Welcome back to our weekly rookie rankings. This week we have two new players break into our top-five. Now that we are completely settled into the new NBA season, we know more or less which rookies will have impactful roles for their team. Remember to check back with us every week to see where we rank this year’s draft class.
1. Joel Embiid, Center, Philadelphia 76ers
The only thing holding Embiid back is the minute restriction. The 76ers currently only allow him to play 24 minutes per night. When he is on the floor, he is one of the better big men in the league. In the two games he played in last week, he scored 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds against the Orlando Magic, and scored 16 points against the Denver Nuggets. For now, Embiid is the leading candidate to win NBA Rookie of the Year, and if another rookie is to catch him, they must do so before his minute limitation is taken off.
2. Dario Saric, Forward, Philadelphia 76ers
One night he scores a lowly two points in a loss to the Magic and then redeems himself against the Celtics and Nuggets. Against the Celtics he recorded a double-double, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, and against the Nuggets he dropped 17 points and eight rebounds. If Saric wants to stay at the top end of rookie rankings, he must do a better job of shooting the ball. In his last five games, he has only shot better than 25 percent in one of those games.
3. Brandon Ingram, Forward, Los Angeles Lakers
Ingram has finally shown what he is capable doing on a nightly basis. His aggression has noticeably increased, and as a result, his scoring has surged to 9.6 points in the last 10 games. He scored a career-high 17 points against the Toronto Raptors last Friday. With injuries to D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young, he will have to continue to be a playmaker for his team.
4. Malcolm Brogdon, Guard, Milwaukee Bucks
The Virginia product has done a good job filling the backup point guard role for the Bucks. In a game against the Brooklyn Nets last week, he finished with 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists. He currently ranks sixth among rookies in assists and is shooting 39.5 percent from behind the three-point line. He looks to be a solid rotation player for the Bucks moving forward.
5. Willy Hernangomez, Center, New York Knicks
As starter Joakim Noah has struggled lately, Knicks head coach has put Hernangomez to play alongside Kristaps Porzingis at times. When Hernangomez has been out there, he performed quite well. Although he doesn’t provide much offense, he’s making an impact by rebounding, 4.4 per game, which is third amongst all rookies, and setting hard screens. The impressive part is that he is only getting about 13 minutes per game. If he continues to play well, expect his minutes to increase throughout the season.
Honarable Mentions: Malcolm Delaney, Jamal Murray, and Domantas Sabonis