Dec 6, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid warms up prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

We’re about a quarter of the way through the 2016-17 NBA season, and it’s time to take a look at how the rookies stack up. 

This class has been weak to start. Joel Embiid appears to be the runaway Rookie of the Year winner, and Jamal Murray and Dario Saric are the only other first-year guys who have stood out. Nevertheless, other rookies are producing, but their outputs have been watered down by the incredible start by Embiid.

(Spoiler alert: The Process is number one.)

5Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers

November 25, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (14) controls the ball against Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After a tantalizing freshman year at Duke, Ingram, who was expected to be in the running for Rookie of the Year, has struggled. On the bright side, Luke Walton trusts his 19-year-old wing, and Ingram is second among rookies averaging 26.8 minutes a night.

Ingram’s issues are stemming from his inconsistent offense, specifically from long-range. On the year, he’s hitting less than 30 percent of his threes and less than 40 percent of his shots overall. With a clip of 64.5 percent on shots around the basket, it’s clear Ingram can be effective from in close. His issue, though, is getting that close.

Although the Lakers are in the midst of a four-game losing streak, Ingram is averaging 10.5 points a night and five rebounds to go along with it. Fortunately, a lackluster rookie season won’t equal a lackluster career, and Ingram (and the Laker fans) needs to be patient during the development process.

4Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies

Dec 6, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Andrew Harrison (5) dribbles in the first half against the Philadelphia 76ers at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

One-half of the Harrison twins finds his way onto this list because he has big shoes to fill. And he’s done a respectable job. Mike Conley went down with a back injury, and the former McDonald’s All-American was thrust into a new role. He’s now the go-to point guard for Memphis, and he finally looks acclimated to the NBA.

Although he’s far from a scoring threat, 29.9 percent shooting overall, Harrison leads all rookies with 3.7 assists per game. In addition to that, he doesn’t turn the ball over much, and averages less than two turnovers a game (1.7), which is impressive by rookie standards. Over the Grizzlies’ last five games, they sit at 4-1. Harrison has three double-digit scoring games, is handing out 4.6 dimes a night and bumped his three-point percentage to 36.8.

The most overlooked part of his game is his defense, and he fits very well in Memphis system. Collectively, the Grizzlies are third in defensive efficiency, and Harrison boasts a 104 defensive rating. It’s not All-Defense worthy, but it’s promising that he’s landed in a place where the coach is actively teaching defense. Lastly, he has the help around him, but Harrison has consistently gone out there and been a reliable option sans Conley.

3Dario Saric, Philadelphia 76ers

Dec 5, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Dario Saric (9) dribbles against the Denver Nuggets during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In a similar situation to Embiid, Saric was drafted in 2014 but was stashed away in Europe as opposed to being injured. He displayed a nice, all-around game, and Saric’s stretch-four potential was the most enticing part; Philly finally got him to come over for this season after a two-year hiatus.

Now in the states, Saric is one of three rookies to average more than ten points a game, but his efficiency has been poor — destitute, actually. Overall, he’s burying 39 percent of his shots. But his accuracy from three keeps it from being worse. As the year’s gone on, Saric has gotten better with his percentages, and that includes averaging 18.3 points on 52.8 percent shooting over his last three games.

He can do it from anywhere because of the European background — from the perimeter, the post and off the dribble. Being able to handle the ball puts other bigs at a disadvantage, but it also allows Philly to have someone who can run a one-man fastbreak. All of that potential bodes well for the Sixers, who can develop a very scary frontcourt in the future.

2Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets

Dec 5, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) controls the ball against Philadelphia 76ers guard Nik Stauskas (11) during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The former Kentucky Wildcat has had ups and downs just like any rookie, but his ups are the second-best in this class. Murray’s struggling to find his touch from inside the perimeter, but he’s just as deadly a shooter as he was under John Calipari.

A 38 percent clip is nothing to scoff at, and he leads all rookies with 37 made threes. This keeps the floor open for him, but he’s not a great enough ball handler yet to take advantage of those who press upon him. Down the line, it’s unlikely for him not to develop that part of his game, and he showed at Kentucky that he’s athletic enough to contort his body and finish some wild layup attempts.

Murray’s fallen off a bit over the last six games, but the latter two of that stretch saw him return to form. With 22 points against Philly and 12 against the Brooklyn Nets (he was also +21 that game), Murray is one of the two guys who can give Embiid a run for his money.

1Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Dec 6, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid warms up prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Even with a minutes restriction and not playing in the second half of back-to-back, Joel Embiid has become a cult icon and appears to be one of the NBA’s next-gen superstars. There isn’t much he can’t do. He’s nailing half of his attempts from the perimeter, has the footwork to unleash various moves in the post and the length to contest almost anything on the defensive end.

Embiid’s leading all rookies with 18.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. All while playing less than 23 minutes. Each of his 14 games has ended with a double-double, and seven of those have seen him top 20 points.

The Sixers are keeping the Process on a minutes restriction for the foreseeable future, but it’s likely they take him off it at some point this season. There aren’t any signs of the injuries inhibiting him, and he’s able to move fluidly and explosively.

All data is from Basketball-Reference

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