With the first pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans select Zion Williamson, forward from Duke University.
Adam Silver called Williamson’s name first in the draft, as the heralded rookie from Duke was (and is) expected to make an immediate impact on the NBA, and take the Pelicans back to prowess. The problem is, that will have to wait.
Williamson is out for at least the next six-to-eight weeks due to a torn meniscus in his knee, which hurts the Pelicans but also changes the landscape of one NBA futures market at NJ online sportsbooks: the Rookie of the Year Award.
Here is a look at the odds before and after Zion got hurt, per DraftKings Sportsbook:
NBA Rookie of the Year Odds
Also the before and after of Zion against the field:
|Rookie of the Year Odds: Zion vs. Field|
These odds have changed drastically with an injury that is “only” six-to-eight weeks. With some precedence, this really hurts Williamson’s ability to win the award. As we have seen in the past with Joel Embiid and Malcolm Brogdon, the voters really take games played into consideration. Now, given that Zion is not an overwhelming favorite to win the award and the field is (at -165), more players will be looked at in this futures market.
Let’s look at two players who could win the award in 2019-20.
Players to Watch
Ja Morant, PG, Memphis Grizzlies
Morant was everyone’s number two behind Williamson in the draft this season, and now he may become everyone’s number one in the Rookie of the Year futures market. Morant was +375 to win before Zion’s injury, but is now +200 and the favorite behind Zion.
The Grizzlies‘ point guard is expected to be the feature part of the Memphis offense, allowing him plenty of chances to pad his stats and make his mark on the Rookie of the Year race. If his and Williamson’s numbers are comparable but Morant has played all season, he may be in line to win the award. If Morant continues any sort of pace he had last year where he averaged nearly 25 points a game and 10 assists per contest, Morant could run away with the award before Zion returns.
Tyler Herro, SG, Miami Heat
Herro was +2000 before the Zion news, but is now +1300 after the news and a terrific preseason.
The Kentucky product can do one thing very well. Score. Given that the object of the game of basketball is to do so, Herro will be an integral part of the Miami offense alongside Jimmy Butler and Justise Winslow.
In the preseason, Herro averaged 14.2 PPG in just 26 minutes and shot 52% from three in five games. He took 27 three-pointers and made 14 of them, and most of them were either on created shots or quick catch and shoots. Herro will be a very interesting name to watch in this race, especially if he earns big minutes in the Miami Heat offense.
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