The Rookie of the Year was cut short before the season started when No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren suffered a foot injury that will cost him the entire 2022-23 season.
That left Paolo Banchero, whom the Magic selected first overall, as the favorite to win it. And although the odds are in his favor, recent history is not.
The last No. 1 pick to win Rookie of the Year was Ben Simmons in 2018, and the first 76er He actually did it a year after he was drafted because he missed his entire freshman season due to injury. Before that, Karl-Anthony Towns went 1.01 in 2016 and earned the hardware with all the pressure that comes with being the top pick. Since then, the winners are Malcolm Brogdon (choice No. 36), Luka Doncic (3), Ja Morad (2), LaMelo Ball (3) and Scottie Barnes (4).
It’s still a blue-blood award—only two winners in the past decade (Brogdon and Michael-Carter Williams) have been picked outside the top 10. But the big odds fall from Banchero to his other five picks in Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray and Jabari Smith is worth noting given recent award trends.
Bet on NBA Rookie of the Year odds at SI Sportsbook
Paolo Banchero +200
Jaden Ivey +450
Keegan Murray +450
Jabari Smith +500
Benedict Mathurin +1000
Shaedon Sharpe +3600
Jalen Williams +3600
Ochai Agbaji +3600
Dyson Daniels +4000
Favorite: Paolo Banchero, Magic (+200)
Banchero had a decorated year in the Duke, capped off with a run to the Final Four, second-team All-American honors and ACC Rookie of the Year honors. He led a Blue Devils team that produced three other 2022 starters in scoring (17.2) and rebounding (7.8) alone. And Banchero, at 6’10”, also showed off his chops as a playmaker and shooter, shooting nearly 34% from deep.
Orlando lacks a true point guard and leading scorer, and while Banchero’s pick doesn’t necessarily help with the opening hole, he can ease out of the starting spot and become a leading scorer on a very young team that’s ripe with lottery talent. Magic expectations are in the gutter – they have the second-lowest projected win total in the East (26.5) and brought Banchero with the No. 1 pick after a 22-60 season. He provides an immediate upgrade to an offense that averaged 104.2 PPG a season ago.
The last three ROY winners have propelled their teams to a play-in or playoff appearance. Banchero has done his job in that regard, but he has the profile to make an overwhelming statistical case, even if that doesn’t immediately translate into team success. Banchero is one of the few first-year pros stepping into a starting job, and unlike some of his counterparts who join teams with one or two established stars, this team will go as it does.
Value Bet: Bennedict Mathurin, Pacers (+1000)
Indiana added a tough, talented scorer with the No. 6 pick in the draft. Mathurin averaged 17.7 PPG for one Arizona team that was a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament and at 6’6″ has great size for a guard, as evidenced by his rebounding in college. He will start the season behind sophomore guard Chris Duarte, but Mathurin can lead the of the Pacers’ second unit and there’s always the possibility Buddy Hield moves, which would open up a starting point.
There isn’t much not to like about Mathurin’s game. He shot better than 38% from three in college on five attempts per game and got to the lane relatively well for a guard. Mathurin was never a true quarterback in Arizona, but he doesn’t need to be in Indiana with franchise cornerstone Tyrese Haliburton running the show and TJ McConnell quarter of the second unit.
The Pacers project to be one of the NBA’s worst teams, which should provide plenty of minutes and opportunities for Mathurin to make an outside case for ROY. He’ll really have to impress as a scorer to get attention on a team with such low expectations, especially in a situation where he’ll have to fight for minutes and a starting spot. Mathurin has some work to do, but his preseason showings have been encouraging and he shows value at twice the upside of the players ahead of him in the draft.
Long Shot: Jalen Duren, Pistons (+6500)
Detroit was determined to add Duren immediately after drafting Ivey with a top-five pick. The Pistons sent the Knicks a future pick for the rights to the former Memphis center, who New York he was selected with the 13th pick and the team also agreed to take over Kemba Walkerof the contract, which was subsequently bought out.
Duren joined a franchise with a loaded frontcourt that has thinned out considerably as opening night approaches. Marvin Bagley suffered a knee injury in the preseason and will miss the start of the year and Nerlens Noel is still dealing with a foot injury. That leaves third pro Isaiah Stewart and Duren as coach Dwane Casey’s only options at center to open the season.
In a season at Memphis, Duren was a beast on the boards. He caught 8.1 per game for the Tigers (three forwards), took 2.1 shots per game and added 12 PPG on nearly 60% shooting. It will be an uphill battle to earn consistent minutes in a veteran-laden frontcourt when the rest of the centers are healthy, but the Pistons aren’t going anywhere this season and Casey is better off seeing what he has in Duren than relying on veterans to I eat minutes.
BET: Keegan Murray, Kings (+450)
Sacramento he took Murray fourth overall in an obvious win-now move. The 22-year-old rookie had a stellar sophomore season at Iowa as he was one of the nation’s leading scorers averaging 23.4 PPG and added 8.7 rebounds, nearly two blocks and over a steal per game. While Murray was a high-volume player, he was also incredibly efficient with career shooting averages of 54.3% from the field, 37.3% from three, and 74.9% from the stripe.
The downside for Murray is that unlike some of the other top rookies, he’s not the first or even second choice for Sacramento, which has De Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis already in place. Murray’s path to ROY honors will be similar to Barnes, who earned the award by filling the stat sheet on a playoff team despite two All-Stars ahead of him. And it’s hard to overstate the added narrative angle of Murray’s arrival helping the Kings finally end their playoff drought, if they do break through this season.
Get fantasy and betting analysis in your inbox, sign up for the Winners Club newsletter
Check out the latest odds from SI Sportsbook
More betting, fantasy and NBA:
• NBA Eastern Conference O/U
• NBA Western Conference O/U
• NBA Coach of the Year Odds
• NBA most improved player performances
• NBA Sixth Man of the Year Bet Preview
• NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds
• Week 6 Start’ Em, Sit’ Em: WR
• All eyes on Zion