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NBA Rookie of the Year Race

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Philadelphia 76ers rookie player Joel Embiid had a great season this year. Many analysts thought that despite the fact Embiid was only playing every other game, he was the definite choice for the National Basketball Association Rookie of the Year award. However, he injured his knee and will miss the rest of the season. With his injury, the race for the Rookie of the Year award is now wide open.

 

With Embiid out, there are two players who are clearly in contention. One is Embiid’s teammate, Dario Saric. Saric was selected 12 overall in the 2014 draft but spent the last two seasons in the Croatian national league. He is a power forward who can shoot the three-pointer and pass the ball well for a man his size. Saric is second among all rookies in points per game and third among the same group in rebounds per contest. Saric would become the first 76ers Rookie of the Year award winner since Michael Carter-Williams won it in 2014.

 

The other is the Milwaukee Bucks’ Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon, who played four years at the University of Virginia, is one of the oldest rookies in the entire league. He is a guard who can do a little bit of everything (he is the only rookie with a triple-double this season) and the Bucks front office has said that they see him as their point guard of the future. He was picked by the Bucks in the second round of the 2016 draft and would become the second player in NBA history not drafted in the first round to win the award should he win it.

 

But this does not mean Embiid will not win the award. Embiid, who missed the first two seasons of his career due to chronic foot pain, was putting up historic rookie numbers by the time he was injured for the season. Many analysts have said that despite the fact that he played in just 31 games this season, he still deserves to win the award this season.

 

“Embiid deserves to win the Rookie of the Year award because he is by far the best rookie this year,” said ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.

 

Many do not believe Embiid should still be in contention for the award. Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said that there should be a minimum number of games requirement in order to be the Rookie of the Year. The lowest number of games played by the Rookie of the Year award winner was by Patrick Ewing, who played 50 games in the 1985-1986 season.

 

Other contestants for the award include the Dallas Mavericks’ Yogi Ferrell, the Sacramento Kings’ Buddy Hield, and the Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown.
With Joel Embiid’s injury, the NBA Rookie of the Year award race got a lot more interesting.

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NBA Rookie of the Year Race