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Zion Williamson Opens as Odds-On Favorite to Win 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year Award Following Draft

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NBA Basketball

Jun 21, 2019 · 2:23 PM PDT

Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson is the overwhelming favorite to win the 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire)
  • Will Zion Williamson match the hype and win the 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year Award?
  • Duke teammate RJ Barrett is in a good position to shine with the Knicks
  • Find the best rookie value bet for the 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year Award below

With two simple words, Zion Williamson, the freshly minted first overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, assured all that his broad shoulders were the right ones to carry the New Orleans Pelicans to basketball places they’ve never been before.

The most captivating draft pick since LeBron in 2003, is Williamson going to be able to match the hype of his impressive mixtape and Duke resume? It’s time to go crystal balling and find our next NBA Rookie of the Year.

2020 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds

Player Team Odds at Sportsbook 1 Odds at Sportsbook 2
Zion Williamson Pelicans -250 -200
Ja Morant Grizzlies +500 +400
RJ Barrett Knicks +600 +600
Darius Garland Cavaliers +1200 +1000
De’Andre Hunter Hawks +1800 +1400
Jarrett Culver Timberwolves +2500 +1600
Kevin Porter Jr. Cavaliers +3000 +10000
Cam Reddish Hawks +3500 +2800
Coby White Bulls +3500 +2000
Jaxson Hayes Pelicans +3500 +2800

*Odds taken 06/21/19. 

Williamson Should Be NBA Ready on Day 1

If we’re talking just physical gifts, you have to go back to Shaquille O’Neal to find a guy with an NBA-ready body right from the jump – even LeBron James took a few years to fill out his Robocop frame.

Standing at 6’7″ and a hulking 285 pounds, he’s already the second heaviest player in the entire NBA, with only 7’3″ giant Boban Marjanovich at 290 pounds weighing more. The insanity continues with the agility he possesses (otherworldly), and a vertical leap that clears 40 inches!

The league has never seen anything like this: A tank with F1 car handling, complete with a super-charged engine with nitrous for good measure.

He probably has the best coach in Alvin Gentry to unlock his skills, as the Pelicans should unleash a pace-and-space style souped up for the 2020’s. Williamson is the centerpiece, a pogo stick that can be the ball handler or finisher in the pick and roll, the roving Draymond Green character on defense, and the most devastating finisher in the open court since prime LeBron.

Morant, Barrett Should Challenge Zion for ROTY

Zion may be the supernova, but there are other bright stars in this new galaxy. Ja Morant is ushering in a post Grit-n-Grind era in Memphis, and the Grizzlies will give him every opportunity to take the reins of the offense.

He’s certainly capable. Hands down the most gifted passer in the draft, Morant is a sleek dribble-drive attacker, outrageous finisher and improving jump shooter.

Freed from the Zion bubble, RJ Barrett should feast as the solo act in the Big Apple, for at least one year. It will be a great chance to showcase his ability to get buckets. If he can improve the 30.8% from beyond the arc, the sky’s the limit for the Canadian.

What’s the Best Bet?

There are so many variables to factor into these decisions, but Zion trumps all of them. He’s the runaway  odds-on-favorite for a reason. If Williamson should falter due to injury (gulp) or expectation, the ROTY doesn’t go much further than Morant or Barrett. Bet accordingly.

Looking for a long shot? Some sportsbooks are listing Kevin Porter Jr. as a +10000 pick, though others have him ranked inside their top-10 at +3000. Watch the game tape and tell me you’re not just a tad tempted to drop a little on a guy that could win the lead guard duties in Cleveland and spin.

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