If you’re looking to win titles in the NBA, then you need star power on your roster. The best hope for securing said star power, unless, of course, you’re the Los Angeles Lakers and a generational talent just so happens to fall into your lap, is to strike gold in the draft. And as it were, the 2018 NBA draft class has the potential to be pretty special.
It usually takes a few seasons before we know whether a younger player is next-level good. However, if they’re able to perform at a high level during their rookie campaign, they’ll be rewarded for their efforts — with the NBA Rookie of the Year award. According to oddsmakers in Vegas, these first-year players are currently favored to take home the coveted prize.
Collin Sexton (+800)
It’s impossible to replace a player of LeBron James‘ caliber, but Cleveland is hoping first-round pick Collin Sexton can at least soften the blow. And if his performance during the Summer League is any indication, the former Alabama point guard might be exactly what the Cavs need moving forward. The No. 8 overall pick averaged 19.6 points per game and played with confidence. Sexton is a dark horse to keep an eye on for Rookie of the Year.
Kevin Knox (+700)
In keeping with tradition, New York Knicks fans “booed” Kevin Knox when he was taken with the ninth overall pick. If those same individuals watched the Kentucky product play in the NBA Summer League, we have a feeling they’re now singing a different tune. Not only did Knox show off a smooth stroke from range, he displayed an uncanny ability to get to the rim (whenever he wanted) and finish with authority in the process. Simply put, he is a star in the making.
Deandre Ayton (+450)
The Phoenix Suns believe Deandre Ayton has the potential to be franchise-altering talent. That’s why they took the former Arizona standout with the first overall pick in the 2018 draft. The 7-foot center rewarded their faith in him by putting up 14.5 points and 10.5 rebounds a night during the Las Vegas Summer League. If Ayton manages to live up to the hype, he’ll easily be contention for the individual honor.
Luka Doncic (+400)
Luka Doncic is only 19 years old, but after winning EuroLeague MVP and EuroLeague Final Four MVP as a member of Real Madrid last season, he’s already proven he can play — and dominate — at the professional level. Dallas is confident that Doncic’s game will translate to the NBA, which is why it traded with Atlanta to get him. As of now, the Mavericks guard is the frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year award.
Statistics courtesy of NBA.com.
Other notable players to watch:
- Marvin Bagley III (+850)
- Jaren Jackson Jr. (+900)
- Trae Young (+1000)
- Wendell Carter Jr. (+1200)
- Michael Porter Jr. (+1400)
- Mo Bamba (+1400)
Follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonAlsher.