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NBA Rookie of the Year update: Should Cade be even with Mobley, Barnes?

We take a look at updated betting splits for NBA Rookie of the Year on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Evan Mobley #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers plays against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on November 27, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Magic 105-92. Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

The 2021-22 NBA season may give us one of the more exciting Rookie of the Year races in recent memory. Last season, LaMelo Ball’s injury almost held him back, but the Charlotte Hornets guard was able to return with enough time to beat out Anthony Edwards. So far this season, we’ve seen multiple players as the favorite to win Rookie of the Year. We’ve got some updated betting splits via DraftKings Sportsbook. Let’s break it down.

NBA Rookie of the Year 2021 betting splits

Right now, the overwhelming amount of bets and money is on Detroit Pistons G/F Cade Cunningham to win. He missed the first few weeks of the season but has started the past 15 games. Cunningham’s stats appear to be OK but his efficiency isn’t there at all. He’s averaging 13 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game on 33/24/86 shooting splits. The 3-point shot is the biggest knock for Cade so far. Plus, the fact the Pistons are awful and will likely finish at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

If Detroit isn’t competitive, how does Cunningham win without absolutely blowing us away with his production? It just doesn’t feel like he should be that high up on the board right now. Last season is a good example of why Ball beat out Edwards. The Hornets made the play-in tournament and Ball’s stats and efficiency were much better. He improved the players around him and elevated them. Cunningham has done that and will continue to do that this season, but to the point where the Pistons are competitive? Probably not.

One player who has done that is Evan Mobley with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Mobley was the betting favorite for a bit before he got injured and Cunningham got a few weeks under his belt. Mobley still feels like the favorite given the Cavs’ improvement and his impact on the team. He’s started 17 games, averaging 14 points, 8 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting close to 50 percent from the floor and 31 percent from distance. Mobley is also making a big impact on defense with almost 2.0 blocks per game. He’s a big reason why the Cavaliers will likely compete for a playoff spot and spot in the play-in tournament this season.

The other name even with Mobley and Cunningham is former favorite Scottie Barnes, who started off the season hot for the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors have since fallen out of favor in the East but that is mostly due to injuries and lack of depth, not Barnes’ play. The former Florida State forward is averaging 15 points and 8 rebounds with similar shooting splits to Mobley. Both Barnes and Mobley have been way more efficient than Cunningham, yet the No. 1 pick who is a bit more flashy is getting the most love.

Who should you pick to win NBA Rookie of the Year?

My preseason pick was Mobley. It felt like Jalen Green and Cunningham were the trendy picks and Mobley was always my favorite prospect coming out of USC. He’s the prototypical stretch big who can guard multiple positions and do a bit of everything. It appears his defense is far more advanced than we thought, which is a plus. Mobley was also my pick not knowing he would help the Cavs improve to contend for a playoff spot. It’s a long season but the way the League is formatted gives more teams a chance at getting in.

My lean remains Mobley, followed by Barnes and Cunningham. If Cade drops down in the odds race, it doesn’t mean he’s getting more value, it means he’s losing steam in the conversation. If Mobley or Barnes were to drop down, I think it would have less to do with their play and more to do with Cunningham having some fluky triple-double in a 20-point loss to the Bucks or something. If Mobley can stay healthy, he feels like the best pick at the moment.

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