact that he may not play another game this season will definitely hurt him. He basically led rookies in all of the most important offensive statistical categories before getting hurt and willed the Hornets into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. None of the other rookies contributed to winning basketball like Ball, but his inability to strengthen his resume could be a major weakness. If Ball is able to return, he could do enough to push himself back to being the favorite by the end of the regular season.
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