In an official release Thursday afternoon, it NBA announced that Yogi Ferrell of the Dallas Mavericks and Dario Šarić of the Philadelphia 76ers were named the Kia Rookies of the Month of the Western and Eastern Conferences, for the month of February. This is the first time either player has been honored by their on-court work with this award, and it marks the first month of the season where Joel Embiid was not named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month.
Embiid was recently ruled out for the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus, which has caused many to wonder which rookies will separate themselves in the race for the honors of Rookie of the Year. Both Ferrell and Šarić have taken huge steps forward in that race and, in doing so, have become crucial proponents to their respected teams’ game-plans.
In the 12 games he played in February, Šarić averaged 17.0 points, leading all rookies; 7.9 rebound, second amongst all rookies; and 2.8 assists, third amongst all Eastern Conference rookies. He also shot .443 from the field, which ranks sixth on his team last month. Fourth if you disqualify Justin Anderson and Nerlens Noel due to their mid-month trade. Šarić’s month was highlighted in his February 9th, performance against the Orlando Magic, where he put up 26 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals, while shooting 8-15 from the field and 3-5 from beyond the arc. He also boasted an impressive +/- of +25.
Ferrell on the other hand, averaged 12.0 points and 4.7 assist in his 11 games played during the month, leading all Western Conference rookies in those categories. He was also lights out from beyond the arc, drilling an NBA rookie high of 23 three-pointers made. He’s also only the fourth player from the Indiana University to win this award since the 1981-’82 season, which is as far back as the award goes. The other three: Victor Oladipo, Eric Gordon and Isiah Thomas.