The Los Angeles Lakers’ latest NBA Draft pick Lonzo Ball has brought new excitement to the struggling franchise. Selected second in Thursday’s draft by Los Angeles, Ball was officially named as the “face of the Lakers” by Magic Johnson at his introductory press conference a day later. With expectations running high, Ball is also being pegged as the frontrunner to win the 2017-18 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He’ll have some tough competition for his first year in the league, though, with two No. 1 draft picks in Philly also vying for the award.
According to a report from Hot New Hip Hop, the early NBA ROY odds have Lonzo Ball as the five to two favorite to win the award. He’s listed above last year’s No. 1 pick for the Sixers, Ben Simmons, and this year’s No. 1 pick for the Sixers, Markelle Fultz. Simmons has yet to play his first full season, while the Sixers are hoping their newest pick doesn’t suffer Simmons’ fate of being out for his first year. Basically, it shows just how high the expectations will be for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia Sixers’ teams in the coming season, as these are the young talents of the future.
After Ball, Simmons, and Fultz, De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings is a seven to one odds on favorite. He’s followed by a tie between Josh Jackson of the Phoenix Suns and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics, each of whom will have nine to one odds. Still, when looking at the list and the opportunities ahead, it seems hard to argue against one of the top three players on the list winning the award.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) June 23, 2017
One has to think in Philadelphia, Ben Simmons will have an edge this coming season. Despite being off the NBA court, he’s had a year to soak in all that is the professional league. Markelle Fultz will be thrust into that scene early, and it’s unknown if he’ll get to play the point position like in college based on the Sixers’ plans to use Simmons there. This past year saw two of the Sixers’ young stars emerge as frontrunners for the award with big man Joel Embiid and teammate Dario Saric both showcasing excellent seasons.
With Lonzo Ball, the pressure seems like it will be on from the start, but he was able to lead a UCLA Bruins team to the NCAA Tournament. He also has a dad who loves to make predictions often, such as his recent claim that his son will lead the Lakers to the playoffs – this coming season. It’s possible, but after seeing the trade that the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled off, the Western Conference looks jam-packed.
Lonzo isn’t known as a scorer like Markelle Fultz, but his overall stats in Los Angeles could help him win the award. With D’Angelo Russell cleared off the Lakers’ roster, it opens up plenty of opportunities for the Lakers’ newest young star to show what he’s capable of.
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