NBA Rookies: NBA Rookie Watch
NBA rookies are players in their first season as an active NBA player. If a player gets drafted but plays overseas or isn't actually signed to an NBA contract, or for whatever reason does not actually play at all in the NBA regular season, and therefore do not register a single second of regular season play, their rookie season hasn't begun yet.
Most NBA rookies tend to play very limited minutes, and therefore usually have limited impact. Most come off the bench and don't play much. Some come off the bench and are actually part of the rotation and do contribute. And an even smaller number of NBA rookies actually get the role of a starter. And an even smaller number -- usually very few -- look like stars right away.
Therefore, our NBA Rookie Watch, created to monitor leading candidates for the NBA Rookie of the Year award, is mostly all about opportunity. Rookies that play big minutes (and on a bad team) often rise up in the NBA Rookie Watch. What's extra special is when a rookie on a really good team beats the odds and becomes a star even while playing alongside established stars with years of experience.
Updated November 27, 2016.
1) Joel Embiid, Sixers: After missing his first two NBA seasons due to injury, Embiid is for real and the clear 2016-17 NBA Rookie of the Year so far. He's averaging 18.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in just 22.8 minutes per game.
Embiid has no competitor right now in the Rookie of the Year Watch. But here are other rookies that we're paying attention to.
2)Dario Saric, Sixers: Averaging 9.2 points and 6.1 rebounds in 25.2 minutes per game, Saric looks solid so far, as a supporting cast contributor.
Jamal Murray, Jonathan Gibson, Brandon Ingram, Buddy Hield, Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon.
We'll expand this in early December, or whenever rookies step up and earn a mention on this page.
For now, as of late November it's been a quiet year for NBA rookies, aside from Joel Embiid.
2015-16 NBA ROOKIE WATCH
As for 2015-16, here's how the league rookies wound up performing:
NBA Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks have been unanimously selected to the 2015-16 NBA All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced today. Both players received all 130 First Team votes from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters in the United States and Canada.
Joining Towns and Porzingis on the First Team are the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker (103 First Team votes, 231 points), the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic (73 First Team votes, 186 points) and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Jahlil Okafor (71 First Team votes, 186 points).
The NBA All-Rookie Second Team consists of the Miami Heat’s Justise Winslow (151 points, 44 First Team votes), the Los Angeles Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell (142 points, 25 First Team votes), the Nuggets’ Emmanuel Mudiay (140 points, 35 First Team votes), the Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner (139 points, 28 First Team votes) and the Sacramento Kings’ Willie Cauley-Stein (50 points, two First Team votes).
Towns, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, led all rookies in scoring (18.3 ppg) and rebounding (10.5 rpg, eighth in the NBA) and ranked second in blocks (1.68 bpg, 10th in the NBA) – making him the league’s only player to reach those averages in the three categories. The unanimous Kia NBA Rookie of the Year also ranked third in the league in double-doubles (51) and eighth in field goal percentage (54.2). Towns, one of six NBA players to start all 82 games, won all six Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards.
2015-16 NBA ALL-ROOKIE FIRST TEAM
Player Team First (2 Pts) Second (1 Pt) Total
Karl-Anthony Towns Minnesota 130 - 260
Kristaps Porzingis New York 130 - 260
Devin Booker Phoenix 103 25 231
Nikola Jokic Denver 73 40 186
Jahlil Okafor Philadelphia 71 44 186
2015-16 NBA ALL-ROOKIE SECOND TEAM
Player Team First (2 Pts) Second (1 Pt) Total
Justise Winslow Miami 44 63 151
D’Angelo Russell L.A. Lakers 25 92 142
Emmanuel Mudiay Denver 35 70 140
Myles Turner Indiana 28 83 139
Willie Cauley-Stein Sacramento 2 46 50
Other players receiving votes, with point totals (first-place votes in parentheses):
Frank Kaminsky, Charlotte, 47 (2); Josh Richardson, Miami, 47 (4); Stanley Johnson, Detroit, 42 (1); Trey Lyles, Utah, 26; Bobby Portis, Chicago, 13; T.J. McConnell, Philadelphia, 2 (7); Mario Hezonja, Orlando, 4; Larry Nance Jr., Los Angeles Lakers, 3; Norman Powell, Toronto, 3; Justin Anderson, Dallas, 2; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brooklyn, 2; Boban Marjanovic, San Antonio, 2; Jonathon Simmons, San Antonio, 2; Jerian Grant, New York, 1; Marcelo Huertas, Los Angeles Lakers, 1; Raul Neto, Utah, 1; Cameron Payne, Oklahoma City, 1; Joe Young, Indiana, 1.