Quote by Nba Rookie & Sophomore Ladder
Not as many Unicorns in the rookie part of the ladder, but this is a weird rookie class.
5 – Pascal Siakam, PF, Toronto Raptors
Starting power forward for a team that just dropped to #2 in the league in offensive rating and with a solid advantage on the Boston Celtics. Siakam is part of all the five- and four-man units coach Dwayne Casey has been putting on the floor, and his hustle and physical plays are certainly useful. But the numbers do tell a weird story. Siakam’s Defensive Rating is 108, in line with the Raptors 108.3 DRtg. Siakam also has a 108 Offensive Rating, but the Raptors have a 115.4 Offensive Rating as a team. By checking the on/off numbers, the Raptors are a +12.1 in Offensive Rating when Siakam is on the bench. In other words, the young forward is just a spot-holder (much like Sabonis and the Thunder). Problem is, the Raptors are planning to reach the Finals, and come playoff time, Siakam will be a weakness they cannot afford.
4 – Jamal Murray, SG, Denver Nuggets
In the aforementioned column on the Denver Nuggets, one of the hot topics was Murray finding his stroke and becoming a key player in a good month of November for the Nuggets, a stretch that got him the Rookie of the Month award. In December Murray halved his scoring averages (12.3 to 6.1 points per game) and his percentages went down as well. The Nuggets had found a sort of balance and could rely on his more experienced teammates in the last few weeks. Murray is certainly going through an adjustment period in the league and a hot month probably covered his struggles more than it should have. What will happen now that the team is going through leadership issues for the umpteenth time in the last three years? The team will need Murray to carry part of the load, and according to coach Malone, it is the veterans who are being trouble, not the youngsters.
3 – Dario Saric, F, Philadelphia 76ers
Saric was the second best rookie for a long time, but he slipped one position because of Malcolm Brogdon playing extremely well and his team needing him to play out of position at small forward, since Philadelphia’s frontcourt is finally healthy. His effort off the bench is still solid, and having a veteran like Ersan Ilyasova in his ear is certainly going to help in the long run, since they are somewhat similar players.
2 – Malcolm Brogdon, G, Milwaukee Bucks
Brogdon deserved the December Rookie of the Month (Embiid won it), for reasons that go beyond his 9.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists in the last month of 2016. He grew into his role, he adjusted quickly to the Nba and in general, the team is better when he is on the floor. That is a huge accomplishment for a rookie playing on a team that is currently 6th in the Eastern Conference with an 18-16 record. Of course the whole team deserves the credit and if anyone had to single out one of the players it would be Antetokounmpo, but he made himself crucial for a young Milwaukee team. Most experts thought they were done for the season when Kris Middleton went down in preseason but as of today, barring more injuries, the Bucks will reach the playoff and they will be trouble for anyone.
1 – Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers
We’re talking ‘bout the Process, man.