Joel Embiid Thinks Dario Saric is the Rookie of the Year
Joel Embiid has officially voiced his vote.
According to Embiid, his teammate – and fellow 2014 lottery selection – Dario Saric, and not Embiid himself, is the NBA’s 2016-17 Rookie of the Year.
Embiid decidedly declared Saric as this season's ROY following the Sixers recent victory over the Lakers in Los Angeles. He even interrupted Saric's post-game walk-off interview with CSN's Molly Sullivan in order to do so.
See for yourself below:
Joel thinks Dario is the Rookie of the Year #sixers pic.twitter.com/pYf2j2ZHT3
— Michael K-B (@therealmikekb) March 13, 2017
Embiid was the early front-runner for the award, and with monster per-36 numbers of 28.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, and 3 assists, he was clearly the league's best fresh face this season.
However, with Embiid's extended injury issues limiting him to just 31 appearances and potentially forcing voters to look elsewhere, Saric has emerged as a top candidate.
Saric has taken full advantage of the increased opportunity that has been his since the deadline trade of Irsan Ilyasova, and the Croatian sensation has used that opportunity to clearly established himself as a key piece of the franchise's future.
Over the span of the past 15 contests, Saric has posted his own extremely impressive stat line: 20.3 points per game, 8.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and a true shooting percentage of .559. On the season, Saric is averaging 12.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game.
The most promising part of Saric's play has been the continuous improvement, as his game has grown exponentially throughout the course of his first season in Philadelphia. Concerns about how his game would translate to the league have been put to bed, replaced with questions of just how good the multi-faceted forward can become.
Ultimately, it will be up to the voters to decide if Embiid logged enough minutes to earn the Rookie of the Year hardware. But if it were up to him, the award would slide to Saric, who has played in every game for the Sixers so far this season.
One way or another, it certainly seems as though the 2016-17 Rookie of the Year resides in Philadelphia, just as Brett Brown said.