If you are a New Yorker and a faithful Knick fan I would strongly consider picking up a +550 flier on RJ Barrett to win rookie of the year. (Available at FanDuel SportsBook). I have two main reasons why I like this bet for a Knicks fan.
#1 Reason to Take RJ Barrett at +550 to Win ROY: He Might Win
Analysts such as David Jacoby from ESPN and Giles Gallant from OddsShark.com have stated Barrett is more ready to produce right away than heavy favorite Zion Williamson in their rookie years. Many have concluded that Barrett is likely to get more opportunity to produce individually on the Knicks, considering the (lack of) supporting cast around him in New York.
Barrett, a dynamic one-on-one slasher, is not the media darling of fellow Dukie Jayson Tatum, whose game is smoother and more jump shot oriented. But Barrett actually had the better freshman season at Duke of the two.
Barrett scored 22.6 points per game at Duke, and averaged 7.6 rebounds. Duke made the Elite 8.
Tatum scored 16.8 points per game at Duke, and averaged 7.3 rebounds. Duke lost in the Round of 32.
By the end of his first year in the NBA, Tatum was considered among the best in his draft class – neck and neck with Donovan Mitchell – and a potential top 20 player in the NBA. We saw that his perimeter oriented game thrived in the greater space the NBA provides compared to the college ranks. Barrett’s game – a lefty Dwyane Wade style slashing guard – suits the NBA beautifully, because of his ability to beat his man off the dribble in the half-court and fly past everyone in transition.
Yes, Barrett shot some ungodly percentage from the field during his truncated Summer League campaign. But so did Trae Young – who ended up just behind Luka Doncic in rookie of the year voting last year. Barrett will have a Luka/Trae-esque green light on a team not expected to compete.
The favorite Zion Williamson will not be the best scorer Day 1 for his team. Nor will he have the green light to try whatever he likes while the Pelicans attempt to make the playoffs.
With borderline all star Jrue Holiday at point, and proven scorers JJ Redick and Brandon Ingram on the wing – Williamson will have to improve his shot and post-scoring ability before he is even close to the #1 option on that team. As an aside: I actually think this is good for Zion’s progression. What sets him apart is his athleticism and defense. Not needing to force offense will allow him to better hone his singular abilities. That said, award voters like statistics – and I think Zion’s will fall short of many people’s lofty expectations.
Only a year ago, RJ Barrett was the #1 prospect in his draft class with a bullet, thanks primarily to his extraordinary AAU exploits. While Ja Morant’s learns the dirty work of being a point guard in the NBA, and Zion attempts to fit into a potential winner in New Orleans, RJ Barrett will have the best opportunity to put up some AAU style highlights and statistics in 2019.
#2 Reason to Take RJ Barrett at +550 to Win ROY: It Will Enhance Your Viewing Pleasure
Whether Barrett wins ROY or narrowly gets beat out by Ja Morant or Zion Williamson, this Knicks season is going to be all about him and his progression. For the price of a NY movie ticket, you can have $70+ riding on your team’s most exciting player’s daily chase for greatness.
Full Odds for NBA Rookie of the Year
Zion Williamson -135
Ja Morant +300
RJ Barrett +550
Darius Garland +1600
Coby White +1800
Michael Porter Jr +1800
DeAndre Hunter +2500
Jarrett Culver +2500
Rui Hachimura +2500
Cameron Reddish +5000
Mfiondu Kabengele +5000
Bol Bol +5000
Tyler Herro +5000
Jaxson Hayes +5500
Nickeil Alexander Walker +10000
Nassir Little +10000
PJ Washington +10000
Keldon Johnson +10000
Sekou Doumbouya +20000
Goga Bitadze +25000
KZ Okpala +50000
Kevin Porter +50000
Bruno Fernando +50000