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Denzel Valentine named in early NBA Rookie of the Year odds

The early NBA Rookie of the Year odds have former Spartan Denzel Valentine coming in with decent odds to win the award.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the 2016 NBA Draft has concluded, we can start looking ahead to next season and the former Michigan State Spartans part of it.

That's what the guys at  Bovada are doing with their 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year odds being put out this week. It only includes 18 names for the time being, and only one of them is among this year's crop of Spartans entering the NBA.

Of course, it's Denzel Valentine, who was taken 14th overall by the Bulls. He comes in with a tie for the fifth-best odds at 12-1. 76ers forward Ben Simmons is the favorite at 13-4, followed by Pelicans guard Buddy Hield at 11-2, Lakers forward Brandon Ingram at 13-2 and Timberwolves guard Kris Dunn at 15-2.

Depending on how the Bulls use Valentine, he could be primed for a big rookie season that has him strongly in consideration for this award. They just traded away Derrick Rose, so being the primary point guard is certainly possible.

Regardless, the Bulls need help up and down their lineup, so Valentine could be playing big minutes and putting up solid numbers as a rookie, whether it's point, boards or assists with an All-NBA guard like Jimmy Butler on the wing.

"Again, you can use [Valentine] in a lot of different ways,’’ Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg told the Chicago Sun-Times. "He’s a downhill guy, a guy that can get downhill, get into the paint. He’s a guy that can shoot. Again, you look at a guy like Jimmy Butler. You give him the ball coming off a step-up ball-screen, and if you have floor spacers, it’s going to allow him to get into the lane and kick-out for guys that can make shots."

Here are the complete 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year odds:

Ben Simmons (PHI)                   13/4

Buddy Hield (NO)                      11/2

Brandon Ingram (LAL)                13/2

Kris Dunn (MIN)                         15/2

Jamal Murray (DEN)                  12/1

Denzel Valentine (CHI)               12/1

Joel Embiid (PHI)                      14/1

Wade Baldwin IV (MEM)                16/1

Marquese Chriss (PHO)             16/1

Thon Maker (MIL)                       16/1

Taurean Prince (ATL)                  16/1

Dragan Bender (PHO)                20/1

Jaylen Brown (BOS)                  20/1

Brice Johnson (LAC)                  20/1

Caris LeVert (BKN)                    20/1

Malachi Richardson (SAC)         20/1

Jakob Poeltl (TOR)                    25/1

Domantas Sabonis (OKC)          28/1