Joel Embiid is leading all rookie of the year conversations. The Sixers' three-point shooting center is well above the competition for the end-of-the-year honor already earning the Eastern Conference rookie of the month nod for October/November.
Close in the race is teammate and 2014 pick Dario Saric. If Ben Simmons returns and plays as he is expected to, the Sixers could very well own the top three rookies of this years's class.
Outside of Embiid, the NBA is in a year of underwhelming debutants. But there are still some other names that should be pointed out. They might not be averaging double-digits or wowing in highlight reels, but they're making a name for themselves nonetheless, and could use a nice nod of acknowledgment.
Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets. Consistency has not found its way into Murray's game, but his flashes of 20-point games (three of which came from Nov. 22-25) show that he deserves attention.
He earned the Western Conference rookie of the month award, leading West rookies in scoring. It's difficult to find consistency on a struggling team (Embiid could attest to that), but I appreciate Murray's sense of competition and need for vengeance (I'm that kind of person).
After scoring 22 points against the Sixers on Monday, Murray had this to say:
Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers. Being in the starting lineup for the Lakers does not carry as much clout as it once did, but the No. 2 pick from this year's draft is doing everything he can to prove he's worth it. On a young team with a rookie coach and low expectations league-wide, the Lakers are making their case for a possible 8-seed in the West.
Ingram is hot and cold when it comes to scoring, but he always seems to contribute in other categories when he goes cold. He's averaging 8.1 points and 3.8 rebounds on the season, but in December he's bumped up his numbers to 10.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.
Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies. Probably the least known on this list, Harrison is gaining momentum on a Grizzlies team that is desperate for solid contributions. Memphis has been hit hard by the injury bug - first Chandler Parsons, now Mike Conley - and is relying on youngsters to keep their backcourt alive.
Harrison, a second-round pick in 2015 who was in the D-League last season, is leading rookies in minutes, steals, and assists per game. He's only averaging 6.9 points per game with a terrible shooting percentage (28.8), but on a team that's in a good position in the West, he's providing a boost.
All times are Eastern.
Rockets at Thunder, Friday, 8 p.m., ESPN. It's the two fire-breathers pitted against each other. James Harden vs. Russell Westbrook. Will Westbrook continue his triple-double tirade? Will Harden slow him down? (I'm kidding of course, we all know James Harden doesn't play defense). Will they both have a triple-double? I'll be watching.
Bulls at Bucks, Thursday, 8 p.m., TNT. Both Chicago and Milwaukee are in the middle of the pack in the East and are exciting teams to watch. It's a good time to watch the Giannis "The Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo go up against some sturdy competition.