Rookie card prospectors are looking for as much information as possible as they make their decisions on who to invest in for the 2017-18 NBA season, which tips off next week. Whether you choose to go along with the crowd or chart your own course is up to you, but it’s interesting to note what those who make their living in sports are thinking.
The annual survey of NBA general managers points to the player most collectors have been talking about. When asked who would win this year’s Rookie of the Year award, the top choice was Lakers guard Lonzo Ball, who was tabbed on 62% of the ballots.
Sports books will take action on just about anything and Rookie of the Year voting is a popular futures wager this time of year. The UCLA product is also the top choice on the board among analysts who install the early numbers.
MyTopSportsBooks.com, which bills itself as an unbiased information source for those who like to wager online, has Ball listed as a 7-2 favorite to be the rookie with the best start to his NBA career.
Ball’s rookie cards have been the biggest online movers among the early season products. The second choice among GMs and the betting analysts is a guy whose career was supposed to have started last year. Ben Simmons of the 76ers missed the 2016-17 season so he’ll be considered a rookie this year. Simmons was named on 24% of those in the GM survey.
Dennis Smith of the Mavericks was the third choice by both groups with Jayson Tatum of the Celtics and D’Aaron Fox of the Kings receiving a few mentions. The GMs had some different rankings when it came to picking the rookie who would be considered the best player from this year’s draft five years down the road. That balloting looked like this:
1. Josh Jackson, Phoenix – 24%
2. Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia – 21%
Jayson Tatum, Boston – 21%
4. Lonzo Ball, L.A. Lakers – 14%
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia – 14%
The general managers’ top pick for MVP was LeBron James, who was named on one of every two ballots. The sports book analysts preferred Kawhi Leonard (11/2 odds), a slight favorite this year over James (6/1). Kevin Durant was the second choice among the GMs and third pick by My Top Sportsbooks at 8/1.
The GMs also offered their choices for top breakout players, so if you’re looking at picking up some rookie cards from the last few years, Karl-Anthony Towns was chosen on 21% of ballots with Kristaps Porzingis and Myles Turner tied for second choice at 14%.