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Could Hughes Become 1st Jazz Rookie of the Year since ’81? He Can Dream

Fresh off the 2020 NBA Draft, Hornets pick LaMelo Ball was installed by most sportsbooks as the favorite to win next season’s Rookie of the Year.

Ball went #3 overall, should play a prominent role in the offense and brings professional experience overseas. Ball has been listed as an early +400 frontrunner with the special Wlliam Hill promo offer, who have priced 34 of the top names expected to compete for ROY.

That contingent doesn’t include Syracuse’s own Elijah Hughes, who was drafted 39th overall by the Jazz via a trade with the Pelicans.

The 6’6” wing will likely start as a rotational piece, not only because of the 2nd Round status but also because the Jazz are a very good team, but he may become an important player under coach Quin Snyder.

Jazz rookies don’t have a great history. Darrell Griffith is the only ROY-winner the franchise has produced, and that was all the way back in the 1980-81 season. Griffith was the #2 pick in 1980, but Hughes can dream considering it was only three years ago that Malcolm Brogdon surprised from No. 36 to tops in the rookie class.

2020-21 NBA ROTY Odds (Top 15)

LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets): +400

Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves): +450

Obi Toppin (New York Knicks): +600

James Wiseman (Golden State Warriors): +600

Killian Hayes (Detroit Pistons): +700

Deni Avdija (Washington Wizards): +1400

Tyrese Haliburton (Sacramento Kings): +1400

Onyeka Okongwu (Atlanta Hawks): +1600

Isaac Okoro (Cleveland Cavaliers): +1600

Kira Lewis Jr. (New Orleans Pelicans): +3300

Patrick Williams (Chicago Bulls): +3300

RJ Hampton (Denver Nuggets): +5000

Aleksej Pokusevski (Oklahoma City Thunder): +5000

Immanuel Quickley (New York Knicks): +5000

Devin Vassell (Seattle Supersonics): +5000

Odds via DraftKings.

Hughes will get to make use of his considerable three-point upside in Salt Lake City, with Utah boasting the best three-point percentage of any team in the NBA last season (38%). At times Hughes was asked to do too much with SU and faltered. That won’t ever be the case for the Jazz, a contender in the West.

He’ll join two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Golbert and 2019-20 All-Star Donovan Mitchell for starters, while the return of Bojan Bogdanovic will spark the team’s hopes of making it back to the playoffs.

Hughes hasn’t been included in the initial Rookie of the Year odds for a reason, and it would be a feat for him to even gain a pricing this season. 

That being said, fans also shouldn’t discount the sizeable room for growth of a player who will be largely free of pressure. There’s always Vegas dreamers, baby. Sixtieth pick Woody Sauldsberry once won it – 63 years ago with the Philadelphia Warriors.

SeasonPlayerTeamDraft PositionDraft Year
1980–81Darrell GriffithUtah Jazz21980
1981–82Buck WilliamsNew Jersey Nets31981
1982–83Terry CummingsSan Diego Clippers21982
1983–84Ralph SampsonHouston Rockets11983
1984–85Michael JordanChicago Bulls31984
1985–86Patrick EwingNew York Knicks11985
1986–87Chuck PersonIndiana Pacers41986
1987–88Mark JacksonNew York Knicks181987
1988–89Mitch RichmondGolden State Warriors51988
1989–90David RobinsonSan Antonio Spurs11987
1990–91Derrick ColemanNew Jersey Nets11990
1991–92Larry JohnsonCharlotte Hornets11991
1992–93Shaquille O’NealOrlando Magic11992
1993–94Chris WebberGolden State Warriors11993
1994–95[c]Jason KiddDallas Mavericks21994
1994–95[c]Grant HillDetroit Pistons31994
1995–96Damon StoudamireToronto Raptors71995
1996–97Allen IversonPhiladelphia 76ers11996
1997–98Tim DuncanSan Antonio Spurs11997
1998–99Vince CarterToronto Raptors51998
1999–00[c]Elton BrandChicago Bulls11999
1999–00[c]Steve FrancisHouston Rockets21999
2000–01Mike MillerOrlando Magic52000
2001–02Pau GasolMemphis Grizzlies32001
2002–03Amar’e StoudemirePhoenix Suns92002
2003–04LeBron JamesCleveland Cavaliers12003
2004–05Emeka OkaforCharlotte Bobcats22004
2005–06Chris PaulNew Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets42005
2006–07Brandon RoyPortland Trail Blazers62006
2007–08Kevin DurantSeattle SuperSonics22007
2008–09Derrick RoseChicago Bulls12008
2009–10Tyreke EvansSacramento Kings42009
2010–11Blake GriffinLos Angeles Clippers12009
2011–12Kyrie IrvingCleveland Cavaliers12011
2012–13Damian LillardPortland Trail Blazers62012
2013–14Michael Carter-WilliamsPhiladelphia 76ers112013
2014–15Andrew WigginsMinnesota Timberwolves12014
2015–16Karl Anthony-TownsMinnesota Timberwolves12015
2016–17Malcolm BrogdonMilwaukee Bucks362016
2017–18Ben SimmonsPhiladelphia 76ers12016[j]
2018–19Luka DoncicDallas Mavericks32018
2019–20Ja MorantMemphis Grizzlies22019
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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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