Former Michigan point guard Trey Burke's January wasn't quite as good as his December, but that didn't prevent him from earning his second straight NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month award. The Utah Jazz first year standout became the first player in franchise history to win multiple Rookie of the Month awards - forward Karl Malone (Dec. 1985) was the only previous monthly rookie honoree for the Jazz.
Burke led NBA rookies in assists (6.8 apg), and ranked third in scoring (11.8 ppg) and minutes (31.5 mpg) in the month of January, scoring in double figures seven times. He dished five or more assists in nine of 12 games while helping the Jazz to a 6-6 month. He recorded consecutive point/assist double-doubles on January 15 at San Antonio and January 17 at Detroit, when he went for 20 points with a season high 12 assists.
Burke's point average dropped from December to January, but his assist average rose. He averaged 11.8 points, 6.8 assists and three rebounds in the month of January in 31.5 minutes of action per night, starting all 12 games. He was also selected to play the Rising Stars Challenge over the NBA All-Star Weekend Feb. 14, pitting the best rookies and sophomores from the league. He is one of two rookies from the Western Conference participating in the contest and was selected to Team Webber by former Wolverine Chris Webber.
"Just to have this opportunity to play and be a part of All-Star Weekend, it means a lot," Burke told DeseretNews.com. "I'm looking forward to the whole experience … the chemistry should already be there just from being a Michigan man," he said.
Former Michigan teammate Tim Hardaway Jr. of the New York Knicks and high school teammate Jared Sullinger (Celtics) were also picked to play for Team Webber.
"Usually we're competing against each other," Burke said. "For that one day, we'll be a part of the same team. We should all have fun."
Team Webber also includes Anthony Davis (New Orleans), Kelly Olynyk (Boston), Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn), Steven Adams (Oklahoma City), Victor Oladipo (Orlando) and Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia).
Burke is averaging 12.7 points and a team-leading 5.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 30.9 minutes per game this season.
Per this article, the Miami Heat's Ray Allen recently took Burke under his wing to explain his pregame routine.
Hours before the Jazz beat the Heat Feb. 8, Jazz assistant Sidney Lowe reportedly suggested Burke come out to the court to watch how Allen conducted his pregame routine. Allen then pulled Burke aside.
"We had a nice little conversation," Burke said. "He was basically trying to help me figure out how to get into a regular routine that I can stay consistent with. He said it will definitely help you out on the court.
"Me and Coach Lowe have been talking a lot about getting in that routine and establishing that early on.
He said guys usually establish it three or four years in your career. He said the earlier you get it and the earlier you're consistent at it, the better."
Burke scored 13 points and made three of eight triples, adding three assists in the 94-89 victory over the Heat. He notched 13 and five dimes in a 103-81 loss at Dallas Feb. 7 and eight points and six assists in a 94-79 setback to Toronto Feb. 3.
Hardaway Jr. and his father, former Heat standout Tim Hardaway Sr., will team with 2013 WNBA Rookie of the Year Elena Della Donne in the Shooting Stars competition Saturday.
"It was good just to have an opportunity to seize the moment," the Knicks' rookie told the Daily News before scoring 10 points in a 117-90 win over Denver Feb. 7. "I was like, 'Why not? You might as well take advantage of it.' I know a lot of people haven't seen him play a minute so it will be good just to have him out there with me."
Hardaway is fourth among NBA rookies at 9.2 points per game and has averaged 1.5 rebounds per outing. He went on a tear at the end of Jan., scoring bit in the Knicks' four-game winning streak with 18 points in a 110-103 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, 16 in a 114-88 win over Boston, a career high 29 in a 117-86 blowout of Cleveland (6-12 3FG), and then scored 17 in a 106-91 loss to Miami Feb. 1.
Veteran Jamal Crawford continues to excel with the Los Angeles Clippers. He is averaging 18.4 points and 3.3 assists per game.
Crawford has enjoyed games of 27, 19, 31, 21 and 21 points in the Clippers' last five outings, and he notched five or more assists in four of those games.
Guard Darius Morris, acquired by Memphis after being released by the Los Angeles Lakers, has scored five and four points, respectively, in his last two games with the Grizzlies. He's played in 25 NBA games this year and averaged 4.0 points and 1.7 assists per game.
The Los Angeles Lakers released former U-M guard Manny Harris after his second 10-day contract expired Feb. 8. He returned
to the NBA Development League and scored a Los Angeles D-Fenders franchise-record 56 points in a 121-106 win over the Santa Cruz Warriors two days later.
Harris scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, shattering his own previous scoring record of 49 set Jan. 10, just before his call-up to the Lakers. Harris joined the Lakers six days later, averaging 8.1 points and 3.8 rebounds through nine games. His high with the Lakers was 19, in his final appearance in Minnesota against the Timberwolves.
Harris is averaging 32.4 points in 14 games with the D-Fenders. He was also named to the D-League all-star team with the game to be played Feb. 15 in New Orleans.