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NBA Rookie Report
NBA Rookie Report

Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

March 14, 2023

Last week, I examined three players’ stocks who were worth buying after downward market trends. Two of them were rookies (Jaden Ivey and Keegan Murray) which made me want to take a closer look at some other promising rookies. 

Top pick Paolo Banchero has been an absolute beast this season and looks like a lock to win Rookie of the Year, but he has some competition from an unexpected source out in Oklahoma City. Two more top-10 picks round out our trio of rookies as we do a deep dive on their share prices and how to approach them as a bettor.

If this is your first time using Mojo, welcome! Mojo is an innovative Sports Stock Market that allows you to bet on a player’s entire career or nightly with our Single-Game Props. The market is powered by Liquid Trading giving you the ability to trade in and out in real time at fair market value.

You can buy a stock when it’s at its lowest and sell for a profit when it begins to rise, or you can play the long game and invest in an up-and-coming star. 

What do you think? Are you in on these rookies, or do their current share prices make them overvalued? Hit me up on Twitter @ZaktheMonster and let me know!

Jalen Williams, $128.33

“Jay Dub,” “Bronco,” call him whatever you want, but this man has been balling! Williams has played a significant role in Oklahoma City’s rotation all season, but his production over the last month has been very impressive. 

Since February 7, Williams leads all rookies in points per game at 20.0. In that span, he’s also averaged 5.2 boards, 4.6 dimes, 2.3 steals and 1.5 triples while shooting 56.3% from the floor. 

His elite two-way production should have bettors licking their chops, even after his stock has ballooned by $21.75 (20%) over the last month. That price is surely still on the rise, so bet on Williams now so you don’t miss out on one of the most promising young players in the game.

Jalen Duren, $99.23

What are we to do with Duren? He started the season coming off the bench in limited minutes before quickly finding rotation minutes and eventually took over the starting center job in Detroit. He caught fire in an expanded role and had the best game of his career last month against the Spurs with 30 points, 17 rebounds, and four blocks.

Unfortunately, the Pistons traded for James Wiseman at the deadline and Duren’s minutes have taken a hit. In five games together, Duren has logged just 22.5 minutes per game to Wiseman’s 24.9. However, this could be the perfect opportunity to Go Long on Duren when his price is still reasonable and minutes slightly down. 

Duren just turned 19 in November and is truly one of the best athletes in the Association. He’s been the recipient of many rim-rattling lobs, both in the halfcourt and getting out on fast breaks, and is a menace on the defensive end with his length, leaping ability, and strength. He is certainly a better player with more potential than Wiseman, and the market agrees.

Wiseman might seem like a fly in the ointment for now, but he’s actually keeping Duren’s price depressed, which is great news for you.

We’re talking rookies, but the front court situation in Detroit is fascinating, and I would be remiss if I failed to mention Isaiah Stewart too.

Stewart has been sidelined for the Pistons’ last four contests with a shoulder injury and is  likely done for the season. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see his role reduced in 2023-24 in favor of more minutes for Duren and Wiseman. Marvin Bagley is still under contract for two more seasons as well, making Stewart’s path to significant minutes a difficult one. Don’t bet on him.

Jabari Smith, $111.70

Talk about an up-and-down season! Smith started out hot before cooling down for a significant stretch of the season with many questioning his long-term potential. With less than a month to play, the No. 3 pick in the 2022 draft is heating up again, and I think you should Go Long on him before his price rises even further.

On the season, Smith has averaged 12.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists to go with 0.9 blocks and 1.6 triples. He’s flashed his tremendous upside as a three-and-D center with a strong block rate and 3PT%, an incredibly valuable role. Just ask Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brook Lopez! 

Smith’s shooting has been a weak spot this season, but he certainly wouldn't be the first rookie to struggle with efficiency. Positive regression will come in that department.

Smith currently sits between Keldon Johnson and Kyle Kuzma in stock price, but there’s a clear path for his future earnings to shoot way up, especially if he can improve his shooting and get more consistent on defense.

As of now, he’s turned in three straight double-doubles, averaging 24.7 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.3 blocks and 3.3 triples in that span. He’s the first teenager EVER to pull that off!

Any player can get hot for a brief stretch, but we’ve seen Smith’s phenomenal upside already, and this latest offering is just a teaser of things to come. Go Long now, and thank me later.

Prices are current as of 3/14/23 at 1:00 PM
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