By Ray Boyd
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Sixers are focused on stockpiling young talent and right now the team is seeing some early returns from their group of rookies. While the team may not have their top two picks from the most recent draft, they are getting contributions from the newcomers nonetheless.
The NBA released their latest rankings for the Rookie Ladder this past week and three Sixers cracked the top ten.
Andrew Wiggins is currently regarded as the top rookie according to NBA.com, but right behind him at number two is Nerlens Noel.
While Noel may not have been drafted with this group of players, he is playing his first NBA season and is beginning to show consistent examples of the force he can be on the defensive end of the floor.
Noel currently ranks fourth among rookies in points per game (8.1), first in rebounds (7.2), second in FG percentage (.438), first in steals (1.57) and first in blocks (1.70).
The Sixers big man is on pace to be only the second rookie all-time to average at least 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks after David Robinson in 1989-90.
Coming in at number four on the list was K.J. McDaniels. He has proven to be one of the best steals of the draft.
McDaniels has proven to be a force on the defensive end of the floor, despite only being 6'6". He is the third highest scoring rookie in the league (9.3) and ranks second in blocks behind Noel with 1.32 per game.
A third Sixers rookie jumped into the rankings this week at number 10, Jerami Grant.
The rookie out of Syracuse missed time early in the season due to injury, but has been well integrated into Brett Brown's system.
Grant is averaging 5.8 points per game and is shooting an impressive 40 percent from three. Brown has likened Grant to a young Kawhi Leonard who Brown coached in San Antonio. Whether or not Grant ever lives up to that comparison is a discussion for another day, but his athleticism and hustle has been a boost for the Sixers off the bench.
The development of young players is everything to this team right now and the early returns are encouraging.
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