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NBA Rookie of the Year Odds Update: Can Scottie Barnes Make a Late Push?

Evan Mobley still has the Rookie of the Year award on lockdown it would seem. But do recent injuries to the Raptors open the door for Scottie Barnes to make a late-season push?
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NBA Rookie of the Year Odds Update: Can Scottie Barnes Make a Late Push?

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Franz Wagner (+4000, Previous: +1600) (Bet $100 to Win $4000)

Well, it was a nice run at the award for Wagner. His season total still looks very nice, particularly for a rookie on a bad team. He is putting up 15.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.0 assists on 47% shooting. But the past month has not been a particularly good one for Wagner.

Coinciding with the return of Jalen Suggs, Wagner has scored more than 20 points just once since February 1st. In that timeframe, he averages just 14 points on 46% shooting, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. His net rating in that time is a -2.7 while the Magic continue to languish in last place in the Eastern Conference, including just 3-7 in their last 10.

The return of Suggs and the emergence of Wendell Carter and Cole Anthony as primary offensive options have left Wagner as the third option. Still, a 47%/36%/85% shooting slash line from a rookie is an astounding feat, and Wagner should be able to continue his improvement as an offensive weapon.

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Josh Giddey (+2200, Previous: +3200) (Bet $100 to Win $2200)

The combination of a serious hip injury plus the return of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander puts a dark cloud over any hope the exciting Giddey had of a late ROY push.

If Giddey has indeed shut down with the Thunder currently six games out of a playoff spot with 20 games to play, we should give Giddey his due for just how incredible his stat line was. On the season, Giddey is at 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game. There are five players this year who meet those thresholds:

James Harden, Dejounte Murray, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, and Giddey. (Russell Westbrook and LeBron James are fractions of a point away on rebounds and assists).

That shows you the class of players with whom Giddey finds himself. He needs to work on his shooting going into year two, but as a 19-year-old, there is plenty of room for improvement.

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Cade Cunningham (+1200, Previous: +800) (Bet $100 to Win $1200)

About three weeks ago, I wrote the following about Cunningham's chances at the ROY award:

"There are two numbers that, in the end, will hurt Cunningham's ROY chances the most: .419 and .226. That first number is Cunningham's field goal percentage over the last 16 games, as he is struggling to consistently put the ball in the basket. The second is the Pistons' winning percentage."

Since that time, Cunningham shot the ball worse than the previous stretch (40.8% from the field and 21.9% from three), and the Pistons have lost nine of their last 12 games. The scoring has actually gone up (17.9 points per game), but the efficiency has suffered. Combined with Barnes' recent hot stretch, Cunningham deservedly falls to third and likely out of contention for this award.

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Scottie Barnes (+1000, Previous: +800) (Bet $100 to Win $1000)

If Barnes wants this award, the time to make a move is now, and he is certainly taking advantage of the opportunity.

With OG Anunoby out with a finger injury and Fred VanVleet dealing with a nagging knee injury, Barnes has stepped into the spotlight in a big way. In the past three games, he averages 20.7 points on a crazy 75% shooting (including 50% from three), 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 2.3 steals. He is still playing crazy minutes as well. His 35.2 minutes per game is top-20 in the NBA.

This follows an uneven stretch of 12 games where Barnes scored just 13.8 points per game on 47% shooting with just 6.3 rebounds per game. Barnes has given us these hot stretches at times this season, but my belief is that this one may be too little, too late considering the strange-hold Mobley has on the award with less than six weeks to go.

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Evan Mobley (-550, Previous: -270) (Bet $550 to Win $100)

No one is going to mistake Evan Mobley for Magic Johnson in 1980 or Shaquille O'Neal in 1993. His numbers are just not that overpowering. But what sets Mobley apart from his rookie peers is his day-in, day-out consistency all season, especially as a 20-year-old.

Mobley is averaging 14.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game this season. But looking at his splits you see nothing but reliability. Since November, he has never had a month with less than 14.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, or 1.5 blocks per game. He is the co-owner of one of the league's toughest interior defenses alongside Jarrett Allen. And February was his worst shooting percentage month of the season at 48%.

Considering all the backcourt injuries they have endured, Mobley is a key reason the Cavaliers are still sitting top five in the East and have a shot at home court in the first round of the playoffs. Like we have said before, Mobley may not be the most lucrative bet you can make, but he certainly is one of the safest.

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Proudest husband and dad you will ever find. When I'm not with my wife and two kids I split my time working in higher ed, grinding DFS and season-long, collecting silver age comics, studying behavioral economics, and drinking coffee. I once played Pat Connaughton in an actual NBA DFS lineup for money. Astros, Rockets, and Texans for life.


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