By Conor Oliver
The future seems a little brighter for the Philadelphia 76ers. It looks like Philadelphia is going to have another player win rookie of the year in the 2016-17 season. In 2013, Michael Carter Williams, who now plays for the Chicago Bulls, won the honor. This year, after the draft, Ben Simmons, the number one overall pick (taken by Philadelphia), was the hands down favorite to run away with rookie of the year. Now that Simmons is sidelined with a broken foot, a window for other players has opened.
Could Brandon Ingram, taken second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers, make a run at the award? Maybe Kris Dunn could mesh in Minnesota with the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Karl Anthony Towns, and Zach LaVine, helping the young team towards a playoff run? Even outside candidates like Jamal Murray seem to have a chance after Simmon’s injury.
However, one player looks to be separating himself from the rest of the rookies: Joel Embiid. His performance for the 76ers so far this season provides a window into the future of the franchise. He is averaging 18.8 points per game, hauling in 7 rebounds, and even shooting 58% from behind the arc (averaging two three-point attempts per game). He has been the brightest spot on a young Philadelphia roster. He’s been so good that Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel are now expendable. If and when Ben Simmons returns, he will have a long road to proving he is the best player on this team. Maybe, finally, hopefully, Philadelphia fans can see the light at the end of the tunnel – though their record suggests they are tanking for another lottery pick this year.
By Eric Fishbin
Trust. The. Kid from Providence? Wait, we aren’t gonna spend 250 words talking about how the 76ers finally have something to be proud of? Yes, the obvious choice for this season’s NBA Rookie of the Year Award might be seven-foot center Joel Embiid. However, only appearing in six of the first nine games of the season, it would not be surprising to see injuries hamper Embiid’s rookie season campaign. When he plays, he might be the best on the floor for his team, but then again he is on the Philadelphia 76ers.
There might not be a better opportunity to take advantage of than Kris Dunn’s situation. Behind the ever-injury prone Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, Dunn will have the chance to show what he’s got whenever Rubio goes down. For the first three games, Dunn barely saw the floor. But when Rubio got hurt (already), Dunn got the ball in his hands. At 6’ 4” this point guard is a monster athlete. Dunn leads rookies in assists and steals per game and leads rookie guards in rebounding.
Dunn has been less than impressive shooting so far, but has countered his personal lack of scoring with a strong assist-to-turnover margin of 2.27-to-1.
With young talent all around him, Dunn is on an exciting team that will help him grow over the season. The T-Wolves have a recent history with the Rookie of the Year Award, as the last two winners were KAT and Wiggins. It should continue to a third year with Dunn.
By Charlie Enberg
The NBA season is getting underway and now is the perfect time to make predictions for Rookie of the Year. Coming into the season, I had my eye on players like Kris Dunn and Buddy Hield – explosive, offensive-minded players who could catalyze their struggling teams to make a playoff run or simply add another dimension to the team’s gameplan. Though we are only 10 games into the season, both Hield and Dunn have kicked off their NBA careers rather slowly: Dunn is averaging just under 5 points per game and Hield has not been able to make a significant impact on the 1-9 New Orleans Pelicans roster. With this in mind, the obvious frontrunner for the award is Joel Embiid, who sat out the entirety of last season after having foot surgery. Embiid’s raw numbers are impressive; 18.8 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, and 2.3 blocks per game. Embiid has shown that he can dominate both offensively and defensively in the form of rebounds, blocks, and points scored. Embiid is a physical specimen who is winning his individual matchups each game. On the whole, the Sixers are struggling (1-8), but no one can blame Embiid for the effort he is making to turn this team around. Furthermore, once Ben Simmons makes his return to the roster, the Embiid-Simmons duo should help turn the Sixers into a respectable team with playoff hopes in the future. For now, Embiid has looked great this season, even while playing for a struggling team. He is in prime position to win this award.