2023 NBA Rookie of the Year Race: Top Contenders

2023 NBA Rookie of the Year: Betting Odds and Predictions

The 2022 NBA Draft saw Paolo Banchero become the number one pick for the Orlando Magic, surprising many who expected Jabari Smith to be chosen. Now, as the new season approaches, Banchero is the favored candidate to win the 2023 Rookie of the Year award. Let’s take a closer look at the betting odds and predictions for the upcoming season.

Banchero Takes the Spotlight

Paolo Banchero, a talented player from Duke University, has emerged as the frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year award with +300 odds at DraftKings. Despite Smith, Ivey, and Holmgren following closely behind, Banchero’s stellar performance in college has elevated his chances for success.

In a surprising twist, Banchero was selected as the number one pick by the Orlando Magic, leaving Smith to be chosen third by the Houston Rockets. Initially, Smith was projected to go first, but the draft took an unexpected turn.

Historical Perspective

While Banchero is the favorite, history shows us that being the number one pick doesn’t guarantee the Rookie of the Year accolade. In the past 22 seasons, only seven players selected first overall have gone on to win the award. Notably, Ben Simmons achieved this feat in the 2016 NBA Draft after sitting out a season.

Joining a young Magic squad, Banchero will face competition from fellow talented players such as Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, and Markelle Fultz. Fultz, a former number one pick himself, returned from a knee injury to rejoin the team midseason, adding even more depth to the lineup.

Over the years, there have been notable instances where number one picks have excelled in their Rookie of the Year campaigns. LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Ben Simmons all made a significant impact in their debut seasons and clinched the coveted award.

Consider the Top Four Picks

While the number one pick doesn’t always secure the Rookie of the Year title, it is worth paying attention to the top four selections. In the last 22 seasons, the recipient of the award has come from this group on 17 occasions.

Chet Holmgren, the second pick in the draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder, holds +475 odds to win Rookie of the Year. Given his potential as a big man from Gonzaga, Holmgren is likely to secure a starting spot and make a significant impact on his team’s performance. Notable former number two picks who won the award include Emeka Okafor, Kevin Durant, and Ja Morant.

Jabari Smith, who slipped down to the third pick and joined the Rockets, will undoubtedly have a chip on his shoulder and aim to prove his worth. However, being part of a struggling team may hinder his chances. Recent winners like Luka Doncic and LaMelo Ball, both third overall picks, have shown that success is still possible despite this setback.

The fourth pick, Keegan Murray, selected by the Sacramento Kings, has +900 odds to win Rookie of the Year. The Kings, eager to make their first playoff appearance since 2006, have high hopes for Murray. With a strong supporting cast including De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, Murray has the opportunity to shine and follow in the footsteps of past number four picks who claimed the award, such as Chris Paul, Tyreke Evans, and Scottie Barnes.


The race for the 2023 NBA Rookie of the Year is poised to be an exciting one, with Paolo Banchero leading the pack as the favorite. However, history has shown us that anything can happen, and success is not solely dependent on being the number one pick. Keep an eye on the top four selections, as they have consistently produced impressive rookies. Ultimately, it will be fascinating to see which rising star emerges as the standout performer in their debut season.


1. Can a player who is not a top four pick win Rookie of the Year?

While it is unlikely, it is not impossible for a player outside the top four picks to win the Rookie of the Year award. However, history has shown that the top four picks are often the frontrunners for this prestigious honor.

2. How do the odds change throughout the season?

As the season progresses, the odds for Rookie of the Year can fluctuate based on player performance, injuries, and other factors. It’s essential to keep track of players’ development and adjust your predictions accordingly.

3. Who are some dark horse candidates for Rookie of the Year?

While the favorites are often the top draft picks, there are always dark horse candidates who surprise fans and analysts. Keep an eye on players from smaller schools or those who may have flown under the radar during the draft process.

4. How much does team success impact the Rookie of the Year award?

While individual performance is crucial, team success can play a role in the Rookie of the Year voting. Players who contribute significantly to their team’s improvement and playoff contention may garner more attention from voters.

5. What other factors contribute to winning Rookie of the Year?

In addition to statistical performance, factors such as impact on the team, adaptability to the NBA game, leadership qualities, and consistency throughout the season contribute to a player’s chances of winning the Rookie of the Year award.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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