Zion Williamson still a longshot for NBA Rookie of the Year
The sample size is small, but Zion Williamson has lived up to the hype in the NBA.
A knee injury delayed the start of his rookie season with the New Orleans Pelicans, but the 19-year-old forward burst onto the scene in mid-January and he is now averaging 22.1 points per game.
Will that be enough to win Rookie of the Year? It might be too little a sample and too late in the season, and that makes him a sizable longshot at BetAmerica to win the award.
NBA Rookie of the Year odds
|Player||Rookie of the Year odds|
Pelicans took cautious approach, but Zion is gaining strength
There is no sense risking the long-term future of your No. 1 pick, so the Pelicans took every precaution following Williamson's knee injury.
Even when Williamson made his debut Jan. 22, the Pelicans didn’t overwork him. He played 18 minutes and scored 22 points. Since then his playing time has increased at a reasonable rate.
He played 31 minutes Thursday against the Oklahoma City Thunder and scored 32 points—the second straight game he scored 30 points or more.
Zion Williamson is now over 200 points (and counting) through 10 career games...— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 14, 2020
Over the last 30 seasons, the only former No. 1 picks to score 200 points within their first 10 career games are Hall of Famers Shaquille O'Neal (238 in 1992-93) and Allen Iverson (224 in 1996-97). pic.twitter.com/kDPrJec0nu
As good as he’s been, Williamson has appeared in only 10 games, and there are only 27 remaining in the season. New Orleans also has a pair of back-to-backs on its schedule, which could mean opportunities for the Pelicans to rest Williamson.
That would further reduce the amount of games in his season, making Williamson—at +400 odds at BetAmerica—a true longshot to win Rookie of the Year, compared to -700 favorite Ja Morant.
There is no value with Morant
The No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft is averaging 17.6 points per game and 7.1 assists for the Memphis Grizzlies. He has also appeared in 48 games and is averaging nearly 30 minutes per game.
But with those odds, there isn’t any value to bet Morant to win Rookie of the Year. A $10 wager right now would return a profit of $1.43.
It would take something incredibly special from Williamson to move those odds later in the season.