The 2020 NBA Draft took place on Wednesday night at ESPN, so we’ve got a brand new crop of rookies to pine over in the upcoming season. The Minnesota Timberwolves selected guard Anthony Edwards with the first overall pick in the draft. We’re going to take a look at his odds to win NBA Rookie of the Year in the 2020-21 season.
NBA Rookie of the Year odds
Anthony Edwards: +450
Edwards’ draft stock appeared to be on the downstroke when questions about his love of basketball and commitment to his craft arose, but his ROTY odds are only second to the Charlotte Hornets’ Lamelo Ball on DraftKings Sportsbook. There’s no doubt that Edwards has all the potential in the word. He has elite rookie talent but the players around him and his small window for preparation could hurt his chances of taking home the hardware.
D’Angelo Russell and Ricky Rubio are set Minnesota’s offense and Karl-Anthony Towns is easily the Timberwolves’ top scoring threat. Where does that leave Edwards? While can use his 6’5” frame to be physical, attempting to play small forward could be difficult. Rubio can hold his own on defense but Russell is known to be below average on that end of the floor. The Northwest Division isn’t oozing with talent at small forward, but asking the rookie to matchup up against players who are 6’8” and up like LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Brandon Ingram, and others alongside a suspect defensive backcourt could cause him to spend some time on the bench. Jarrett Culver and Josh Okogie aren’t out of the picture just yet.
Edwards’ greatest strength is his scoring, and he has a knack for knocking down tough shots. Minnesota has plenty of offense already though. Russell, KAT, and Malik Beasley all averaged more than 20 points per game last season. While Beasley could be moved to make way for Edwards’ development, he has shooting to space the floor that the rookie lacks. Edwards shot just 29 percent from deep in college. It’s likely that he’s improved his shooting over the last seven months but it takes more than that to become a sharpshooter.
Given Minnesota’s current roster, the Timberwolves could have to force the issue to make Edwards a major impact player in year one. He has two All-Star level player to compete with for shots and could be forced to test out a new position. Might not have enough versatility at this point to be the most impressive rookie in this class. I can’t say his ROTY case looks strong at this point. The top pick has won the award five times in the last decade.
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