Sixers have NBA's best-defending and funniest rookies

Sixers have NBA's best-defending and funniest rookies

Nerlens Noel as the Sixers' beach bash

August 6, 2014, 12:45 pm
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Good news: The Sixers' rookies are good at stuff. That's according to their rookie peers, anyway, 38 of whom were surveyed about a bunch of first-year superlatives for They answered about which rookie they thought was the most athletic, the best shooter, the most likely to win Rookie of the Year, and so on. Two such awards were taken by players about to call the Wells Fargo Center their homes away from home.

The first was "Which Rookie is the Best Defender?" You might think this would go to Nerlens Noel, who averaged two blocks and two steals a game at Summer League and generally looked like Ron Hextall playing goal around the basket at times, or Joel Embiid, who showed otherworldly defensive potential at Kansas and was counted as a rookie for the purposes of this survey, despite likely sitting out all next season. (Noel's voting presence may have been hurt by his absence at the photo shoot where the survey was conducted.)

But no, this one went to rookie wing K.J. McDaniels. KJMcD got 13.5% of the votes for Best Defender, with Embiid tying for fifth with 8.1%, and Noel falling in the "Also Receiving Votes" category. Our Clemson second-rounder certainly showed his worthiness this summer, locking up opposing wings like Andrew Wiggins and averaging over a block a game in limited minutes, though I'm still a little surprised he made more of an impression than the jaw-dropping Noel. It's peer voting, so perhaps KJ just made the strongest impression against those who had to score on him this summer.

Less surprising was the Sixer awarded "Which Rookie is the Funniest?" Unless you've been living under a rock with bad wi-fi the past month, you probably know the rep Joel Embiid has been earning himself as a Twitter must-follow, and apparently the kids are bringing their smartphones with them to Vegas and Orlando, since Joel received a winning 20% of the vote in the Funniest category. Well-earned, and we have no doubt he'll continue to live up to the rep over his rookie season.

(Some other Sixers to earn honorable mentions in the superlative voting: Noel tied for fourth in Rookie of the Year predicting and received votes for Best Defender, McDaniels also got a look in the Most Overlooked category, Jerami Grant came in third for Funniest and received a vote for Best Playmaker (????) and Jordan McRae also got a nod for Funniest.)

Anyway, should be a year full of laughs and lockdown defense. I can think of worse things for the 2014-15 Sixers.