NBA Rookie Rankings: With Joel Embiid Out Indefinitely, Can He Be Surpassed?

NBA Rookie Rankings: With Joel Embiid Out Indefinitely, Can He Be Surpassed?

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Brandon Ingram Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to our weekly rookie rankings. This week we do not have any change as very limited games were played leading up to and after All-Star weekend. 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

For the first time all season the first spot in our rankings might be in a bit of jeopardy. Earlier this week the Sixers announced that Embiid will be out indefinitely as he continues to recover from a left knee injury. This is a huge blow for the Sixers because it puts a further delay on their youth movement, especially considering top overall pick Ben Simmons won’t play at all this season. Hopefully his injury is nothing too serious so he can get back on the court quickly and continue to develop.

2. Dario Saric, Forward, Philadelphia 76ers

Saric has a golden opportunity to close the gap between himself and Embiid. Since returning from the All-Star break he is averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds per game. With Embiid and Simmons out, and Ersan Ilyasova traded away, he will be asked to carry more of the scoring load and so far it looks like he is up to the challenge. Saric has improved his play dramatically since the beginning of the season and it is starting to pay off with his team starting to win some games.

3. Malcolm Brogdon, Guard, Milwaukee Bucks

In Brogdon’s last two games against the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers he finished with 35 points combined. He continues to play really well for a young Bucks team. Although he does not start regularly, he is producing like a starter. If he keeps up his play Jason Kidd might have no choice but to insert Brogdon in the starting lineup and start preparing him to be the starting point guard of the future.

4. Brandon Ingram, Forward, Los Angeles Lakers

As the Lakers get closer to keeping their top-three protected lottery pick in this year’s loaded draft class, Ingram will get every opportunity to rack up a lot of minutes. The emphasis for the Lakers moving forward will be to develop their young core. Ingram has performed well since being put in the starting lineup, including scoring a career-high 22 points on Sunday afternoon against the San Antonio Spurs. The more Ingram plays, the more valuable experience he’ll gain that will help him improve in the future.

5. Marquese Chriss, Forward, Phoenix Suns

In the Suns first game back from the All-Star break Chriss scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. He is showing that he can be a threat whenever he is on the floor. As the Suns are also in prime position to draft a quality player in this year’s draft, they will give a lot of minutes to Chriss as the season comes to an end. If he can keep up his play the Suns will be happy that they found another piece to build on.

Honorable Mention: Pascal Siakam, Domantas Sabonis, Jamal Murray