The Top 5 NBA Rookies of 2016/17

With the NBA season proving as exciting as ever as we head into the new year, we tasked James Purewal with ranking the five best NBA rookies so far in the 2016/17 campaign.

Buddy Hield – New Orleans Pelicans

Buddy Hield

Originally a point guard, Hield was picked 6th overall by the New Orleans Pelicans and quickly moved to the shooting guard slot replacing the injured Tyreke Evans.

Despite a senior year at the University of Oklahoma in which he lit up the college circuit he’s so far struggled to bring the same dazzle to the big league. Despite this, he’s still regarded as one of the best shooters coming out of the draft, so could blossom soon

Picking up Hield seemed the ideal move for New Orleans with the loss of Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon, and there’s still plenty of time for him to prove the decision correct. However being somewhat relied upon to get those baskets seems to be weighing heavy on him for now.

The New Orleans Pelicans are struggling so far this season and have to step up all-round in order to become a legitimate playoff side, and with an average of only 7.6 points per game along with 1.2 assists per game Hield will want to step up too.

Jaylen Brown – Boston Celtics

Jaylen Brown
The small forward out of California has had promising start to the season for the Boston Celtics despite coming out of college as a freshman.

Seeing good minutes each game, Brown is pushing for a starting spot, but seems more than comfortable coming off the bench for Jae Crowder.

Despite holding his own, his shooting percentages clearly show room for improvement. His free throw percentage and field goal percentage aren’t quite the best – given a few years he may well develop into a solid forward in the league.

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Domantas Sabonis – Oklahoma City Thunder

Domantas Sabonis

Traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder after being drafted by the Orlando magic, the 11th pick seems to have a tremendous effect on his team mates when on court.

Sabonis is another rookie who doesn’t have eye-catching averages, but his presence on the floor had helped his team to a 4-0 start, although they’ve cooled somewhat more recently.

His game can be compared to that of Zach Randolph, with a preference to posting-up his defender in the paint, and crashing the boards.

The question lies in whether or not Sabonis can be a starting centre in the future for any franchise, it all depends on the role he needs to fulfil for that team and if coaches are going to put their trust in him.

Brandon Ingram – L.A. Lakers

Brandon Ingram

The L.A. Lakers seem to have found themselves a future franchise player in the form of the Duke product

The 2nd pick overall has been given plenty of minutes off the bench as a backup for Luol Deng, and can quite comfortably take the reins as a starter if Deng is to get injured.

Ingram is definitely considered a future figure in the team, as the possibility of forming a ‘big three’ with Julius Randle and D’angelo Russell is one that excites many fans.

Despite this undoubted potential, his current stats show he is not a main contributor to the scoreboard, with an average of just 7.6 points per game.

It is clear however that the team have improved greatly, not just with Ingram but with the reliance of all the younger members of the squad, with their current record there’s even argument to suggest that they could even make the playoffs come April.

Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid

Considering that Embiid was actually drafted in 2014 by the Philadelphia 76ers as the 3rd overall pick, the 2016 season is still his rookie season, after missing previous years through injury.

‘The Process’ as he likes to call himself, has been the forefront of the offense and defense for the 76ers, who despite not having the best record have been much improved compared to last year.

The centre out of the University of Kansas has seen restricted minutes so far this season under Brett Brown but has still been the stand out performer for Philly. Averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds a game, if and when he sees more minutes his averages could swell even more.

Embiid is someone that the 76ers clearly see as a centre-piece in the future, and with plenty of other young talent on their roster they could even be.pushing for a playoff spot in a couple of seasons.

Think you can pick this year’s rookie of the year? Why not put your money where your mouth is and sign up to Bet365 and win yourself some cash?

19. From Erdington, Birmingham. Currently studying Sports Journalism at The University of Brighton- 1st year. An obsession with various sports Like to be up to date with news within the sporting world, particularly football, NBA and NFL Any sports questions ask on twitter @jamesjp97

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