Welcome to our weekly rookie rankings. This week, Jamal Murray play his way back into our top-five, and Willy Hernangomez enjoys a strong week to make a one-spot jump. Remember to check back with us every week to see where we rank this year’s draft class.
1. Joel Embiid, Center, Philadelphia 76ers
In a win against the New Orleans Pelicans last week, Embiid finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. On the season he is averaging 18.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. Last year when Karl-Anthony Towns unanimously won NBA Rookie of the Year, he posted similar numbers as Embiid has this season. The race for Rookie of the Year has been a one-man show since the season began, and that is unlikely to change going forward.
2. Dario Saric, Forward, Philadelphia 76ers
Even though it has been an up-and-down kind of season for Saric, he still ranks second among rookies in scoring (9.9 points per game), rebounds (5.9 per game), and three-pointers made per game (1.4). In three games last week he scored in double figures twice. If he can find some consistency with his play, he would give the Sixers another player that can make an impact on a nightly basis.
3. Jamal Murray, Guard, Denver Nuggets
In a win over the Sixers last week, Murray busted out his fourth 20-point game if the season. He finished with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting to help the Nuggets come out with a win. With Emmanuel Mudiay struggling mightily at the starting point guard spot, Murray has made a case for himself to at least be given an opportunity to run the first-team offense. If he keeps playing the way he has, the Nuggets may have no choice to give him a shot.
4. Willy Hernangomez, Forward, New York Knicks
Hernangomez has been a force to be reckoned with rebounding the ball. In the Knicks win over the Lakers on Sunday, he posted 12 rebounds to go along with six points and in a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier last week he finished with nine points and seven rebounds. He has been a nice addition to an improved Knicks team, and if he can play consistently well, he might very well find a spot in the Knicks rotation.
5. Brandon Ingram, Forward, Los Angeles Lakers
We are still waiting for an Ingram offensive breakthrough. He has shown glimpses of what he can do on a night-to-night basis. In a game against the Houston Rockets last week, he scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. He also played well defensively against Carmelo Anthony on Sunday night. Hopefully, he can find his offensive rhythm sooner rather than later.
Honorable Mentions: Malcolm Brogdon, Pascal Siakam, and Andrew Harrison