2021 NBA Rookie of the Year Predictions, Picks, & Betting Odds
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2021 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook 08 February 2021.
|LaMelo Ball||Charlotte Hornets||-250|
|Tyrese Haliburton||Sacramento Kings||+300|
|Immanuel Quickley||New York Knicks||+800|
|Anthony Edwards||Minnesota Timberwolves||+800|
|James Wiseman||Golden State Warriors||+800|
|Cole Anthony||Orlando Magic||+2000|
|Tyrese Maxey||Philadelphia 76ers||+8000|
|Payton Pritchard||Boston Celtics||+8000|
|Obi Toppin||New York Knicks||+8000|
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For the past two years, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award has been presented at the annual NBA Awards show. Presented by the NBA in partnership with Turner Sports, the NBA Awards were held in late-June after the NBA Playoffs. Initiated in the 1952-1953 season, a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters from across the United States and Canada have decided the winner.
The winner of the 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year Award will be the 68th winner in the league’s history. The award is expected to be presented upon the conclusion of the NBA regular season. Unlike the MVP Award, the Rookie of the Year Award winner’s chances have little to do with their team’s success. Due to this, oddsmakers and sports bettors can look at hard stats as a guide toward the winner.
We’ll be going over the top NBA Rookie of the Year odds and predictions. It’s an exciting award that highlights some of the league’s rising talents and future stars. Many Rookies of the Year award winners have gone on to stellar NBA careers.
First, let’s answer some of the most important questions about the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
Who Is the Favorite to Win Rookie of the Year in 2021?
(G) LaMelo Ball – 6-6, 180lbs (198cm, 81kg) – USA
LAMELO BALL 🔥
Youngest Hornet to ever score 30!
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 6, 2021
Currently rated as the favorite to win the 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, the polarizing LaMelo Ball has been performing brilliantly despite coming off of the bench. Still, a young player with much to learn about running an NBA offense, Ball’s natural skill is shining through despite playing behind veterans Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham.
Ball is a do-it-all type of point guard, posting 12.2 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.9 rebounds through 20 games. His Jason Kidd-Esque production bodes well for his future, as well as his chances for the Rookie of the Year award.
His biggest obstacle to attaining the award will be his role as well as some off-court concerns for the polarizing rookie. As a backup to two solid point guards, Ball sees his minutes fluctuate based on the performance of his seniors. Not to mention the presence of his father Lavar Ball, who has already spoken for him in regards to demanding a trade for a bigger role.
Who Was the 2020 Rookie of the Year?
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 3, 2020
The winner of the 2020 Rookie of the Year award was none other than the Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant. The dynamic point guard was a force in his debut season, outplaying NBA darling Zion Williamson and falling just short of the playoffs via the Play-In Tournament.
Morant led his Memphis Grizzlies to a 34-39 regular-season record. A record that was just 32-32 before the NBA resumed its season in the Orlando bubble.
In terms of voting, Morant won by a landslide with 99 of a possible 100 first-place votes. A single first-place vote for Zion Williamson prevented Morant from joining the would-be six-man group as unanimous Rookie of the Year award winners.
NBA Rookie of the Year by Year
Here is a list of the NBA Rookie of the Year winners by year:
|Year||Player||Nationality||Team||Draft Pick||Draft Year|
|2020||Ja Morant||United States||Memphis Grizzlies||2nd Overall||2019|
|2019||Luka Doncic||Slovenia||Dallas Mavericks||3rd Overall||2018|
|2018||Ben Simmons||Australia||Philadelphia 76ers||1st Overall||2016|
|2017||Malcolm Brogdon||United States||Milwaukee Bucks||36th Overall||2016|
|2016||Karl-Anthony Towns||Dominican Republic||Minnesota Timberwolves||1st Overall||2015|
|2015||Andrew Wiggins||Canada||Minnesota Timberwolves||1st Overall||2014|
|2014||Michael Carter-Williams||United States||Philadelphia 76ers||11th Overall||2013|
|2013||Damian Lillard||United States||Portland Trail Blazers||6th Overall||2012|
|2012||Kyrie Irving||United States||Cleveland Cavaliers||1st Overall||2011|
|2011||Blake Griffin||United States||LA Clippers||1st Overall||2009|
|2010||Tyreke Evans||United States||Sacramento Kings||4th Overall||2009|
|2009||Derrick Rose||United States||Chicago Bulls||1st Overall||2008|
|2008||Kevin Durant||United States||Seattle SuperSonics||2nd Overall||2007|
|2007||Brandon Roy||United States||Portland Trail Blazers||6th Overall||2006|
|2006||Chris Paul||United States||New Orleans/Oklahoma City Thunder||4th Overall||2005|
|2005||Emeka Okafor||United States||Charlotte Bobcats||2nd Overall||2004|
|2004||LeBron James||United States||Cleveland Cavaliers||1st Overall||2003|
|2003||Amar’e Stoudemire||United States||Phoenix Suns||9th Overall||2002|
|2002||Pau Gasol||Spain||Memphis Grizzlies||3rd Overall||2001|
|2001||Mike Miller||United States||Orlando Magic||5th Overall||2000|
|2000||Elton Brand/Steve Francis||United States||Chicago Bulls/Houston Rockets||1st Overall/2nd Overall||1999|
|1999||Vince Carter||United States||Toronto Raptors||5th Overall||1998|
|1998||Tim Duncan||United States||San Antonio Spurs||1st Overall||1997|
|1997||Allen Iverson||United States||Philadelphia 76ers||1st Overall||1996|
|1996||Damon Stoudamire||United States||Toronto Raptors||7th Overall||1995|
|1995||Grant Hill/Jason Kidd||United States||Detroit Pistons/Dallas Mavericks||3rd Overall/2nd Overall||1994|
|1994||Chris Webber||United States||Golden State Warriors||1st Overall||1993|
|1993||Shaquille O’Neal||United States||Orlando Magic||1st Overall||1992|
|1992||Larry Johnson||United States||Charlotte Hornets||1st Overall||1991|
|1991||Derrick Coleman||United States||New Jersey Nets||1st Overall||1990|
|1990||David Robinson||United States||San Antonio Spurs||1st Overall||1987|
|1989||Mitch Richmond||United States||Golden State Warriors||5th Overall||1988|
|1988||Mark Jackson||United States||New York Knicks||18th Overall||1987|
|1987||Chuck Person||United States||Indiana Pacers||4th Overall||1986|
|1986||Patrick Ewing||United States||New York Knicks||1st Overall||1985|
|1985||Michael Jordan||United States||Chicago Bulls||3rd Overall||1984|
|1984||Ralph Sampson||United States||Houston Rockets||1st Overall||1983|
|1983||Terry Cummings||United States||San Diego Clippers||2nd Overall||1982|
|1982||Buck Williams||United States||New Jersey Nets||3rd Overall||1981|
|1981||Darrell Griffith||United States||Utah Jazz||2nd Overall||1980|
|1980||Larry Bird||United States||Boston Celtics||6th Overall||1978|
|1979||Phil Ford||United States||Kansas City Kings||2nd Overall||1978|
|1978||Walter Davis||United States||Phoenix Suns||5th Overall||1977|
|1977||Adrian Dantley||United States||Buffalo Braves||6th Overall||1976|
|1976||Alvan Adams||United States||Phoenix Suns||4th Overall||1975|
|1975||Jamaal Wilkes||United States||Golden State Warriors||11th Overall||1974|
|1974||Ernie DiGregorio||United States||Buffalo Braves||3rd Overall||1973|
|1973||Bob McAdoo||United States||Buffalo Braves||2nd Overall||1972|
|1972||Sidney Wicks||United States||Portland Trail Blazers||2nd Overall||1971|
|1971||Dave Cowens/Geoff Petrie||United States||Boston Celtics/Portland Trail Blazers||4th Overall/8th Overall||1970|
|1970||Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)||United States||Milwaukee Bucks||1st Overall||1969|
|1969||Wes Unseld||United States||Baltimore Bullets||2nd Overall||1968|
|1968||Earl Monroe||United States||Baltimore Bullets||2nd Overall||1967|
|1967||Dave Bing||United States||Detroit Pistons||2nd Overall||1966|
|1966||Rick Barry||United States||San Francisco Warriors||2nd Overall||1965|
|1965||Willis Reed||United States||New York Knicks||8th Overall||1964|
|1964||Jerry Lucas||United States||Cincinnati Royals||Territorial Pick||1962|
|1963||Terry Dischinger||United States||Chicago Zephyrs||8th Overall||1962|
|1962||Walt Bellamy||United States||Chicago Packers||1st Overall||1961|
|1961||Oscar Robertson||United States||Cincinnati Royals||1st Overall/Territorial Pick||1960|
|1960||Wilt Chamberlain||United States||Philadelphia Warriors||Territorial Pick||1959|
|1959||Elgin Baylor||United States||Minneapolis Lakers||1st Overall||1958|
|1958||Woody Sauldsberry||United States||Philadelphia Warriors||60th Overall||1957|
|1957||Tom Heinsohn||United States||Boston Celtics||Territorial Pick||1956|
|1956||Maurice Stokes||United States||Rochester Royals||2nd Overall||1955|
|1955||Bob Pettit||United States||Milwaukee Hawks||2nd Overall||1954|
|1954||Ray Felix||United States||Baltimore Bullets||1st Overall||1953|
|1953||Don Meineke||United States||Fort Wayne Pistons||12th Overall||1952|
Does the NBA Rookie of the Year Receive A Prize?
The winner of the NBA Rookie of the Year award doesn’t receive a prize per se. In recognition of their accomplishment, the winner is awarded the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy – named after the former Philadelphia Warriors coach. In terms of cash incentives or bonuses, there are none.
While rookie-scale contracts have few built-in bonuses like more veteran players, rookies can still earn a bonus by fulfilling certain tasks throughout their season. For example, in 2016 Karl-Anthony Towns earned an additional $50,000 for attending a skills and conditioning camp over the offseason.
In a less direct sense, the Rookie of the Year is generally rewarded with exposure, the opportunity for endorsements, and improved TV distribution for his team. While simple, the truest reward for the Rookie of the Year is having their name etched into NBA history as the best of their class.
Is the NBA Rookie of the Year Determined by Fan Vote?
No, NBA fans do not have an impact on who wins the Rookie of the Year award. Unlike All-Star voting, the Rookie of the Year award is voted upon by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters across the United States and Canada.
Fans votes are reserved for the NBA All-Star Game. Voting for the All-Star Game scales the value of fans to 50%, versus votes by NBA players and media members, which represents 25% each.
The voting process for the Rookie of the Year award is split into three sections. First-place votes, second-place votes, and third-place votes. Each is worth five, three, and one point, respectively. The player with the highest points total is named Rookie of the Year.
Has There Ever Been a Unanimous Rookie of the Year?
With such a deep pool of players and various votes available, seeing a unanimous Rookie of the Year winner doesn’t occur often. In the history of the NBA Rookie of the Year award, there have been five unanimous winners.
- 1983-1984: Ralph Sampson – Houston Rockets
- 1989-1998: David Robinson – San Antonio Spurs
- 2010-2011: Blake Griffin – LA Clippers
- 2012-2013: Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers
- 2015-2016: Karl-Anthony Towns – Minnesota Timberwolves
When Will the NBA Rookie of the Year Winner Be Announced?
In 2020, the NBA Rookie of the Year winner was announced on September 3rd. This ran differently from previous seasons, as the suspended schedule and social distancing protocols forced the NBA to forego their NBA Awards show.
There is no set date for when the 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year will be named. However, with the NBA schedule seemingly set in stone and an estimated playoff schedule in place, you can expect the award winner to be announced after an NBA Champion is crowned.
Who Won the First NBA Rookie of the Year Award?
The first-ever winner of the NBA Rookie of the Year Award was Don Meineke in 1953. Meineke was a 6-7 forward/center out of Dayton, who played for the Fort Wayne Pistons. Meineke led the league in personal fouls (334) and disqualifications (26) in his rookie season.
Despite Meineke being named the first-ever NBA Rookie of the Year, the award was unofficially given by various newspapers and media groups from 1948 to 1952.
The first unofficial winner of the Rookie of the Year award was Paul Hoffman, of the Baltimore Bullets in 1948.
Which Position Wins the Most Rookie of the Year Awards?
Position in the NBA has a fluid definition over the course of NBA history. As times have changed, styles have changed. As such, certain players were highlighted in eras where they wouldn’t have been in others. The positional success of players in relation to the Rookie of the Year award greatly represents this.
Past Winners: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson, Allen Iverson, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving
Point Guards and Shooting Guards generally have an excellent chance to win the Rookie of the Year award. Not only do they have the opportunity to make a massive tangible impact on their team, depending on their situation, but a guard-heavy focus in today’s NBA has also made them more involved than ever.
Some guards make their name on their traditional success like playmaking and defense – Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson, and Chris Paul are fine examples. Other guards are pure scoring threats as soon as they enter the league, like Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, and Vince Carter.
Past Winners: Larry Bird, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol
The forward position is likely the most versatile of positions in the NBA. Whether they are traditional interior bruisers who can move over to center, or pseudo-wings who can double as guards, forwards and their impact generally leave a lasting impression.
More traditional, low-post big men found themselves coveted highly throughout the NBA’s history until the mid-2000s. Players like Chris Webber, Tim Duncan, and Pau Gasol found their way to the Rookie of the Year award due to their immediate presence in their team’s gameplan.
Nowadays, you see forwards who can do a little bit of everything. Whether it is playing inside like a big man or running the wings like a guard, their unique size and speed make them difficult matchups. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Larry Bird were some that presented that all-around threat and were locks for Rookie of the Year.
Center is one of the most dominant positions in the NBA but has found itself on a downturn as the league modernizes. Once the key to every NBA team’s offense and defense, today’s NBA centers are much less of a focus. Still, there are some talents that will always find their way to the top.
Some of the best centers of all-time have won the Rookie of the Year award. In fact, 11 of 15 Rookie of the Year award-winning centers found their way to the NBA Hall of Fame. The likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, and David Robinson are counted among the best to ever play.
The most recent center to win the Rookie of the Year award was Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves who broke an 11-year drought for centers looking to claim the title of top rookie.
Who Is the Youngest Ever NBA Rookie of the Year Winner?
The youngest-ever winner of the NBA Rookie of the Year award actually still plays in the league as of the 2020-2021 season. In 2003, the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted LeBron James at 18 years old. He would go on to win the Rookie of the Year award at 19, setting the record for the youngest-ever winner of the Eddie Gottlieb trophy.
James is one of two players drafted out of high school to win Rookie of the Year. The other being Amar’s Stoudemire in 2002.
Who Is the Oldest Ever NBA Rookie of the Year Winner?
Three players are tied for the record as the oldest Rookie of the Year award winner at 24 years-old. Due to commitments with the US Navy, David Robinson made his debut four years after his draft year. Elgin Baylor went on to spend five years in college, after dropping out of school in his senior year of high school. Malcolm Brogdon would also win the award at 24 years old, as he committed to a year of post-graduate education before entering the NBA.
Which NBA Franchises Have Won the Most NBA Rookie of the Year Awards?
|Number of Awards||Team||Years|
|6||Golden State Warriors|
San Francisco Warriors
|1994, 1989, 1975|
San Diego Clippers
1973, 1974, 1977
Kansas City Kings
|Portland Trail Blazers||1971, 1972, 2007, 2013|
|3||Boston Celtics||1957, 1971, 1980|
|Chicago Bulls||1985, 2000, 2009|
Fort Wayne Pistons
|New York Knicks||1965, 1986, 1988|
|Philadelphia 76ers|| |
1997, 2014, 2018
|Phoenix Suns||1976, 1978, 2003|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||2004, 2012|
|Dallas Mavericks||1995, 2019|
|Houston Rockets||1984, 2000|
|Memphis Grizzlies||2002, 2020|
|Milwaukee Bucks||1970, 2017|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||2015, 2016|
New Jersey Nets
|Orlando Magic||1993, 2001|
|San Antonio Spurs||1990, 1998|
|Toronto Raptors||1996, 1999|
|New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets||2006|
Which NBA Franchises Have Never Won a Rookie of the Year Award?
There are only two NBA franchises that have failed to produce a Rookie of the Year winner through their history.
- Denver Nuggets
- Miami Heat
Due to the natural ups and downs of an NBA franchise’s history, it is normal to find teams go through periods of success and failure. It isn’t to say that the Nuggets and the Heat have failed to produce singular rookies, but they haven’t quite been impressive enough to win the vote.
2021 NBA Rookie of the Year Winner Predictions
Now it’s time to get into it. The Rookie of the Year race is exciting this season, as a number of thrilling candidates have found their way to the top of the odds table. It isn’t a one-man race like many years are, but certain players seem to be the favorite.
Of course, with the NBA season seeing its own struggles with health and safety protocol postponing games and leaving players out, the 2021 Rookie of the Year Award is unpredictable. One injury or positive COVID-19 test could take a player or a team out of the running entirely.
1) (G) LaMelo Ball – 6-6, 180 lbs (198 cm, 81 kg) – Charlotte Hornets
— NBA Draft (@NBADraft) February 7, 2021
LaMelo Ball is the current favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award in 2021. Not only is he impactful for the Hornets, but he is exceeding expectations – a trait that is important when looking to win the votes of media members.
While Ball has a boisterous father that invades the scene more often than preferred, Ball’s play on the court is trumping any bad blood caused by his off-court involvements. As a point guard, he’s receiving ample opportunity to make an impact as he is initiating the Hornets offense.
While Ball is shooting poorly from the field, he still sits at a 1.4 win shares and 18.0 player efficiency rating. If he can clean up his playmaking and find better shots, Ball could be a lock for this award.
2) (G) Tyrese Haliburton – 6-5, 185 lbs (196 cm, 83 kg) – Sacramento Kings
Tyrese Haliburton named Western Rookie Of The Month!pic.twitter.com/ZDkDKZsJMv
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 2, 2021
If you want to talk about a surprise candidate for the Rookie of the Year trophy, it is Iowa State product, Tyrese Haliburton. As the 12th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft little was expected of Haliburton, but he has done more than leave a lasting impression through 20 games.
Haliburton has not only proved himself to be a capable scorer at the NBA level, but his shot selection and intelligence are miles ahead of what many expected. Despite playing behind star guard De’Aaron Fox, Haliburton has forced the Kings into his 29.3 minutes per game due to his solid play.
Should Haliburton help the Kings push for a playoff position, he could overtake Ball as the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award. He’s already taken minutes from veteran Cory Joseph, owing to his seemingly untapped potential.
3) (G) Immanuel Quickley – 6-3, 190 lbs (190 cm, 86 kg) – New York Knicks
IMMANUEL QUICKLEY’s last 4 games!
25 PTS in 27 MINS
25 PTS in 25 MINS
6 PTS in 23 MINS
31 PTS in 24 MINSpic.twitter.com/yV8OTxOjzs
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 31, 2021
If you want to talk about a surprise name to the list of Rookie of the Year candidates, New York Knicks point guard Immanuel Quickley is showing that his standing as the 25th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft was unjustified.
In just his rookie campaign, Quickley is looking like a true NBA scoring ace. Not much of a playmaker or defender, but a capable offensive threat from anywhere on the court, Quickley evokes a Lou Williams-Esque game well beyond his years.
A big factor in Quickley’s bid for Rookie of the Year will be his ability to help the Knicks out of mediocrity. Should he help the Knicks to their first playoff berth since 2013, it would be difficult to deny him the award.
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