76ers' Embiid, Suns' Chriss named top rookies for January
NEW YORK — The Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid and the Phoenix Suns’ Marquese Chriss today were named Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in January.
Embiid, the third pick in NBA Draft 2014 presented by State Farm, has earned the Eastern Conference honor all three months this season. In January, the 7-foot center led all rookies in scoring (23.4 ppg), rebounding (9.1 rpg) and blocked shots (2.56 bpg). Philadelphia went 7-2 when Embiid played and 10-5 overall for the month. Embiid scored at least 20 points in each of his first seven games of January after doing the same in his final three games of December, joining Allen Iverson as the only players in 76ers history to record 10 straight 20-point games in their rookie seasons.
Chriss, the eighth pick in NBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm, ranked fourth among Western Conference rookies in scoring (8.3 ppg), fifth in rebounding (3.6 rpg) and third in field goal percentage (45.9) for the month. He also led all first-year players in steals with 1.36 per game. The 6-10 forward scored in double figures five times, including a career-high 20 points against the Memphis Grizzlies on Jan. 30.
As part of NBA All-Star 2017, Embiid and Chriss are both set to compete in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 17 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans (9 p.m. ET, TNT and ESPN Radio).
Here is a recap of January for Embiid and Chriss:
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Jan. 13 vs. Charlotte: Posted 24 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in a 102-93 win over the Hornets.
Jan. 16 @ Milwaukee: Notched 22 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks in a 113-104 victory against the Bucks.
Jan. 18 vs. Toronto: Scored 26 points (12-of-14 free throws) and grabbed nine rebounds in a 94-89 win over the Raptors.
Marquese Chriss, Phoenix Suns
Jan. 3 vs. Miami: Recorded 18 points and six rebounds in a 99-90 victory against the Heat.
Jan. 8 vs. Cleveland: Contributed 12 points, four assists, three rebounds and three blocks in a 120-116 loss to the Cavaliers.
Jan. 21 @ New York: Notched 15 points, five rebounds and three steals in a 107-105 win over the Knicks.
Other nominees for the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month were Brooklyn’s Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac, Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon, New Orleans’ Buddy Hield and Philadelphia’s Dario Saric.