New York Knicks fans in attendance at the recent 2015 NBA Draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn reacted with disappointment upon the announcement of the Knicks’ much anticipated first-round selection.
While the fan faithful anticipated their club picking a familiar name like Justise Winslow of the Duke Blue Devils or Willie Cauley-Stein from the Kentucky Wildcats, many were surprised when the Knicks took relative unknown Kristaps Porzingis with the No. 4 overall selection.
The 7′ 1” Latvian spent the past three seasons with Seville of the Spanish Liga ACB, where he was heavily scouted by a number of NBA clubs that discovered a versatile and physical big man who can consistently hit from three-point territory.
The 19 year-old is expected to have an immediate impact on the Knicks fortunes next season and joins a fellow Knick prospect on the NBA player props betting odds as an intriguing 25/1 bet to earn NBA Rookie of the Year honors next season.
Jerian Grant took a much less direct route to a Knicks uniform on Draft Night.
The 22 year-old point guard, who earned Consensus first-team All-American honors last season while leading the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to the ACC Tournament title, was taken by the Knicks with the No. 19 selection after New York acquired the pick as part of a three-way deal that saw Tim Hardaway leave the Big Apple for the Atlanta Hawks, and No. 15 pick Kelly Oubre go to the nation’s capital.
The announcement of the acquisition of Grant was met with a roar by Knicks fans in attendance and puts two New York players in the 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year mix.
Indeed, the older and more experienced Grant holds the edge over Porzingis in NBA online props betting, with 22/1 odds.
Jahlil Okafor leads the way in early NBA rookie betting, pegged as a 15/4 favorite.
Selected third overall by the Philadelphia 76ers, the 6′ 11” center was named ACC Player of the Year last season before leading the Blue Devils to a national championship at this year’s March Madness.
Okafor is closely trailed by second overall pick D’Angelo Russell. The Los Angeles Lakers point guard was a standout for the Ohio State Buckeyes a year ago and is a strong 4/1 bet to be the top rookie in the NBA next season.
First overal pick Karl-Anthony Towns rounds out the front of the betting pack with 11/2 odds at the online sportsbook.
Taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Towns played a key role in Kentucky’s undefeated regular season, earning SEC Freshman of the Year honors.
The Denver Nuggets’ Emmanuel Mudiay, who played last season with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association sits at a strong 7/1, followed by Winslow, who was eventually taken by the Miami Heat, at 9/1.