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Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic Lead the Race for the 2018-2019 NBA Rookie of the Year Award

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The NBA rookie of the year is already up for discussion and the season hasn’t started yet. The Rookie of the Year is an elusive award and doesn’t always translate to future success. A handful of the previous Rookie of the Year award winners, from Emeka Okafor to Michael Carter-Williams, have turned out to have disappointing careers and failed to translate the high expectations into NBA success. Although, the majority of NBA Rookie of the Year winners do have success in the NBA.

The 2018-2019 season is upon us, and new rookies have emerged all over the NBA. Each year, the NBA season plays out, and avid fans look into which rookies are playing well. Last year, the Utah Jazz Donovan Mitchell certainly impressed with his dynamic and mature style of play, but it was Ben Simmons who ran away with the Rookie of the Year award.

Fans are generally harsh on the incoming rookies with a hyped up status. Take Lonzo Ball as an example. Ball averaged 10.7 PTS, 7.2 AST, 6.9 REB, and 1.7 STLs per game last season as a rookie, and still received unending criticism from both, the fans and the experts. Maybe it was because of his funky jump-shoot, or his annoying father, but either way, the critics were running their mouths every time Ball made the highlights.

For 2018-2019, the most anticipated NBA rookies of the season are Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley, Trae Young, and Jaren Jackson Jr. This new core of players are no joke and may introduce the future legends of the NBA hardwood.

Deandre Ayton has the greatest chance to win the Rookie of the Year award with odds of +260 to win the coveted reward. Ayton is a 7 foot 1 center from Arizona and the large and mobile center averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game in his lone season in college. Let’s be real, each season, we all wish for another Shaq or Kareem. This season, Deandre Ayton is filling that hopeful void for fans all across the NBA. The Arizona product will play alongside Devin Booker on the Phoenix Suns, and hopefully, create an exciting and deadly duo for years to come.

The second player that is most likely to be crowned Rookie of the Year this season is the European basketball star Luka Doncic. Doncic is a 6’7 shooting guard that played well at a young age amongst the greatest European basketball leagues. The Slovenian playmaker made his way to the top of the NBA scouting process by providing an impeccable passing game. Last season while playing in Europe, Doncic has averaged 12.8 ppg. 5.0 apg and 5.7 rpg in the Spanish ACB Liga, while his stats were even better in the Euroleague where he posted 16.0 ppg, 4.3 apg, and 4.8 rpg. Doncic is just as likely to win the Rookie of the Year as Ayton, as the shooting guard-passer has odds of +300 to win the Rookie of the Year award.

Marvin Bagley has +450 odds of the winning the 2018-2019 NBA Rookie of the Year award. The power forward was a star at the revered basketball program - Duke University. Similar to Ayton, Bagley averaged 21 points per game while posting an average of 11 rebounds in each contest. The numbers between Ayton and Bagley are almost identical, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that both of the young talents are highly favored to win the Rookie of the Year award.

The Hawks snagged point guard Trae Young from Oklahoma University, and the NCAA record holder has quickly jumped to the top of the Rookie of the Year competitors with odds of +700 to win the award. Trae Young holds the NCAA record for most assists in a game with 22 and became the first player in NCAA history to lead the league in both assists and points. What more could you ask for? Young has definitely earned his stripes and is well worthy to be among the top players to win the Rookie of the Year award.

Lastly, there is Jaren Jackson Jr. Jackson has already impressed in the summer league. The  6’11 power forward from Michigan State made 9 three-pointers in an NBA summer league game and recorded eight blocks in another. In fact, the rookie sensation averaged 11.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game in the 2018-2019 summer league. The future star, whose father played in the NBA, has +900 odds to win the Rookie of the Year award in 2018-2019.

Dating back to the 1990’s season, the NBA Rookie of the Year title has been awarded to the first pick on 14 occasions, which only further increases the odds for the bigs in this year's rookie class. However, out of the last 10 seasons, the ball-handlers have won the ROY title 7 times, meaning that the upcoming season should be unpredictable and exciting when it comes to the selection of the ROY.

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