Now that we are nearly two months into this year’s NBA season, we’ve seen some teams rise, and some teams fall. Perhaps the most important group of statistics on almost everyone’s radar are those of the players fresh out of college. The 2016-17 NBA rookies thus far have had their ups and downs, but those listed below have have performed better than most.
While he may have been drafted third overall in the 2014 draft, Joel Embiid underwent surgery for a broken right foot, barring him from his first two seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers. Now in his first active year with the team, Embiid has been sensational, and is considered by many as a clear frontrunner for Rookie of the Year. At the moment, he is leading all rookies in points (17.6), rebounds (7.5), and blocks (2.5) per game, and is showing no signs of slowing down. After several dismal seasons for the Sixers, the phrase “trust the process” is finally beginning to pay off.
Though he may have started the season slow, Brandon Ingram is beginning to take on a larger workload with the Los Angeles Lakers, now averaging 26.8 minutes per game. Still, the 19-year-old out of Duke has not quite lived up to fans’ expectations, only averaging 7.9 points per game. With that said, Ingram’s name on this list may surprise some. The reason being that he adds a great deal of length to a fairly small Lakers offense. It’s difficult to argue that he will not soon become an asset.
Coming out of New Mexico State University, Pascal Siakam has yet to generate great offensive stats. However, the rookie’s defensive play has helped the Toronto Raptors to an 18-7 record, behind only the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Averaging 1.54 blocks per 48 minutes, second only behind Joel Embiid, Siakam has been getting nearly 20 minutes of gameplay on a playoff contending team, showing the trust the Raptors organization has in him.
Currently averaging 7.7 points per game, Malcolm Brogdon is another rookie who has been proving his worth on the defensive side of the ball. He is averaging 0.96 steals per game on a Milwaukee Bucks team that is full of young talent with players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, and Matthew Dellavedova. Brogdon should, with time, fit in nicely with the surging Bucks.
Former Kentucky Wildcat Jamal Murray, like other rookies, has had a great transition from college to the NBA. As a bench player behind Denver Nuggets shooting guard Will Barton, Murray is averaging 9.8 points per game on a team that is in desperate need of a standout player. Nearing an average of 22 minutes of gameplay, it seems as though the Nuggets organization is beginning to see Murray as that potential star player, though at the moment, Wilson Chandler is leading the team with 17.2 points per game. Regardless, a young successful player like Murray gives hope to the team’s future.