A month into the season and it's becoming quite clear which rookies are separating themselves from the rest of their draft class.
Sixers big man Joel Embiid has separated himself since the first game of the season. But others like Denver's Jamal Murray, Los Angeles' Brandon Ingram and Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon took some time to find their stride and are now playing with consistency.
Murray is an interesting case as it took him five games before he made his first shot. Now, Murray has added another scoring dynamic to the Nuggets and can score in double figures seemingly with ease.
Other players may likely get in a groove later on but in a class without a real superstar talent, the rookies that are consistent night in and night out have put themselves into an upper echelon at the onset of the season.
Embiid is still on a minutes limit and has missed two of the last four games for rest. He grew frustrated by this process, kicking a chair after he couldn't play anymore in an overtime 104-99 loss the Grizzlies on Nov. 23. But overall, Embiid is well aware that his minutes will increase in due time. Plus, he continues to dominate, leading all rookies in scoring (18.2), rebounds (7.8) and blocks (2.4). Embiid is also shooting 48 percent, 50 percent from three and 76.6 percent from the line.
The Nuggets rookie leapfrogs all the way to No. 2 in the rankings after emerging as a consistent scorer in Denver's last several games. In four of Denver's last five games, Murray has scored in double figures and is now averaging 10.5 points (second among rookies) on 39.9 percent shooting and 42.3 percent from three. With Gary Harris injured, Murray has been a revelation and looks to be a legitimate NBA scorer.
The Lakers rookie is beginning to put it all together. Ingram is playing with consistency on both ends of the floor and his scoring is slowly starting to increase as well. He will have to continue to step up as the Lakers are a bit banged up with injuries to D'Angelo Russell and Nick Young. Ingram is sixth among rookies in points and rebounds.
Saric falls a few spots due to a couple of subpar games, where he struggled shooting the ball. He did have a solid performance in a 112-108 loss to the Cavs, scoring 10 points and grabbing in four rebounds in less than 20 minutes. Saric is fourth among all rookies in scoring (9.1) and second in rebounds (5.9).
With Joakim Noah struggling, the Knicks have been trotting out lineups with Kristpas Porzingis at center or Hernangomez. And when given this opportunity, Hernangomez has flourished. From rebounding to setting screens, Hernangomez does the little things that help his team be successful. Averaging just 13.8 minutes a game, Hernangomez is third among all rookies in rebounding, grabbing 4.4 boards a contest.
Brogdon is coming off back-to-back double digit scoring games for the Bucks and has done a fine job as Milwaukee's backup point guard. He is sixth among all rookies in assists and has been improving from behind the arc, shooting 37.5 percent from three. Playing at times off ball, Brogdon is a versatile player and has been a great addition to Milwaukee's second unit.
Sabonis is beginning to look like a possible answer to the Thunder's 3-point shooting problem. Oklahoma City lets it fly freely from long distance but they just don't have reliable 3-point shooters. However, Sabonis is slowly finding his stroke from long distance. He is shooting 44.9 percent from three (third among rookies) and knocked down three in a 132-129 win over the Pacers on Nov. 25.
A steady presence on Atlanta's second unit, Delaney remains a reliable guard off the bench for the Hawks. He cut down on his turnovers in Atlanta's last several games and had a solid 13-point performance in the Hawks' 96-85 win over the Pacers on Wednesday. Delaney is second among all rookies in assists, averaging 3.3 a game.
Whitehead has come on strong in the past few games for the Nets and is helping Brooklyn weather the storm while Jeremy Lin remains out with a hamstring injury. Averaging 3.1 assists a game, Whitehead is third among all rookies. He is shooting 34.6 percent though, which is poor for a point guard but Whitehead has cracked double figures in two of Brooklyn's last five games.
Playing major minutes even before Mike Conley got injured, Harrison will now likely have to assume more responsibilities in Memphis. He has shot the ball poorly (27.1 percent) but Harrison has shown he could be a solid playmaker and is leading all rookies in assist with 3.4 a game. Harrison is also first in minutes, third in steals and sixth in blocks among all rookies.