The 76ers’ Dario Saric has zoomed into view as a Rookie of the Year candidate, not least because his teammate — and fellow rookie of the year candidate — Joel Embiid has gotten out of the way. The 76ers, abundantly cautious with their stockpiled “process” talent, shut down Embiid after only 31 games. Saric, on the other hand, leads all rookies in total points with 892 and rebounds with 445.
Embiid is the most dynamic and tantalizing rookie to come along in ages, a combination of Hakeem Olajuwon and Wilt Chamberlain. But Saric has more points than Embiid has minutes. That really should put the nails in Embiid’s ROY coffin. (Embiid will just have to wait until he wins MVP one year soon.) Since the All-Star break Saric — a 22-year-old rookie from Croatia — is averaging 19 points a game. After a March 12 76ers victory over the Lakers, Embiid cast his own vote, telling the camera that Saric was his Rookie of the Year. “He’s the rookie of the year. That’s the guy,” Embiid said, not for the first time either.
Other oft-mentioned contenders include:
- Domantas Sabonis (OKC)
- Rodney McGruder (Miami)
- Malcolm Brogdon (Milwaukee)