Despite posting relatively modest numbers overall, rookie guard Andrew Nembhard has undoubtedly been one of the best rookies this season. His two-way impact for the Indiana Pacers cannot possibly be understated, as he has emerged as a reliable force on both ends of the court in his first foray into the big league.
Having started most games for the Blue and Gold as Tyrese Haliburton’s sidekick in the backcourt, Nembhard’s role has been largely ancillary — serving as a secondary playmaker in the opening group and arguably the team’s most reliable perimeter defender. However, the Gonzaga standout has shown that he can also handle a primary role with ease, thriving even without his All-Star teammate. In the Pacers’ latest win over the Raptors, he posted 25 points and 10 assists to lead the team to a dub.
Overall, Nembhard should be a lock to make the All-Rookie Team this season. The only question is whether he will make the First or Second Team.
Indiana Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard should make the All-Rookie Team this season
This rookie class admittedly touts a frontcourt-heavy pool of talent, but this is not to downplay the bevy of talented backcourt cogs among all freshmen. Bennedict Mathurin, Indiana’s other rookie standout, should be a virtual lock to snag the other First Team All-Rookie berth, but will Andrew Nembhard claim the other one for himself?
Among all rookie guards, Detroit’s Jaden Ivey reigns supreme in the scoring, having registered 15.4 points per game so far, a mark that is good for third among all rookies. Having assumed the robe as the Pistons’ primary playmaker sans Cade Cunningham, Ivey is perhaps Nembhard’s biggest threat for the First Team.
San Antonio’s Malaki Branham and Dallas’ Jaden Hardy have been fiery as of late following slow starts, but both are more likely to make the Second Team. Portland’s Shaedon Sharpe shoudl also be a contender, but he’s more likely to outright miss the All-Rookie Team.
Realistically, Andrew Nembhard will make the Second Team, as Mathurin and Ivey have done so much in their much bigger roles and burden offensively. Still, if voters give heavy credence to defense, he could potentially unseat the latter and ensure that the Indiana Pacers have their two rookies among the top five in the current campaign.