The 2014-15 NBA Rookie of the Year race feels pretty wide-open. This was one of the deeper classes of recent memory, and there are multiple talented young players who should receive heavy minutes this year. This could break a few different ways.
For the sake of this exercise, we'll rank the five rookies with the best odds of winning Rookie of the Year and explain why opportunity can be just as important as talent when it comes to this award.
Before we get to our list, let's look at a few players who didn't make the cut.
Los Angeles Lakers rookie Julius Randle missed the list, primarily because the power forward position is a little crowded for the Lakers (Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis, Jordan Hill and Ryan Kelly could all get minutes there) and because Randle doesn't have the jumper to put up big scoring numbers quite yet.
Chicago Bulls rookie Doug McDermott was left off, as Tom Thibodeau typically doesn't like to give rookies big minutes right off the bat. McDermott should be a nice bench scorer, but since he'll be playing almost exclusively at the 3 instead of the 4, the other stats (rebounding and blocks) might not be up to par.
Boston Celtics rookie Marcus Smart has a bright future as a box-score filler, but playing time behind Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley may be scarce and his jumper might not be quite ready yet, either.
Let's take a look at the five players with the best odds of winning Rookie of the Year.