Keegan Murray or Paolo Banchero for NBA’s Rookie of the Year?

With the NBA training camp just around the corner, it is time to discuss preseason picks for Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player. It should be no surprise that the Orlando Magic’s first pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Paolo Banchero is the betting favorite to win 2022-2023 NBA Rookie of the Year.

The early odds for the Rookie of the Year honor in the 2022-23 season give the Magic’s rookie, Paolo Banchero a slight edge over Summer League MVP and Sacramento King’s, Keegan Murray.

Murray, however, will have the Hawkeye state backing him as the next Iowan superstar in the making. Will he join legends like Matt Bullard in the list of best NBA players from Iowa by ClutchBet in a few years? We will be hoping so.

Top Rookie Picks

Banchero led Duke to a berth in the Final Four before losing to rival North Carolina in the 2022 March Madness semifinals. His strong performance in the tournament boosted his draft stock, leading the Orlando Magic to pick him over the pre-draft favorite Jabari Smith and Chet Holmgren.

According to Forbes, “The Magic willingly allowed the narrative that Smith would go first to blossom and take hold around the league, such that even Banchero, had no idea what was coming until league Commissioner, Adam Silver was ready to call his name.”

Keegan Murray, picked fourth overall by the Sacramento Kings, was named MVP of the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas in July, improving his odds for league Rookie of the Year honors before the start of the season. He follows last year’s Summer League MVP Davion Mitchell as the newest King to win the award.

In his four Summer League games, Murray averaged 23.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.3 steals. He shot 50% from the field and an exciting 40% from

downtown. The Kings traded Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield in the off-season, which provides Murray an abundant opportunity for playing time this season.

Rounding out the list of favorites are the Houston Rockets Jabari Smith Jr., Detroit Piston’s Jaden Ivey, and the Indiana Pacers Benedict Mathurin.

Jabari Smith Jr. was the favorite to be the #1 pick in the 2022 NBA draft but fell to the #3 selection. As a freshman forward at Auburn, Smith helped to lead the team to their first-ever AP number one ranking and an SEC regular season championship.

At the end of his freshman season, Smith was named an All-American and won the USBWA National Freshman of the Year Award. He is the son of Jabari Smith, a former second-round NBA pick who played for the Sacrament Kings, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the New Jersey Nets. Smith Sr. showed off his basketball skills in Spain, Turkey, Iran, and Puerto Rico.

Holmgren, the 7-foot center from Gonzaga suffered a season-ending foot injury in a pro-am game in August.

Former Purdue shooting guard, Jaden Ivey joins Cade Cunningham, the 2021 top pick on the Detroit Pistons roster. In his final college season as a sophomore, Ivey averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game and was named to the First Team All-Big Ten as well as the All-American Second Team. Ivey and Cunningham in the same backcourt will be fun to watch next season.

You will get a little longer odds on former Arizona guard Benedict Mathurin, selected sixth by the Indiana Pacers. Mathurin, the No. 11 prospect in the ESPN 100, was Pac-12 Player of the Year and a consensus second-team All-American after averaging 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 33 minutes per game.

Final Thoughts

This talented crop of rookies is poised to become game changers this season. Last season the Rookie of the Year honor went to Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors.

Who is your pick to be the next standout star in 2023?

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