Zach Edey Soars in Rookie of the Year Odds Following Debut

  • Edey dropped 14 points and 15 rebounds in his Summer League debut
  • The Grizzlies defied expectations when they took Edey with the ninth pick
  • The first pick in the NBA draft is only third in Rookie of the Year odds
  • There isn’t much separation in odds between the top 13 ROTY candidates
Memphis Grizzlies logo
Zach Edey soared in odds to win the Rookie of the Year after a great start in the Summer League/ [Image: / Michael Tipton]

A strong start

Memphis Grizzlies rookie center Zach Edey only needed one Summer League game to soar to the top of the odds board for the Rookie of the Year (ROTY) award. 

now +700, second to only second-overall pick Alexandre Sarr

Edey, one of just two two-time NCAA National Player of the Year winners ever, was all the way down at +2500 to win ROTY when odds first went live. According to BetMGM, the 7-foot-4 rookie is now +700, second to only second-overall pick Alexandre Sarr at +600.

Is a market correction coming for Edey, or will he continue to ascend in one of the most perplexing Rookie of the Year races in recent NBA history? Let’s dive into the answer.

Zach Edey for Rookie of the Year

The Grizzlies surprised the basketball world by taking Edey with the ninth pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. He had a projected draft position of over/under 15.5 and was +250 to be drafted in the top 10.

Despite initial criticism, the Grizz’s front office received early vindication when Edey produced an outstanding performance in his first game of the summer league.

In 34 minutes, the 22-year-old went for 14 points (7-12 FG), 15 rebounds, and four blocks in a two-point loss to the Utah Jazz, who many believe has the best team in the Summer League. Edey also had a +1 in the box plus-minus, making him the only player in Memphis’ starting five to finish with a positive impact in the final score.

One of the most impressive components of Edey’s performance was that he was guarded by Walker Kessler, a 7-footer with two years of NBA experience and a regular member of the Jazz’s rotation.

Edey was the best player on the floor in a Grizzlies uniform

It’s also important to mention that on a team with GG Jackson, Jake LaRavia, and Scottie Pippen Jr., all players that got real minutes for Memphis last year, Edey was the best player on the floor in a Grizzlies uniform. 

Edey was priced at +1200 to win the Rookie of the Year award on June 26 and fell to +900 last Wednesday. That same day, BetMGM reported that 51.3% of the betting handle for ROTY was on Edey to win the award.

That’s along with 16% of total tickets, the second-highest amount behind only Bronny James (33.3 percent).

Rapid betting movement

The ascension of Zach Edey in Rookie of the Year odds should not come as a surprise, given his recent dominance at the college level. However, it does add yet another wrinkle to what was already a confusing year for upcoming rookies.

The 2024 NBA Draft class was considered one of the weakest in decades with potentially no All-Stars in the field. As proof, first-overall pick Zaccharie Risacher is +800 to win Rookie of the Year. That’s third behind Sarr and Edey, but only just ahead of Dalton Knecht (+900), the 17th pick in the draft. That means that the first pick is only 1.1 percent more likely to win Rookie of the Year than the 17th pick, according to the implied probability of betting odds.

another indication of how congested the rookie class is

A range of +1200 odds is all that separates the odds-on favorite (Sarr) from the 13th-most likely ROTY winner, Rob Dillingham (+1800). This is just another indication of how congested the rookie class is.

Edey will likely slot into the Grizz’s starting lineup, alongside Ja Morant, Marcus Smart, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr. But before he can do that, he and the Grizzlies have more business to attend to in the Summer League, starting with a Tuesday matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Zach Edey Rookie of the Year phenomenon will likely hit another level if he produces another strong performance against Philly, who beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-92 in their first game. Adem Bona, a center who is only 6-foot-8, will likely draw the assignment of guarding Edey.

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