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Updated look at NBA Rookie of the Year race at All-Star break

We take a look at the favorite to win Rookie of the Year, along with other contenders and possible value plays after the All-Star break.

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers and Evan Mobley #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers embrace after the game on February 12, 2022 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA Rookie of the Year race isn’t as exciting as last year between LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards. The Charlotte Hornets guard was able to return in time to put a stamp on his case. Edwards wasn’t too far behind him and is looking like a future All-Star anyway. In 2022, we see the race shaping out to be a landslide in favor of one particular player. Let’s take a look at the Rookie of the Year race at the All-Star break.

Rookie of the Year 2021-22 odds at All-Star break

As you can see, Cleveland Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley is the heavy favorite to win Rookie of the Year. It’s not so much what he’s done individually, but how his impact has helped the Cavaliers become playoff contenders again. Chances are no one will take the Cavaliers seriously despite entering the break as the 4-seed in the East at 35-23. Mobley’s contributions on both sides of the ball are the reason why he’s -500 on DKSB.

The race isn’t completely over. The issue with Cade Cunningham is he’s on a bad team. Cunningham won’t play meaningful minutes until at least 2022-23. Cunningham is also pretty inefficient and isn’t lighting up box scores.

Toronto Raptors F Scottie Barnes was once the favorite to win before falling out of favor. Like Cunningham, Barnes hasn’t had the most efficient season. The difference is Barnes is making a big impact on a team likely to make the postseason. He’s not completely out of the race but his path would be complicated. Mobley would have the falter while the Cavs drop in the standings. Barnes would need to elevate his game again and help Toronto jump into at least the top 6 in the standings. Even then, it may not be enough this late in the season.

As for long-shot bets, Josh Giddey has gotten a ton of hype. It may be too little, too late. Giddey is also similar to Cunningham in that he’s playing meaningless basketball. The difference is Giddey is looking like the best rookie at the moment. In February before the break, Giddey was averaging 16 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds over 9 games, including three straight triple-doubles his past three games. If Giddey keeps this up, at 11/1 he’s the player I’d be throwing some money on before play starts back up.

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