Cameron Brink making early push for Rookie of the Year over Caitlin Clark?

Cameron Brink has what it takes to push Caitlin Clark for Rookie of the Year. Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

Although every team in the WNBA still has more than 30 games left, it's never too early to start looking at the Rookie of the Year race. And things are shaping up to be a good one.

Heading into the season, it would've been easy to assume that Caitlin Clark, the Indiana Fever's No. 1 pick out of the University of Iowa, would run away with the award. She was the record-breaking face of women's college basketball, being the first player in Division I history, men's or women's, to reach 3,000 points and 1,000 assists. Clark was touted as the rookie who could propel the WNBA to new heights.

Two weeks into the season, Clark has shown plenty of flashes, but things look a bit different. While Clark has made some huge shots and averaged 15.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.1 SPG and 1.0 BPG, there have been ups and downs. The Fever's 1-6 record could certainly come into play, too, if things don't turn around in the months ahead.

Clark enters Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Sparks shooting just 37.1% from the field while also leading the league with 5.3 turnovers per game; nobody else averages more than 4.2.

Still, Clark remains the big favorite, listed at -650 to win Rookie of the Year, per ESPN BET.

Brink impressing early

Cameron Brink, selected No. 2 overall by the Sparks out of Stanford, has the next best odds at +700 followed by Chicago's Angel Reese at +1200.

Like Clark, Brink is part of a team in the midst of a rebuild, which should provide her with plenty of opportunities to develop further. Yes she can score efficiently, shoot the 3-pointer, make free throws and pass the ball. Where Brink has a chance to separate herself, though, is on the defensive end. In fact, she leads the WNBA by a wide margin with 3.2 BPG and also adds 1.2 SPG.

Yes, it's early -- just five games in -- but her impressive shot-blocking skills and rebounding ability gives her the potential to become one of the league's top defensive players right out of the gates, just like she was in college when she earned 2024 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year honors.

To catch someone like Clark who is getting all the attention right now, Brink will need to leave no doubt by season's end. And that will mean needing to contribute more on the offensive end. She's currently at 10.8 PPG, taking only 7.2 field goal attempts per game to Clark's 12.7.

To bet now or wait until later

Brink might be too good of a value for bettors to pass up at the current odds. In fact, her odds may never be longer if she continues to play this well. On top of that, other than Reese, there don't appear to be any other serious contenders for this award.

The former Stanford star is already showing she has what it takes to surpass expectations, while Clark has the burden each game of trying to live up to hers -- some of the highest anyone has ever had as a WNBA rookie. Also of note, while 14 No. 1 overall picks have won the Rookie of the Year award since 1997, four forwards have won in the last six seasons compared to only two guards.

In Brink, the Sparks have someone with the the talent to make a significant run at the award this season.

That said, even with some early struggles Clark remains the huge favorite in the race, so what happens if she starts to put up some 30-point games and cuts down on turnovers as the season wears on? That's probably too much for Brink -- or Reese, or anyone else -- to overcome, and it's something to consider before making a bet.