Welcome back to our weekly NBA rookie rankings. In this week’s edition, we have one player making his return to the list and the race for the second-best rookie is heating up. Rookies have one last push to earn a spot as one this season’s best. Remember to check back with us every week as when rank this year’s rookie class.
1. Joel Embiid, Center, Philadelphia 76ers
Embiid has still not played in game since Jan. 27 but he is clearly still the best rookie this season. It’s becoming more clear that the Sixers main goal is to have Embiid finish the season healthy. It would be unfortunate if Embiid were to suffer another injury. That would definitely put a cloud over the franchise that finally experienced a little joy this season because of Embiid. For the time being, no other rookie is in real danger of threatening him for the top spot.
2. Dario Saric, Forward, Philadelphia 76ers
Saric has been lighting it up during the month of February. He is averaging 16 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. His play has the Sixers playing competitively even in the absence of Embiid. On the season he is shooting 39.7 percent from the field. The thought of him, Embiid, and Ben Simmons playing together has Sixers fans very excited about the future.
3. Malcolm Brogdon, Guard, Milwaukee Bucks
Brogdon has been the definition of efficient. He currently ranks sixth in shooting and first in assists and steals among rookies. With Jabari Parker out the remainder of the season, Brogdon has a golden opportunity to increase his level of play and shine for the Bucks. The Bucks are only two games out of the eighth seed in the East, but if Brogdon can continue his impressive play the Bucks may be able to sneak in and lock up a playoff spot.
4. Marquese Chriss, Forward, Phoenix Suns
In the Suns last game before the All-Star break, Chriss finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, two blocks, and two steals. That type of production is what the Suns need out of Chriss on a nightly basis. They have a nice young nucleus with him, Devin Booker, and Eric Bledsoe. With a little more experience he can turn into one of the better young big men in the league. He has all the tools necessary to take his game to another level.
5. Willy Hernangomez, Forward, New York Knicks
Amid the circus that surrounds the Knicks, Hernangomez has been a bright spot for them. He is solid contributor that can rebound and defend well. In the month of February he is averaging 11 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. If the Knicks decide to dismantle the team and start anew, at least they have young talent they can build around and develop.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Ingram, Buddy Hield, and Pascal Siakam