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.
December 2 vs. Houston: Posted 21 points, three rebounds and six assists without a turnover as the Jazz defeated the Rockets, 109-103.
December 7 vs. Sacramento: Registered 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a 112-102 overtime loss to the Kings.
December 13 at Denver: Notched 10 points and 10 assists with one turnover as the Jazz won in Denver, 103-93.
December 18 at Orlando: Scored 30 points with seven rebounds and eight assists in an 86-82 win over the Magic. His 30 points are the most scored by any NBA rookie this season, and he became the first NBA rookie with at least 30/7/8 in a game since the Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin tallied a 31/10/10 game vs. Memphis on April 13, 2011.
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.
December 21 at Charlotte: Tallied 20 points, three rebounds and four assists in a turnover-free effort as the Jazz won at Charlotte, 88-85.
December 30 vs. Charlotte: Totaled 21 points, three rebounds and five assists with just one turnover as the Jazz defeated the Bobcats, 83-80.
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:
Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to impress in his rookie season, averaging 8.7 points and 1.3 points per game. Oklahoma City beat Hardaway's New York Knicks, 123-94, at Madison Square Garden Christmas day, but Hardaway score a career high 21 points in 38 minutes. He made eight of 19 field goals and two of seven three-pointers, including a 25-footer before the shot clock early in the game.
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.''
Los Angeles Clippers veteran guard Jamal Crawford is averaging 16.8 points per game and has been in the starting lineup for the last several weeks. He scored 24 points and dished seven assists in a 116-92 loss at San Antonio Jan. 4, registered 17 points in a 119-112 win at Dallas Jan. 3 and 15 points in a 107-88 loss to Phoenix Dec. 30.
The Philadelphia 76s waived third year guard Darius Morris, and he later worked out for the Memphis Grizzlies. The Los Angeles Lakers thought of signing him after Kobe Bryant went down, but Morris' first NBA team apparently passed.
Manny Harris scored 41 points in his NBA Developmental League debut with the Los Angeles D-Fenders in the NBA Developmental League, scoring 41 points. Harris is averaging 27.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists through nine games. He played in the Ukraine last year after being released by NBA Cleveland.
Stu Douglass is playing for Galil Gilboa in Israel, averaging 7.9 points and 1.6 assists in 21.6 minutes per game.
DeShawn Sims is also playing for Galil Bilboa after going to training camp with the Boston Celtics this fall. Sims is averaging 14.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He has played in the D-League, South Korea and Lebanon since graduating.
Brent Petway played in France and for the Harlem Globetrotters, but now averages 6.9 points and 3.2 rebounds for Olympiacos, the top team in the top league in Greece.
Jevohn Shepherd is in the third division in Italy playing with Omegna, where averaging 21 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
Chris Hunter had overcome a knee injury to rejoin the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, averaging 8.9 points per game, but has not played since Dec. 19.
Dion Harris plays in Colombia and has spent time in Japan, Venezuela, Germany, Syria and Cyprus, among others.
Courtney Sims was a D-League standout a few years back but now plays for the SK Knights in South Korea. He averages 10 points and five rebounds per game.
Chris Young is averaging 7.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for Aalstar in Belgium.
Josh Asselin is with Spain's La Bruixa d'Or and averaging 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. He's also played in Iran, Puerto Rico and for other Spanish teams.