Poll: Early 2023 Rookie Of The Year Predictions

When Scottie Barnes was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year for the 2021/22 season, it was the 17th time in the last 19 years that a top-six pick won the award.

The only outliers during that time were Michael Carter-Williams, who was the 11th pick in 2013 and beat out an uninspiring crop of rookies that included No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett; and Malcolm Brogdon, a 2016 second-rounder who won the award in a year in which the No. 1 pick (Ben Simmons) sat out with an injury.

Going back even further, only three other players drafted outside the top six since 1975 have earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors: Amar’e Stoudemire (No. 9) in 2003, Damon Stoudamire (No. 7) in 1996, and Mark Jackson (No. 18) in 1988.

In other words, it should come as no real surprise that the major betting favorites to win the award in 2023 are all top-six picks.

[RELATED: 2022 NBA Draft Results]

According to BetOnline.ag, Magic forward Paolo Banchero, this year’s No. 1 pick, is the current frontrunner (+250), which makes sense — Orlando is expected to finish in the lottery again this season and there aren’t many veterans on the depth chart standing in the way of Banchero earning a significant role from day one.

Thunder big man Chet Holmgren (+400) and Kings forward Keegan Murray (+400) are the next-best bets, per BetOnline. Holmgren and Murray were among the top two-way players in the 2022 draft class, which could help their respective Rookie of the Year cases. As Barnes’ win earlier this year showed, voters have become more inclined to weigh a player’s defensive contributions than they once were — it’s not just about which rookie averages the most points per game.

Rockets forward Jabari Smith (+800), Pistons guard Jaden Ivey (+800), and Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin (+1000) round out the top six. After that group, Rockets forward Tari Eason, the No. 17 pick in the draft, has the next-best odds at +2000.

All three of Smith, Ivey, and Mathurin are in position to play major roles on rebuilding clubs, though guards like Ivey and Mathurin sometimes require some time to get their feet under them and learn how to score efficiently at the NBA level — slow starts from Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green last season cost them a chance at Rookie of the Year honors, despite strong finishes.

We want to know what you think. Which player is your early pick for Rookie of the Year in 2022/23? Are you taking a top-six selection, or is there a dark horse you believe can defy the historical odds and take home the award?

Vote in our poll below, then head to the comment section to weigh in with your two cents!

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