Upcoming Match-ups

Luka Doncic Pulling Away in NBA Rookie of the Year Race

Trae Young defends fellow rookie guard Luka Doncic
Trae Young defends fellow rookie guard Luka Doncic (Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire)
  • Luka Doncic has become the overwhelming favorite to win the 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year Award
  • The Mavericks wing leads all first year players in scoring and is second in assists
  • Doncic holds the NBA record for most points scored by a teenager in his first 15 games

It looks like the Dallas Mavericks may have known what they were doing when they swapped Trae Young for Luka Doncic on draft night.

The 19-year-old Slovenian has become a virtual lock to win the 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year Award over the past month as his average odds have improved from +110 on November 28th to -700 on December 21st across a number of top online sportsbooks.

Doncic is trailed by Deandre Ayton at +650 and Young at +1500, but both players have fallen so far behind that they’re at risk of becoming mere footnotes in the story of Doncic’s brilliant rookie campaign.

You can see how the odds of all of the top contenders have fluctuated by visiting our 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds Tracker.

2019 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds

Who Will Win the 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year Award? Team Draft Position MyBookie Odds on 12/21/18
Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks 3 -700
Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns 1 +650
Trae Young Atlanta Hawks 5 +1500
Jaren Jackson Jr. Memphis Grizzlies 4 +2000
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Los Angeles Clippers 11 +4000
FIELD N/A N/A +700

Doncic is Leaving Ayton in His Dust

Oddsmakers expected the Rookie or the Year Award to be a two-horse race between Donic and Ayton, but the Mavericks wing began pulling away in mid November when he led Dallas to seven wins in eight games. That stretch included a dazzling 112-109 victory over the defending champion Golden State Warriors in which Doncic had 24 points, nine rebounds, and four assists.

Afterwards, Steve Kerr compared Doncic to a five-tool baseball player due to his ability to excel in ever facet of the game. Former MVP Kevin Durant was also highly complimentary. “I like him a lot,” KD told reporters. “He’s polished, he is skilled and you can tell he played professional basketball already. They got a great guy in him to lead this franchise in the future.”

Doncic’s stellar play was officially recognized by the NBA on December 3rd when he was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in October and November. He’s the sixth Mavericks player to earn the honor.

Luka Doncic and Deandre Ayton Statistical Comparison

Doncic
VS
Ayton

18.8 Points Per Game 16.0
6.6 Rebounds Per Game 10.4
4.9 Assists Per Game 2.3
1.2 Steals Per Game 0.6
0.3 Blocks Per Game 0.9

Ayton has been far from disappointing during his first season in Phoenix, but his numbers have been trending downwards lately. The Bahamian big man’s scoring average has decreased in each of the past three months and his true shooting percentage has plummeted by nearly 8% since October.

Ayton is still capable of big nights, like his 20 point, 12 rebound performance against the Clippers on December 10th, but his big numbers seldom translate into big wins.

Phoenix is dead last in the West at 8-24 and has endured two losing streaks of seven games or more. Those defeats are not entirely Ayton’s fault, of course, but he has yet to prove he can lift a franchise’s fortunes in the same way that Doncic has in Dallas.

Can Anyone Catch Doncic?

At this point, the only thing that could derail Doncic’s Rookie of the Year campaign would be a serious injury. The 6’7″ wing was bothered by a strained right hip earlier in the season, but there’s no reason to believe it will sideline him anytime soon.

Doncic is better equipped to deal with the grind of a long regular season than anyone else in his rookie class thanks to his experience playing professionally in Europe.

In fact, Doncic is probably better equipped to deal with the grind of a long regular season than anyone else in his rookie class thanks to his experience playing professionally in Europe. The EuroLeague MVP saw his first action in Liga ACB in 2014 and appeared in 61 games last season with Real Madrid in Europe’s most competitive league.

If you’re thinking of wagering on Doncic do it now before his odds get even shorter.

Author Image
Discussion

Let's have fun and keep it civil.