Top Betting Picks for the 2021-22 NBA Rookie of the Year

| August 25, 2021 10:17 am PDT

The 2021 NBA Draft was one of the deepest classes in years. Because of that, the 2021-22 NBA Rookie of the Year race is wide open.

In the 2021 NBA Summer League, we got a good idea of which rookies would translate well to the NBA.

There were clear 2021 NBA Summer League standouts, and that could easily play a role in how you bet on the 2021-22 NBA Rookie of the Year award.

There is so much talent in this rookie class, but we’ll try and narrow it down so you make the best choice. Here are my best bets to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 2021-22.

Jalen Green (+275)

If you read my articles, you know how high I am on Jalen Green. I’m not the only one, it seems, as the top NBA betting sites have him coming in with nice +275 NBA ROY odds.

Green was the number one recruit in the 2020 recruiting class but he opted to play in the G League. The league gave him an opportunity to play professionally and earn a salary.

In 15 games, Green put up some impressive numbers. Check out his stats from last year.

Stats Per Game
  • 17.9 points
  • 4.1 rebounds
  • 4.1 rebounds
  • 1.5 steals

Green’s team, the NBA G League Ignite, lost in their first playoff game but it was through no fault of him.

He put up a season-high 30 points with seven assists, five rebounds, and three steals.

Coming into the NBA Draft, scouts raved about Green’s ability to score. He was a great shooter and slasher. As a 6’6” shooting guard, he drew comparisons to Zach Lavine.

The Houston Rockets drafted Green second overall. For a team that traded away James Harden last season, landing Green may prove to be the perfect replacement. He may be just 20 years old, but Green is ready to compete.

Green certainly showed off his potential in the Summer League. Check out his stats from the three games he played in.

Stat Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Points 23 25 13
Rebounds 5 5 3
Assists 2 3 1
Field Goal % 9-18 (50.0) 6-11 (54.5) 4-8 (50.0)
Three-Point % 4-9 (44.4) 3-5 (60.0) 3-5 (60.0)

In his final game, he only played 12 minutes before a hamstring injury forced him out of action. Houston held him out of their final Summer League game as a precautionary.

Overall, he averaged 20.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. He also shot 51.4 percent from the field and 52.6 percent from three-point range.

Obviously, it’s a small sample size, but it shows what kind of potential Green has.

We know he’ll have plenty of opportunities to showcase his skill set playing for a Rockets team that is rebuilding. There’s probably a good chance Green leads the Rockets in scoring this season.

I think this guy has the potential to lead the NBA in scoring one day. For now, he can settle for winning NBA Rookie of the Year.

Jalen Suggs (+700)

When you talk about NBA-ready prospects, Jalen Suggs is at the top of the board.

Suggs was a dual-threat player in high school. He was a five-star basketball recruit and four-star football recruit. Ultimately, Suggs went with basketball and played at Gonzaga last season.

Two of his best games of the season came early on against two of the best teams in the country. Check out the performances in each game.

Stat Kansas Jayhawks Iowa Hawkeyes
Points 24 27
Assists 8 4
Rebounds 4 7
Steals 2 3
Field Goal (Percentage) 9-15 (60.0) 8-17 (47.1)
Three-Point (Percentage) 2-3 (66.7) 7-10 (70.0)

Both of those games were against top 10 opponents. This foreshadowed that Suggs wasn’t afraid of the moment and played his best ball in big games.

Gonzaga went on to finish the regular season undefeated. Suggs averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists.

In Gonzaga’s final-four game against UCLA, Suggs banked in a three-pointer from just inside half-court to send Gonzaga to the National Championship Game. They ultimately fell short to Baylor.

The Orlando Magic selected Suggs with the fifth overall pick.

In the Summer League, the 6’ 4” Suggs played both point guard and shooting guard. Like Jalen Green, an injury ended Suggs’ Summer League prematurely.

Even so, Suggs showed out in his two full games. He kicked off the Summer League with 24 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, and two steals. He also went 3-6 from three-point range.

His scoring dropped to 16 in his second game, but he became more of a playmaker as the Magic used him at point guard. He had five assists while also adding in eight rebounds.

Orlando has an interesting decision because I believe Suggs’ game works best at the point guard position. However, they have Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz, two other young point guards.

Anthony was among the NBA Summer League players that didn’t impress in 2021. That could hurt his minutes, and pave the way for a big rookie season for Suggs.

Either way, Suggs will be able to show off his elite slashing ability.

His three-point shooting could definitely use some work (33.7 percent in college), but that’s really his only glaring weakness. Honestly, that’s not a terrible percentage and he can definitely improve it.

He has all the tools to win Rookie of the Year.

Chris Duarte (+3000)

Chris Duarte stands out among other rookies in this class for one reason. But we’ll get to that in a little bit.

Duarte spent the first two years of his collegiate career at Northwest Florida State. He averaged 15.6 points and 6.9 rebounds before transferring to Oregon.

Like he did at Northwest Florida State, Duarte improved his game from his junior to senior season at Oregon. Here are his stats from the two seasons.

Stat Junior Year Senior Year
Points 12.9 17.1
Rebounds 5.6 4.6
Assists 1.6 2.7
Steals 1.7 1.9
Field Goal % 41.4 53.2
Three-Point % 33.6 42.4

He led Oregon to a Sweet Sixteen appearance last season. He also won the Jerry West Award for the best college shooting guard.

You may have been able to figure it out because of his four years in college, but Duarte has the distinction of being the oldest player in this draft class. Being 24 years old definitely limits his career timeline but it also means he is NBA-ready. That made him an optimal target for playoff teams.

The Indiana Pacers took Duarte with the 13th overall pick. Indiana barely missed the playoffs last season but they have the talent to return this season.

Duarte showed his all-around skill set in the Summer League. Check out his overall numbers from the four games.

  • 18.2 points
  • 4.0 rebounds
  • 3.8 assists
  • 2.5 steals
  • 1.8 blocks
  • 45.6 field goal percentage
  • 48.3 three-point percentage

It doesn’t get much better than that.

His defensive ability is an underrated aspect of his game. He made the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team last season and has averaged at least 1.2 steals in all four years of his career.

There’s no doubt that Duarte is ready to contribute now. I think the big thing right now is where he fits into the Pacers lineup.

Caris LeVert is the starting shooting guard but who will back him up? The depth chart currently has Jeremy Lamb ahead of Duarte. However, he has missed a combined 63 games over the last two seasons.

If Duarte can find a consistent role in the rotation, he can provide great value and win Rookie of the Year.

Sharife Cooper (+4000)

When you look at rookies on the Atlanta Hawks, Jalen Johnson probably stands out to most people as their Rookie of the Year candidate. However, I’m going in a different direction with Sharife Cooper.

Cooper committed to Auburn for the 2020-2021 season, but he had to sit out the first 12 games of the season because of an NCAA investigation. Once on the floor, Cooper lived up to the hype of a five-star recruit.

The 6’ 1” point guard went for 26 points, nine assists, and three steals in his game. He backed that up with his first of two double-doubles last season. In that game, he scored a season-high 28 points.

For the season, he averaged 20.2 points, 8.1 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.0 steals. He declared for the draft following his freshman year.

People viewed Cooper as a risky pick because of his poor shooting. He shot just 39.1 percent from the field and 22.8 percent from three-point range.

In the second round, the Atlanta Hawks ended Cooper’s slide, drafting him 48th overall. They signed him to a two-way contract, meaning he’ll split time between the NBA and G League.

However, Cooper’s play in the Summer League may lead to more time in the NBA.

He opened up the Summer League with 11 points and six assists. His next two games are where he really shined.

Stat Game 2 Game 3
Points 21 21
Assists 9 12
Field Goal % 8-14 (57.1) 9-18 (50.0)
Three-Point % 5-8 (62.5) 0-4 (0.0)

That 5-8 three-point shooting game is great to see. He never made more than three, three-pointers in a game at Auburn.

I like Johnson’s game but the reason I went with Cooper over him for Rookie of the Year is his path to playing time. Cooper’s biggest competition for the backup point guard role is Delon Wright.

Meanwhile, Johnson has to deal with three of four players at small forward and power forward.

Cooper is a raw player but he has the potential to show out on what should be a playoff team. If he plays well, he’ll receive much more exposure than other rookies.

That’s why he is my dark horse pick.

My Top Pick for 2021-22 NBA Rookie of the Year

There are a lot of options for 2021-22 NBA Rookie of the Year betting, but I’m going with Jalen Green.

I think he is the best player in this draft class and he is going to show it this season. He also has a clear path to a starting role and should star for the Houston Rockets.

For more 2021-22 NBA content, check out these articles.

Nicholas Sterling
Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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