With the brilliance of sophomore stars Kristaps Porzingis and Karl-Anthony Towns, this year's rookie class continues to pale in comparison as it lacks the same star power and panache. But while this group may not include as many stars, there are several players that will likely develop into consistent role players.
Being a role player is nothing to sneeze at either. Players like Channing Frye and Jason Terry are having very successful careers so far as role players. So while this year's rookie class may lack star power, players like Malcolm Brogdon and Pascal Siakam look destined to be dependable players for the rest of their careers.
This week's rankings:
Joel Embiid's minutes may have increased yet due to an elbow inflammation and his load management plan, he's been playing in every other game for the Sixers since Thanksgiving. Because of this, Embiid has played in just a single game in the last week, recording 14 points and seven rebounds in his matchup against Anthony Davis. And even though he hasn't played that frequently, Embiid leads all rookies in points (18.2), rebound (7.6) and blocks (2.5).
Dario Saric is slowly coming into his own and giving the Sixers yet another promising young player to build around. His shot has been improving as the season is progressing and is shooting 39.6 percent and 39.3 percent from three. Saric is second among rookies in points (9.9) and rebounds (5.8).
After Embiid, Jamal Murray may be the second-best scorer among all rookies. Murray can be a bit streaky though but is shooting a decent 38.7 percent and 36.4 percent from three. He is averaging 9.8 points (third among all rookies) and had a 15-point performance while shooting 50 percent in Denver's loss to Dallas on Monday. If Murray can develop some sort of consistency, he will surely stay near the top of the rankings.
Malcolm Brogdon has picked up his scoring as of late. He scored in double figures in three of Milwaukee's last four games and is averaging 7.7 points, which is in the top-10 among all rookies. Brogdon's forte though is his playmaking, which has been great for the Bucks off the bench all season. He is averaging 2.8 assists, which is fourth among all rookies.
Grit-n-grinding their way to a six-game winning streak before losing on Tuesday, the Grizzlies have played well since Mike Conley went down with a back injury and Andrew Harrison has contributed in a big way to Memphis' success in this stretch. He has by no means been playing anywhere close to Conley, yet Harrison is a tough defender and is coming along offensively as well. Harrison leads all rookies in steals (1.4), assists (3.8) and is in the top-10 in scoring (7.3 points per game).
Brandon Ingram slides down a few spots after a string of poor shooting games. That is bound to happen though, and overall, Ingram has been developing nicely for the Lakers. He remains an evolving defender and his playmaking skills continue to improve. Ingram is averaging 7.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 26.8 minutes.
Look, Pascal Siakam's numbers of 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds are nothing special. Yet Siakam is starting for the Raptors, the team with the best offense in the NBA and second overall in the East. Siakam only plays 18.9 minutes a game, yet he is very consistent and does the little things that are helping Toronto be successful this season.
Isaiah Whitehead makes the rankings for the first time due to his consistent strong play off the bench for the Nets in the last couple of weeks. He scored in double figures in two of Brooklyn's last three games and is shooting 39.1 percent from the field. Whitehead's 3.1 assists per game is second among all rookies.
Domantas Sabonis' scoring has dropped off in the Thunder's last five games yet his shooting has remained tops among all rookies. Shooting 44.9 percent, Sabonis is fifth overall among all rookies in shooting and his 42.4 percent shooting from three is third. Sabonis remains one of the better shooters on the Thunder and his 3.4 rebounding average is eighth among all rookies.
Willy Hernangomez's playing time has been sporadic in New York's last two games yet when given the opportunity, he continues to thrive. Against the Lakers on Sunday, Hernangomez played a shade under 20 minutes, yet was able to grab 12 rebounds. He is now third among all rookies in rebounding, averaging 4.7 boards in just 13.4 minutes a game. With Joakim Noah continuing to struggle, the Knicks may want to start playing Hernangomez more.