This week’s rookie rankings looks a bit different. A couple of players dropped out and were replaced by two others who enjoyed outstanding weeks.
This year’s rookie class is shaping up to be a good one. I expect a lot of fluctuating as the season moves along, which makes it for an exciting ride. Remember to check back with us every week to see where we rank this year’s top rookies.
1. Joel Embiid, Center, Philadelphia 76ers
Embiid leads all rookies in points, rebounds, and blocks. Last week versus the Phoenix Suns he scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds and against the Minnesota Timberwolves he posted a double-double. His play has garnered similarities to Hall-of-Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, which is elite company to be in. He is currently the favorite to win rookie of the year, and if he stays healthy there’s no reason to believe otherwise.
2. Jamal Murray, Guard, Denver Nuggets
Murray’s play this season has been a spark for the Denver Nuggets. He currently averages nine points per game, which ranks him third-best among rookies. He dropped 18 points against Utah, and a career-high 24 points last night against Chicago. He is also shooting 42.3 percent from deep, which is somehow higher than his overall field goal percentage. His play has fans believing he can turn into one the more potent scorers in the league as he matures, which is something the Nuggets haven’t had since Carmelo Anthony roamed the court.
3. Brandon Ingram, Small Forward, Los Angeles Lakers
Although Ingram has yet to have a huge offensive breakout game Laker fans had hoped for, his defense has been something to be admired. Often tasked with guarding the opponent’s best player on the floor, he’s been able to hold them to fewer than 41 percent shooting. His combination of size, length, and quickness makes defenders struggle to shoot the ball. He is still finding his way on the other end of the floor, but still ranks fifth among rookies in scoring.
4. Dario Saric, Forward, Philadelphia 76ers
The 22-year-old is currently averaging 9.9 points and 6.2 rebounds on a young Sixers team. He leads all rookies in minutes played at 26 per night. His 41.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc is a nice addition to his his already polished offensive repertoire. He scored in double-digits in all three of the Sixers games last week that led to two wins. Philadelphia finally has reason to be excited about basketball again with Embiid, Saric, and Ben Simmons, who has yet to play this season due to injury, setting a nice foundation for the future.
5. Domantas Sabonis, Power Forward, Oklahoma City Thunder
Seen as a second-tier rookie, Sabonis has been a very nice fit for the Thunder. Although he’s not averaging flashy offensive numbers, his 42.9 percent shooting from the field and nearly 40 percent shooting from deep has made him an important piece in the Thunder’s starting line-up. He’s able to spread the defense which allows Russell Westbrook to drive into the paint and create for himself and his teammates. If Sabonis keeps up his level of play, he’ll go down as one of the biggest steals in the 2016 draft.
Honorable Mention: Jaylen Brown, Kris Dunn, Malcolm Brogdon, Buddy Hield