We’re still five weeks out from Opening Day tipoff of the 2017-18 NBA season – so how about some idle speculation? With one of the most exciting rookie classes ever to join the league to be integrated this year, nearly every fan base has at least one guy currently wearing the “promising rookie” label that could bust out into superstardom. But only one can win the title of 2017-18 NBA Rookie of The Year.

Today, the Grueling Truth takes a look at some of the favorites and dark horses to win the NBA ROY for the upcoming season, with special reference to the odds. This list does not indicate the *best* and *worst* rookies of the Class of 2017, but rather the best value picks based on the lines; all odds are provided by

Good bets

Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers, 5/2
Remember this guy? The Australian citizen who put in an All-American season at LSU before getting drafted no. 1 overall and sitting out the entirety of 2016-17? Well, he’s back, and Kevin Durant, who most likely knows more about NBA basketball than anyone reading this, has Simmons marked as this rookie to watch for. Durant stated on a recent “B.S. Podcast” that merely being around an NBA team for a season will give him a tremendous leg up on the rest of the rookie class. Add in a 76ers squad boasting teammates like Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and the incoming Markelle Fultz, and Simmons certainly should not be wanting for opportunities.

De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings, 13/2
If positive attitude were a stat, DeAaron Fox would already be among the league’s leaders. Fox not only wowed fans with his handling of the ballyhooed Lonzo Ball in last year’s Kentucky-UCLA NCAA tournament game, but continued to impress in Summer League play. Like his frenemy Ball, Fox will be leading a cast of no-names this season; unlike Ball, expectations for Fox will be reasonable. As long as some voter is paying attention to the Sacramento Kings, Fox is absolutely a contender for an ROY nod.

Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Mavericks, 4/1
This line has been steadily decreasing since first realease, so *somebody*’s got faith in this kid, any why not? After playing nearly 35 minutes a game over 32 games plus tournaments in his sole year at North Carolina State, Smith averaged a line of 18.9 points, 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game. His average during Summer League 2017? Just 17.3/4.2/4.8! Okay, that’s only Summer League play – but just imagine when this guy has the still inexplicably nearly unstoppable Dirk Nowitzki to pass to…

Bad Bets

Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers, 5/2
Lonzo Ball has been gaining a lot of attention for his comment towards Nas but still, he’s a promising rookie who’s got a long road ahead of him. As a lifelong Lakers backer, I’m risking my fan membership card by listing the team’s would-be savior here. But I’m thinking that the weight of expectations will simply be too high for the young Ball in L.A. in 2017-18. The grueling truth is that Lebron James ain’t aboard yet and Ball’ll spend his season feeding dudes named Kyle Kuzma and Corey Brewer. Lonzo Ball may someday become Magic Johnson II, but here’s to thnking that doesn’t happen overnight.

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics, 8/1
Don’t get me wrong: Tatum looks primed to have a great season on the reconstructed Celtics. Coach Brad Stevens, who’s perhaps a championship appearance away from wide consideration as a basketball coaching genius, will certainly get max efficiency out of Tatum. But as opposed to, likesay, Fox or Ball, Tatum will not be given the keys to the Big Green Machine immediately this season – if ever, with an unabashed alpha dog like Kyrie Irving the focal point of the offense. Unless the ROY voters include intangibles, growth and potential as their three main criteria in judging, the 2018 award won’t be Tatum’s.

Malik Monk, Charlotte Hornets, 12/1
Monk was visibly disappointed when he didn’t land with the New York Knicks – and how many players can only claim this? – bypassed him on Draft Day, only to land the already-underrated Kentucky Wildcat on the ever-hapless Charlotte Hornets drafted him rather than the New York Knicks. Now that Monk’s landed in Charlotte, we may not hear from him in any real game-changing sense until 2020. And since when has Dwight Howard, summer of practicing a jumper or not, made *any* teammate a better player?

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