Haliburton is gaining ground in NBA Rookie of the Year odds
After LaMelo Ball’s injury in March, it appeared as though the NBA Rookie of the Year award would go to Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Anthony Edward by default. However, this race is far from over.
Edwards is still favored to take home the honor, but Kings point guard Tyrese Haliburton is hot on his tail.
NBA Rookie of the Year 2020/2021
Mon, July 19 2021, 6:00 AM
Moving on up
Haliburton has seen his odds of winning the NBA Rookie of the Year award consistently improve since the turn of the New Year. On Jan. 6, Haliburton was a +500 longshot to take home ROY honors. On Feb. 1, his odds were sitting at +350. He is now sitting at +200, just barely sitting behind Ball and Edwards.
On the season, Haliburton is averaging 12.8 points, 5.0 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game. He is also shooting 47.5% from the field, 41.1% from three, and 84.4% from the free-throw line.
In the second half of March, the Kings won seven of eight games, and Haliburton was a big reason why. In those eight games, he averaged 15.8 points, 4.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 0.4 blocks per game. He also shot 51.1% from the field, 42.5% from three, and 92.9% from the free-throw line during that stretch.
Sacramento's losing streak could cost Haliburton
Unfortunately the Kings haven't been quite as good this month. Sacramento is mired in a nine-game losing streak dating back to March 31. It's hard to stay in an award race when your team is constantly losing. Haliburton has increased his assists and steals averages, but decreased his points and rebounds averages since this losing streak began.
Of the three contenders, Haliburton does have the best shooting percentages by a large margin. He also had one of the better winning percentages, but that is starting to slip with the Kings' recent struggles. If Haliburton does not put up some much bigger numbers down the stretch, it is going to be hard to get votes over the likes of Ball and Edwards.
LaMelo is down, but not out
LaMelo Ball may be injured and only has only played 41games, but he still has a lot of ammunition in his argument for NBA Rookie of the Year. He has by far the best winning percentage of the contenders with a win/loss record of 20-21. He also has the best overall numbers, averaging 15.9 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game.
Ball still has a chance to return before the end of the regular season, and the Charlotte Hornets are in the midst of a heated playoff race. If Ball returns and helps lead the Hornets into the postseason, it will be hard to overlook him for this award.
Hard to bet against Edwards
Ultimately, Edwards is the favorite for a reason. The Wolves' shooting guard is averaging 18.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game on the season, and has been putting up 23.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game since the beginning of March.
The Timberwolves are 8-14 during that period, but that's actually an improvement on their overall winning percentage of 26.3%. Haliburton simply can't compete with Edwards' impressive output, especially while Sacramento continues to stumble.
Unless Ball returns, the smart money is on Edwards.