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January 6, 2014
Hoops Alums: Burke NBA Rookie of the Month, more
Trey Burke and Utah both struggled in a 110-99 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center Jan. 3, but that was the only bad news for the former Michigan standout on that day. Burke, the No. 9 pick of the 2013 draft, was honored by the NBA as the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for December, while former Indiana star and Orlando's Victor Oladipo was selected as the Eastern Conference's top first-year player.
Burke made only three of 15 shots for six points with nine assists, outplayed by new Lakers starting point guard Kendall Marshall, who had 20 points, 15 assists and six rebounds, but he was honored with his selection, nonetheless.
"It's a great honor," Burke told deseretnews.com. "Thanks to my teammates and my coaches as well.
"I want to keep everything in perspective. It's my first year. I'm a rookie. I understand that I've got a lot being asked of me," he said. "I can't put too much pressure on myself, first and foremost. I've just got to go out there and be myself, not try to do too much, just try to be aggressive at the same time, make plays for the team and everything will work out."
Hall of Famer Karl Malone was the last Jazz player to win the rookie award back in December 1985, seven years before Burke was born.
"It's surprising," head coach Tyrone Corbin said when told of that fact. "But it's a great honor for him. It's a great honor for us to have him on this team."
The 6-1, 190-pound guard led all NBA rookies in assists (5.9) and free throw percentage (.919), ranking second in scoring (14.8) and minutes (32.7) while adding 3.1 rebounds in 16 games in December (all starts). Burke scored in double figures in 13 of the 16 games, with five or more assists 12 times, finishing with a 3.03 assist-to-turnover ratio. Burke averaged 18.1 points, 7.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds, with a plus-minus of +84 in the seven Jazz wins in December, leading the Jazz to wins in six of its final 11 games of the month.
Burke's performance came in just his 16th career game, making him the first player in the NBA to post a 30/7/8 game within his first 20 career games since Alvan Adams had 35/12/8 for Phoenix in a game at the Los Angeles Lakers on November 14, 1975.
In 24 games (22 starts) this year, Burke is averaging 13.3 points and 3.3 rebounds, along with a team-leading 5.2 assists in 30.3 minutes per game.
Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month were New York's Tim Hardaway Jr., Philadelphia's Michael Carter-Williams, and Sacramento's Ben McLemore.
Other hoops alum news:
Hardaway notched one start this year, against the Boston Celtics Dec. 8.
From Cleveland.com: "He's been pretty solid based on the minutes that we're giving him from Day One, going back to Summer League," Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said. "I trust how he plays on the basketball floor.''