NBA Futures 2022-23: Best NBA player futures picks and predictions - Paolo Banchero lives up to expectations

Orlando Magic rookie Paolo Banchero
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Germantas Kneita


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Like most Lithuanians, I started watching basketball from the age of six. I'm based out in London and played basketball at the University of Lincoln here in the UK. I had always had an interest in the NBA but things really took off in the summer of 2010. That year Linas Kleiza led Lithuania to 3rd place at the World Championships and signed with the Toronto Raptors to replace the departing Chris Bosh. I've been a Raptors fan since that day and I've not missed a game since. I've been handicapping games for more than a decade, specializing in player props. For Germantas Kneita media enquiries, please email
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With the NBA season just days away, it is a great time to look at the rest of the individual NBA awards left up for grabs. While the likes of the Sixth Man of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards are typically won by one type of player, there is always room for a surprise. Check out my favorite selections for these awards below.

Rookie of the Year – Paolo Banchero (+200)

The #1 pick in this year’s draft is the favorite to claim the Rookie of the Year crown, and rightfully so. He will be coming into a young Orlando Magic that was 29th in the league in the league in scoring last season. They are in need of a scoring punch and Banchero’s polished offensive game should be able to provide it. He is the future of the franchise which should ensure no shortage of minutes and field goal attempts. Do not be surprised to see him averaged upwards of 18 points and 10 rebounds per night. That is something that would put him in great standing in this race.

Other key contenders are Jaden Ivey (+460), Keegan Murray (+460) and Jabari Smith (+600). While Murray was able to win the NBA Summer League MVP trophy, he will find himself in a Sacramento Kings offense that will be dominated by Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox. On the other hand Ivey and Smith will go into teams dominated by young, star guards in Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green. Banchero fills the biggest need on his team of all leading rookies.

New to NBA betting? Check out our NBA betting guide

Defensive Player of the Year – Anthony Davis (+2000)

There is no doubt that this award is dominated by big men. Marcus Smart was the first guard to win it since Gary Payton in 1996. A repeat for Smart (+2400) seems unlikely. Rudy Gobert (+400) is a clear favorite to win the award for the 4th time in his career. But there are question marks surrounding him this season. For one he will be on a new team and getting used to a new defensive system. He will also find himself playing next to another big in Karl-Anthony Towns, a pairing which may take time to gel. That could open up the door for another big to win the trophy.

Health permitted, Anthony Davis should be in the mix. Last season the center averaged 1.2 steals and 2.2 blocks per game, along with 9.8 rebounds. With the way the Los Angeles Lakers roster in constructed, Davis will likely find himself spending more time at center. That should help him see an uptick in his rebounding and block numbers. Following the disappointment of last season, I expect the Lakers to come out really determined this year. Davis should be the one responsible for anchoring their defense. He certainly has the defensive instincts to throw his name in the mix.

Check out our pick for the NBA MVP winner this upcoming season

Most Improved Player – Tyrese Haliburton (+2500)

This one is a notoriously difficult award to predict. Anthony Edwards (+850) is the favorite to win it this year. He averaged 21.3 points per game this season and would need to involve into one of the league’s leading scorers to win this trophy. With Towns and D’Angelo Russell still on the Minnesota Timberwolves roster, he may not get the field goal opportunities to do just that.

Tyrese Haliburton should not have similar issues, having essentially been given the keys to the Indiana Pacers franchise. We have already seen what he can do with that added responsibility. After joining them mid-season, he saw his numbers jump to 17.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. After a summer of developing, there is no reason to suggest he could not push those numbers to over 20 points and 10 assists per night. That might be a compelling enough reason to hand Haliburton the MIP award.

Lock in our NBA Championship winner best bets, including a +2500 longshot

Sixth Man of the Year – Jordan Poole (+450)

The favorite for the Sixth Man of the year Trophy is defending NBA champion Jordan Poole. The guard averaged 18.5 points per game last season. If he replicates something similar this year, he should be in line to win the award — which has been dominated by scoring guards in recent years, and Poole certainly fits that bill. With the Warriors defending their NBA crown, do not be surprised to see load management playing a big role in their regular season. That should mean the likes of Klay Thompson see a reduction in minutes to try and avoid a reassurance of past injuries. Young players like Poole will be the ones who will benefit the most.

With defending Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro (+1000) seemingly moving into the starting lineup for the Miami Heat, Poole is the most explosive guard left to come off the bench this coming season. He deserves to be odds-on favorite and represents very good value.

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