NBA Rookie Watch: Joel Embiid Ahead Of The Pack

NBA Rookie Watch: Joel Embiid Ahead Of The Pack

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Joel Embiid, 76ers
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports


When a new NBA season arrives, fans are always excited to see the top draft picks perform for their new teams. We want to see if their production from college will translate well into the NBA. Recent high draft picks such as Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins have set high standards for incoming rookies as they have been essential parts in improving their teams.

Sometimes high draft picks do not turn out how they are supposed too, but it’s interesting to watch these young players perform, it is a roller-coaster that fans don’t want to get off of. We are going to take a look every week at the top five rookies to date so be sure to check back every week to see if someone else has earned their way into becoming one of the best in this year’s draft class.

1. Joel Embiid, Center, Philadelphia 76ers

Embiid has been the most impressive rookie so far this season. He isn’t your average rookie though, this is technically his third year in the NBA but due to injuries, this season is the first he’s been able to actually play in. So far, he is averaging 18.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game in limited minutes. What’s very surprising is that he is shooting 66.3 percent from three-point range, which makes him a nightmare match-up for opposing teams. It’s safe to say that the Sixers finally have a nice foundation block to build upon for the future.

2. Domantas Sabonis, Power Forward, Oklahoma City Thunder

Sabonis has been solid for the Thunder this season averaging 7.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in a starting role. Although those numbers seem a bit underwhelming, his versatility is what’s appealing. Listed at 6-foot-11, he’s able to step outside and make three-pointers, currently at a 48.3 percent clip. Despite being overlooked before the season started, he could very well end up being one of the best picks in this year’s draft.

3. Brandon Ingram, Small Forward, Los Angeles Lakers

Ingram hasn’t had the chance to really showcase his play this season due to coming off the bench, but he’s shown small glimpses of what the future holds. He’s averaging 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game this season, but his defensive play is what has really stood out. His length has often frustrated opponents making the opponent shoot contested shots almost every time down the floor. The good thing is that the Lakers don’t need him to be the man just yet which allows him to slowly grow into a larger role as he gets more comfortable.

4. Jaylen Brown, Small Forward, Boston Celtics

Brown’s first NBA start came against the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James and Brown made the most of it, scoring 19 points and grabbing five rebounds. Although he has been placed back on the bench, he’s averaging 7.0 points, on 43.6 shooting, and 2.4 rebounds per game on the season. Although the numbers don’t look great, expect him to become more comfortable as the season wears on and be able to be consistently impact on a nightly basis.

5. Kris Dunn, Point Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves

An injury to starting point guard Ricky Rubio cleared the way for Dunn into the starting lineup early in the season. He has filled up the stat sheet averaging 4.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. What’s been impressive is as that he has been able to take care of the ball, only averaging 1.4 turnovers per game. It’s going to take some time but I believe Dunn will turn out to be a very good point guard as time progresses.

Honorable Mention:

Dario Saric, Malcolm Brogdon, Pascal Siakam