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Updated NBA Rookie of the Year Odds

Andrew Wiggins' switch to Minnesota makes him a viable early option for ROY honors.

Andrew Wiggins’ switch to Minnesota makes him a viable early option for ROY honors.

After luring hometown hero LeBron James back to the Forest City, the Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t need to secure Kevin Love’s services to be considered the bookmakers’ favorite to win the 2015 NBA championship.

Nevertheless, Dan Gilbert and company made the move to bring Love to Cleveland and watched as the team’s odds shortened further.

At the time of writing, the Cavaliers are considered 5/2 favorites, ahead of the second place San Antonio Spurs at 4/1.

Love’s arrival in Cleveland did something else though.

Love’s arrival has made Andrew Wiggins even more relevant.

While the focus on the three-way trade that sent Love to Cleveland and Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves has mainly been aimed at how it impacts the Cavaliers, the future of the 19-year-old was greatly altered in the move, and potentially for the good.

Having been prepared to play in the shadow of the world’s best player, Wiggins arrives in Minneapolis knowing that he will now be the focal point of a young and talented team, a young and team that hasn’t relished the taste of the postseason since 2004. With this comes a steep learning curve.

Had the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft remained in Cleveland, his transition to the NBA would almost certainly have been managed at a steady rate, with the talent level and experience of his compatriots cushioning the marked jump from college to the pros.

With the Timberwolves, Wiggins will be expected to handle a heavy load early and often. Sure, he’ll get support from the likes of Ricky Rubio, Corey Brewer and Thaddeus Young – making his way to the team via the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the Love trade – but make no bones about it, this is Wiggins’ team.

Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen.

There have been plenty of cases of rookies shining bright. There are also plenty of examples of rookies failing to deliver. Then there are those examples of players that flourished thanks to prolonged learning. We won’t know which group Wiggins falls into until later in the season, or even next season.

For bettors though, Wiggins’ switch lends itself to an interesting scenario relating to rookie of the year honors.

At the time of writing, the shooting guard out of Kansas is considered 5/1 to be picked as the cream of this year’s new crop. Those odds would have been distinctly lengthier had he been playing as a cog in the Cavaliers’ machine and not a catalyst in the Timberwolves’ engine.

Only Jabari Parker, picked No. 2 in the draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, has shorter odds. The former Duke man is considered 4/1.

Like Wiggins, Parker is in a play-and-perform-now type of scenario in Wisconsin. The Bucks drafted the 19-year-old forward hoping that he would have an instant impact, first and foremost helping the club climb out of the NBA cellar, and eventually securing the franchise’s future in Brew City.

Parker, and now Wiggins, both make sensible choices for bettors wanting to put cash down on the 2015 Rookie of the Year award. Both will enjoy plenty of playing time, and have the chance to spearhead their respective teams.

The same could be true of Nerlens Noel in Philadelphia.

After missing all of last year with a knee injury, the 2012 Kentucky standout looks set to get a good run out with a side that already looks disinterested in having a successful year. This past season, Michael Carter-Williams earned rookie of the year honors with the very same Sixers. Noel could very well do the same.

Noel is currently listed at 15/2 to win the award, putting him in a tie for third place on the list.

Sitting right beside Noel is his 2013 counterpart, Julius Randle. Randle is an intriguing prospect as far as his rookie season goes.

Drafted seventh overall by the Los Angeles Lakers, Randle finds himself in a situation that could go either way. If new Lakers coach Byron Scott decides to give the 19-year-old a sustained run out, he could become the day-to-day power forward for the purple and gold side. But if Scott prefers experience over youth and opts for Carlos Boozer (likely) or Ed Davis, Randle could have a frustrating year. That makes him a risk for bettors.

The current list of top five rookies, according to online sportsbook Bovada, is completed by Doug McDermott.

After a standout year at Creighton, the 22-year-old was selected in the first round by the Chicago Bulls with the 11th pick. Like Randle, McDermott isn’t exactly entering a scenario suited to winning rookie of the year.

With the return of Derrick Rose, the arrival of Pau Gasol and the emergence of both Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, the Bulls are expected to contend again this year. That means McDermott’s minutes will be limited, and when it comes to impressing the judges, minutes mean (nearly) everything. Bettors should avoid McDermott then.

You can find a full list of Bovada’s 2015 Rookie of the Year odds below.

Bet on the 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year

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