The NBA Rookie of the Year 2017 race was figured to be a foregone conclusion several weeks ago. Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid has been considered the frontrunner for the award through most of the season, but a recent injury has several other contenders possibly moving into the race. Can Embiid's teammate Dario Saric, or other rookies like Malcolm Brogdon of the Bucks or Buddy Hield of the Kings somehow claim this award? Here's a look at the latest rookie picture and who is leading the way.

Saric right behind Embiid

With Embiid recently being ruled out for the remainder of this NBA season, the Sixers will look once again towards next season.

As crazy as it sounds, the team has now lost their top picks to injuries over the last three or four years, showing a bad trend for anyone drafted to the team. However, rookie Dario Saric has been coming on strong with the absence of both Embiid and the No. 1 pick this past year, Ben Simmons.

Embiid continues to sit atop's rookie rankings, but Saric has moved right into second place on the list, taking over for Malcolm Brogdon. As indicated, Saric put together some impressive averages over the month of February with 17 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 44.3 percent shooting from the floor in 30.9 minutes of game action on average. While Philadelphia isn't really a contender right now, one has to think management is happy with how many young prospects they have to build upon in the future of this franchise.

Other rookie candidates?

As mentioned, Saric took over the No. 2 spot from Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon, who is now No. 3 on the rookie rankings list. Brogdon is averaging nearly 10 points a game, 4.1 assists, and 2.7 rebounds in about 25.9 minutes per contest. He's helping NBA All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo and young teammate Jabari Parker along with the Bucks to make a serious push towards a low seed in the East's playoff picture.

The top five of the rookie rankings are rounded out by Phoenix Suns' forward Marquese Chriss and brand new Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield. The Phoenix Suns will be amongst lottery teams this season, but Marquese Chriss is one of their young talents who will lead the way into the future era. Chris has been averaging eight points, 3.5 rebounds, and under an assist and block per game.

He current logs about 19 minutes or more of game time.

The Sacramento Kings are quite high on Hield, as he was brought over as a key part of the trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans. While some are not quite under the belief that Hield is the next Stephen Curry, he has shown his ability to shoot and score in college as well as at the pro level.

Even sidelined with an injury, Joel Embiid still seems likely to capture this year's NBA Rookie of the Year award. However, the teams who currently have the other players mentioned definitely have a lot to look forward to in their futures.