Sixers Forward Dario Saric Named NBA’s Eastern Conference Rookie Of The Month
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MARCH 2, 2017 – Philadelphia 76ers forward Dario Saric was named the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in February, the NBA announced today. He leads all qualified NBA rookies in points and rebounds per game.
Saric is the second Sixers player to win the award this season, joining center Joel Embiid (October/November, December and January). The last team to have two different winners in the same season was Milwaukee in 2007-08.
Saric averaged 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes per game in 12 February contests. He scored in double figures in 11 of 12 those games, including five 20-point games. No other rookie had more than two 20-point games, while the entire rookie class outside of Saric totaled seven such games.
From Feb. 8-28, Saric posted 20 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game. The only players aside from the Croatian rookie with such averages were Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins, Golden State’s Kevin Durant, the Clippers’ Blake Griffin and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook.
Saric became the first Sixers rookie ever to post at least 18 points and 11 rebounds in four consecutive games (Feb. 13-25). In that stretch, he set career-highs with 26 points in a win on Feb. 9 at Orlando and on Feb. 25 with 15 rebounds against the Knicks.
Saric added 19 points and five assists to his 15 rebounds against New York. He became the first NBA rookie to post 19 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in a game since Griffin on March 26, 2011 vs. Toronto and the first Sixers rookie to do so since Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham on November 12, 1965 against Boston.
Against the Golden State on Feb. 27, Saric connected on nine of his 10 free-throws attempts while setting career-highs in each category. He’s tied for third on the team with 104 made free throws and the only rookies with more are teammate Joel Embiid and Memphis’ Aaron Harrison. He leads all qualified rookies with a mark of 79 percent from the line.
The first-year forward leads all rookies with 35 double-figure scoring games, and is the only rookie averaging at least 10 points per game this season. He leads all qualified rookies in points and rebounds per game, field-goal and free-throw percentage.
Saric is the fifth Sixers player to be named Rookie of the Month since the award’s inception in 1981-82. He joins Embiid (three times in 2016-17), Michael Carter-Williams (four times in 2013-14), Allen Iverson (twice in 1996-97) and Jerry Stackhouse (once in 1995-96).