The Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Buddy Hield today were named the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in December.
Embiid, 22, the third pick in NBA Draft 2014 presented by State Farm, led all rookies in scoring (19.8 ppg), rebounding (6.8 rpg) and blocked shots (2.40 bpg) in December. He also attempted a rookie-high 73 free throws in 10 games, hitting 78.1 percent. The 7-foot center scored 23 or more points in four of his last five games during the month, highlighted by a career-high 33-point performance to go with 10 rebounds in a 108-107 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 18.
Hield, 23, the sixth pick in NBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm, led West rookies in scoring (10.6 ppg) and three-point field goal percentage (47.8) and topped all first-year players in three-pointers made (33). The 6-4 guard scored in double figures nine times in 16 games, including 12 or more points in each of the final three games of December (a 3-0 stretch for New Orleans). On Dec. 15, Hield set career highs with 21 points and five three-pointers in a 102-95 victory against the Indiana Pacers.
Here is a recap of December for Embiid and Hield:
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Dec. 18 vs. Brooklyn: Recorded 33 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in a 108-107 victory over the Nets.
Dec. 23 @ Phoenix: Scored 27 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a 123-116 loss to the Suns.
Dec. 30 @ Denver: Posted 23 points, six rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals in a 124-122 win against the Nuggets.
Buddy Hield, New Orleans Pelicans
Dec. 15 vs. Indiana: Registered 21 points and four rebounds in a 102-95 win against the Pacers.
Dec. 26 vs. Dallas: Scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field in a 111-104 victory over the Mavericks.
Dec. 28 vs. LA Clippers: Finished with 17 points, six rebounds and two steals in a 102-98 victory against the Clippers.
Other nominees for the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month were Brooklyn’s Isaiah Whitehead, Dallas’ Dorian Finney-Smith, Denver’s Jamal Murray, Memphis’ Andrew Harrison, Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon, Philadelphia’s Dario Saric and Phoenix’s Marquese Chriss.