Welcome back to our weekly rookie rankings. There is not much change in this week’s rankings, but one new player has cracked their way into our top-five.
Aside from the top-three spots, the four and five positions have been up for grabs most of the season. Let’s see what rookies can make a push in the second half of the season. Remember to check back with us every week as when rank this year’s rookie class.
1. Joel Embiid, Center, Philadelphia 76ers
Embiid has scored 20 or more points in six straight games. That type of production is impressive for any player, let alone a rookie. He has proven time and time again that he is the leader of this year’s rookie class and no other player is anywhere close to dethroning him for the top spot. The future of the Sixers looks extremely bright because he has single-handedly instilled hope in the city of Brotherly Love.
2. Malcolm Brogdon, Guard, Milwaukee Bucks
Brogdon continues to make a name for himself with his strong play. Ten straight games in double-digit scoring have fans in Milwaukee believing they have found a diamond in the rough. He finished with 22 points and five assists in a game against the Detroit Pistons last week and followed that up with a 17-point outing against the San Antonio Spurs. If it were not for Embiid, Brogdon would be in the driver’s seat for NBA Rookie of the Year.
3. Dario Saric, Forward, Philadelphia 76ers
In his last six games, Saric has averaged 12.2 points per game that helped the Sixers experience their first three-game winning streak in a few seasons. On Monday against the Bucks, he finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. That stat line is a reflection of his style of play; he can do a little bit of everything. After struggling to find his rhythm to begin the season, I think it is safe to say that Saric has found his niche.
4. Buddy Hield, Guard, New Orleans Pelicans
Hield has sort of been playing behind the scenes for most of the season, but his recent play has ascended him into our rankings. He is currently averaging 8.9 points per game, which is third-best among rookies. His forte is his shooting, and lately, it has been on display. In 19 games as a starter, he is shooting an astounding 48.4 percent from three-point range. If he keeps up his play, he has a very good chance claiming his spot as a top-five rookie this season.
5. Brandon Ingram, Forward, Los Angeles Lakers
I know Ingram has had a spot in our rankings all season, and maybe it is a little home-court advantage, but his recent play has been impressive. He struggled mightily shooting the ball to begin the season, but in his last six games, he has shot 53.4 percent from the field. That is a good sign for a young player trying to find ways to contribute to his team. He ranks first in minutes, fourth in rebounding and sixth in scoring among rookies. Hopefully, he can continue his play moving forward.
Honorable Mentions: Pascal Siakam, Isaiah Whitehead, and Andrew Harrison