Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero and Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray were the only two rookies represented on ESPN’s top 100 rankings released on Tuesday.
Over 200 individuals, including reporters, producers and analysts, were asked to rank players based on their predicted contributions for the 2022-23 season. The voters were asked to only take the upcoming season into account and how each player would perform.
Murray came in at No. 95 on the initial batch of rankings.
Why he could exceed his ranking in 2022-23: Murray trails only Orlando’s Paolo Banchero as the front-runners for Rookie of the Year honors and looks poised to make an immediate impact in the NBA after leading college basketball in scoring and winning MVP at summer league in Las Vegas. He’ll step right into an outsized role for the Kings and will play a huge part in whether Sacramento can make its first playoff appearance since 2006.
Meanwhile, Banchero was voted No. 82 by the panel.
Why he could exceed his ranking in 2022-23: Banchero is Caesars Sportsbook’s overwhelming favorite for Rookie of the Year honors, and for good reason. He brings tremendous scoring instincts and the ability to shoulder a significant offensive load, and he will be asked to play a featured role for an Orlando team that struggled to score last season. At 6-foot-10, 250 pounds with dynamic playmaking ability, he’ll be a mismatch at the NBA level from day one.
The two players each enter the season with the highest odds of winning Rookie of the Year with Banchero the favorite at plus-190 and Murray at plus-450. They each figure to see plenty of playing time for their respective teams and should be among the favorites to win.
The injury to Chet Holmgren was certainly a blow to the top of the draft class this year but Banchero along with the likes of Murray, Jabari Smith Jr. and Jaden Ivey should all have strong years. Of course, others down the draft board will also have the opportunity to stand out.
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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire