When Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball suffered a fractured wrist back on March 20, fans and experts thought that was the end of his NBA Rookie of the Year campaign. However, there’s a good chance that he could return sooner than expected.
According to recent reports, Ball has had his cast taken off and could return to the Hornets’ lineup within the next 7-10 days. If that’s true, Hornets fans should be thrilled because their team could really use his help.
The Hornets have gone 8-8 since LaMelo Ball left the lineup, however, they’ve lost five of their last six games. In other words, they could use his offensive boost in the lineup. Ball was averaging 15.9/5.9/6.1 on .451/.375/.789 shooting splits before his injury.
According to BetOnline, Ball is favored to be the league’s top rookie at -325 odds. His chances could improve if he shows no signs of rust right out of the gate. After all, the Hornets have about 15 games left to play and are battling for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. If Ball can come in and help them lock that spot down, he’s likely to remain the NBA Rookie of the Year favorite.
Odds to Win 2020-21 NBA Rookie of the Year Award
Odds via BetOnline as of Wednesday, April 21
- LaMelo Ball (-325)
- Anthony Edwards (+180)
- Tyrese Haliburton (+750)
- Immanuel Quickley (+6600)
Can Edwards Still Win?
When Ball was first injured, Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards’ odds to be NBA Rookie of the Year improved to -175. However, with the news of Ball’s possible return, his odds are now +180. Edwards has looked impressive this season, leading all rookies with 18.3 points per game. While that bodes well for him, he could be playing more efficiently, as he’s shooting 40% from the field and 32.3% from three-point range.
Even if Ball comes back, Edwards can still win the award if the former can’t get things going in the final 10 or so games. However, one thing that could hold Edwards back is the fact that he’s on the Timberwolves. With a 16-43 record, they are the second-worst team in the league. If Ball is back and helps the Hornets make the NBA postseason, that could hurt Edwards’ odds of winning the award.
Haliburton, Quickley Chasing NBA Rookie of the Year Award
He might not get all of the national attention like Edwards and Ball do, but Tyrese Haliburton (+750) has been having a good season for the Sacramento Kings. He’s near the top of the leaderboard among all rookie stats, including points (12.5, 3rd) assists (5.0, 2nd) per game and total steals (68, T-1st). Unfortunately, the Kings are seven games back from a playoff spot, which may hurt Haliburton’s chances against the league’s rookies who average better stats than him.
On the other hand, there’s also New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley. At +6600 odds, he remains a long shot to win NBA Rookie of the Year, but stranger things have happened. Quickley is averaging a modest 11.6/2.3/2.1 on 19.3 minutes per game. His average minutes played could hold back his chances, especially because they make his stats look less impressive than his peers upon first glance.
However, Quickley has been a big part of the Knicks’ success this season. They’re currently 32-27, sitting fifth in the East. If they can keep it up for the rest of the season, that could earn Quickley some Rookie of the Year voting points.