Handicapping NBA rookie of year race

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There is no such thing as a sure thing, but being a -715 favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year is as close as one can get. That is where the Hornets’ LaMelo Ball sat on the odds board at DraftKings before falling on his right wrist in a loss to the Clippers on Saturday that has ended his season. The implied probability of a favorite like that is 87.7%, but as of today oddsmakers believe that the once-overwhelming favorite has just a 33.3% (+ 200) chance to win.

The new odds-on favorite at DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet is Anthony Edwards of the Timberwolves. FanDuel is the highest on Edwards’ chances, listing him as a -210 (67.7%) favorite. Edwards is having a very solid season, but should his odds be this high when just 10 days ago one global shop put his odds at 18-1 (5.3%)?

In my opinion, absolutely not.

On the surface, Edwards’ 16.7-point average looks like a player who should be in contention for best of his class, but a deeper dive shows some real flaws. Through the first 32 games, Edwards struggled. He averaged just 14.1 points on 37.1% shooting. He pulled in only 3.7 rebounds and totaled 2.5 assists per game. He also shot just 31.6% on 5.8 3-point attempts per game. Lately, though, his game has come along. Over his last 10 games, he’s averaging 24.9 points on 41.4% shooting. His shooting is not much improved at 32.6%, but he has averaged 6.2 rebounds over this stretch. This culminated in a 42-point game Thursday against the Suns in which he shot 15 of 31 while leading a Timberwolves victory.

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