The Sixers, with the first overall pick in June, landed one of the most highly-touted college players of the last several years, adding former LSU forward Ben Simmons to their roster. Simmons’ performance in Summer League action already has Sixers fans salivating at his potential, but the No. overall pick isn’t the only Philadelphia player with a chance at the 2016/17 Rookie of the Year award.
As Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated tweeted last month, the 76ers actually believe three candidates for the Rookie of the Year award, though Simmons is the only one of the trio actually drafted this year. Croatian forward Dario Saric, a 2013 lottery pick, is arriving in Philadelphia after spending several seasons developing overseas, while Joel Embiid, 2014’s third overall pick, is hoping to finally be healthy after two lost seasons.
While the Sixers are probably the team most likely to have the 2016/17 Rookie of the Year on their roster, there are a few other intriguing contenders. Second overall pick Brandon Ingram figures to see plenty of action right away on a fairly young Lakers team, and the same might be true for players like Timberwolves point guard Kris Dunn (No. 5 pick) and Nuggets shooting guard Jamal Murray (No. 7).
Of course, the most polished player to be taken in the top 10 of this year’s draft was former Oklahoma sharpshooter Buddy Hield, who will join a Pelicans team that lost Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson and badly needed some outside shooting. Hield, who will turn 23 later this year, is perhaps more NBA-ready than many of his fellow 2016 first-rounders.
It’s still too early to get a clear idea about which rookies will see the most playing time, and which ones will be given the opportunity to make the biggest impact. But what’s your early read on the situation? Which first-year player do you think is headed for a Rookie of the Year award?
Take to the comments section below to share your opinions on this year’s crop of rookies. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.