No player wearing a New York Knicks jersey has won NBA Rookie of the Year in over three decades.
But a 21-year-old rookie is turning heads in the Big Apple and making believers out of the Madison Square Garden faithful.
Admittedly a long shot, Knicks point guard Immanuel Quickley is a top-four candidate to take home the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy this season.
NBA Rookie of the Year odds shift at DraftKings
Until recently, LaMelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets looked like a near-lock to walk away with ROY honors. That was before going down with a season-ending wrist injury.
How sure a thing, you ask?
Well, DraftKings Sportsbook decided to payout all of the previously placed Ball ROY tickets.
Here is what Johnny Avello, director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, had to say about the news:
“LaMelo [Ball] has been sensational for the Hornets and exceeded expectations, so the loss of this budding star for the rest of the season is disappointing for Charlotte, the league and fans alike,”
“The clear frontrunner for NBA Rookie of the Year all season, LaMelo’s odds to win the honor moved from 1-5 pre-injury to 11-5 in the aftermath. That said, we will be paying out all LaMelo Ball Rookie of the Year bets placed prior to March 22nd as winners even if this injury costs him the award.”
However, the NBA ROY futures market remains open. And Quickley is one of the players who had a significant odds shift following the Ball injury:
- Anthony Edwards 10-1 to 5-9
- Immanuel Quickley 25-1 to 10-1
- Tyrese Haliburton 5-1 to 3-1
Quickley’s odds are +2000 (20-1) as of March 30, which still gives him the fourth-best odds.
Making a Quickley case for NBA Rookie of the Year
Quickley was not supposed to be the Knicks’ star rookie this season. Those expectations were on the eighth overall pick in last year’s draft, forward Obi Toppin.
But Quickley — two years younger than Toppin — is the more NBA-ready rookie on the Knicks roster, at the moment.
The former Kentucky Wildcat was drafted 25th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was moved to New York on Draft Night as part of a multi-team package.
Quickley got hurt in the team’s season opener and missed the next four games. He has played in 42 games, averaging 20 minutes per.
Among NBA rookies this season Quickley is fourth in points per game (12.8), 10th in assists per game (2.3), and third in free-throw percentage (88.8%).
Top of the 2020 class
For much of the 2020-21 NBA season, Ball has been the frontrunner to win Rookie of the Year.
Even after suffering a season-ending wrist injury, Ball still has a chance to win ROY. His odds range from +175 to +210 via NJ sports betting apps.
Edwards of Minnesota Timberwolves has emerged as the ROY favorite at most NJ sportsbooks. Edwards was the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. He was -139 at DraftKings and -110 at FanDuel Sportsbook as of Tuesday afternoon.
Haliburton of the Sacramento Kings still has the third-best odds to win ROY. He was +200 at DraftKings and +170 at FanDuel.
Quickley is +1600 at FanDuel.
New York Knicks and ROY winners
In the franchise’s storied history only three New York Knicks players have won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
Willis Reed (1964-65) and Patrick Ewing (1985-86) are both Hall of Famers. Reed led the Knicks to their only two NBA Championships in 1970 and 1973.
Mark Jackson earned ROY honors in 1987-88 while playing for the Knicks.
So like the Knicks’ odds of winning an NBA title, the chances of it happening again are improving, but the potential payout on Quickley is far from a sure thing.