Shortly after being selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the ninth overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, point guard Dennis Smith Jr. made it clear to an ESPN audience that his goal is to become the league’s rookie of the year.
Mavericks’ officials extolled the potential of the North Carolina State product during a Thursday-night news conference.
As of Friday morning, Bovada Sports Book listed Smith among its top seven favorites to earn NBA Rookie of the Year honors for the 2017-18 season. Smith received 16-1 odds to claim the award, matching the odds assigned to fellow Thursday draftees Jonathan Isaac (Orlando, No. 6 pick) and Malik Monk (Charlotte, No. 11 pick).
The favorite’s role, per the oddsmaker, went to point guard Lonzo Ball, the No. 2 overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ball received 5-2 odds to emerge as the top rookie, placing ahead of two teammates with the Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons (3-1 odds), the top selection in the 2016 draft who did not play in an NBA game last year because of injury, and Markelle Fultz (5-1 odds), the top overall pick in Thursday’s draft.
Two other players ranked ahead of Smith in the rookie race, both of them receiving 9-1 odds after Thursday selections: Josh Jackson (No. 4 pick, Phoenix) and De’Aaron Fox (No. 5 pick, Sacramento).
Rounding out the top 10 favorites in the top rookie race, per Bovada, was forward John Collins (No. 19 pick, Atlanta). Collins received 20-1 odds.