The 2022/23 NBA season is well underway, and fans have been making predictions. If you are a Celtics fan, it has been a fine season so far, but others have not been so lucky.
Two teams that are struggling just now are the legendary LA Lakers and Orlando Magic.
People were tipping Banchero to win rookie of the year. They are also putting money on it, with the NBA being one of the biggest sports to bet on.
You can find out which rookies might be worth a wager by reading on.
It has been a tough season so far for Orlando Magic, but not for their star rookie pick Banchero. He was selected first in the draft and boy has he lived up to that billing in the initial stages of the season.
Each of his games so far have seen him notch up more than 20 points, with his debut game against the Detroit Pistons having been particularly impressive. He finished that match with 27 points, plus 9 rebounds and 5 assists and has kept up a similar pace since.
He is outdoing established NBA stars like Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns in shots-per-game right now and looks a genuine star in the making. The NBA odds have him as a hot favorite for the rookie of the year award.
There is a long way still to go this season though.
Mathurin is another rookie who has starred for a team that is floundering at the start of the season. The number six draft pick was the best the Indiana Pacers had landed since Rik Smits all the way back in the late 1980s and so far he has been used as an impact substitute.
The 20-year-old shooting guard is looking like he will team up with Tyrese Haliburton as the backcourt line for the Pacers, but his sparing use so far has been surprising. With stats of well over 20 points – including five 3-pointers versus the Pistons – he is another top current rookie of the year bet and sits fourth in the overall stats rankings right now.
Speaking of those stats rankings for rookies in the 2022/23 season, Keegan is the man riding high at the moment. He was picked by the Sacramento Kings in the draft and has very impressive tallies of points, rebounds and assists for them so far.
He was expected to start the season with a scoring bang, having caught the eye of everyone with his Summer League performances. Sacramento were hoping that he could lift them out of a lengthy period in the NBA doldrums, but their start to the season has been poor even with his contributions.
If the rest of the team can rise to his standards and challenge for the play-offs, it will help him with the rookie of the year prize.
Smith is another player rated among the bookies’ favorites for NBA rookie of the year and he has made a strong start after a disappointing Summer League. Picked by the Houston Rockets, the forward produced his finest display so far against Utah Jazz.
He ended that match with 21 points and hit six out of the 10 shots he tried, including two from the three 3-pointers. Again this has come despite his team making a pretty underwhelming start to the 2022/23 campaign, but with a regular starting slot and 15.3 ppg that form is certainly not the fault of Smith.
The question many pundits were asking before the start of the action was whether Houston were capable of producing the team performances that would support his bid for rookie of the year. So far, the answer is ‘no’.
The last of the early contenders for NBA rookie of the year 2022/23 is Jaden Ivey of the Detroit Pistons. They are another team laboring in the Eastern Conference Central Division right now, but their rookie draft pick is delivering the goods.
He is ranked in the top five new players up to now and hit 17 points against the Pacers earlier this season, in what was his standout showing so far. That was combined with 10 rebounds and 5 assists.
Ivey is being taken seriously as a rookie of the year shot by bookmakers and if he can form an effective backcourt double act with Cade Cunningham to get his side into play-off contention it will help his chances.
These are the five rookie players lighting up the NBA in the early stages of the season, but the prizes are still months away.