NEW YORK – The Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum and the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell today were named the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in December.
Tatum ranked second among Eastern Conference rookies in scoring (14.6 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (5.9 rpg) in 17 games in December for Boston, which went 11-6 to maintain its place atop the East standings. He made a rookie-high 59 free throws and finished fourth or better among all first-year players in field goal percentage (52.9), three-point field goal percentage (45.1) and free throw percentage (81.9). The 19-year-old forward scored in double figures 14 times, including two games with 20 points, and grabbed 10 rebounds three times. Tatum recorded two of his three career double-doubles during the month.
Mitchell led all rookies in scoring (23.1 ppg) and steals (1.77 spg) in 13 games during December, and his 88.2 free throw percentage (45-of-51) was the highest mark among first-year players with more than 20 attempts. He also ranked third among Western Conference rookies in field goal percentage (50.7) and fourth in assists (3.8 apg). The 21-year-old guard opened the month by scoring 41 points in a 114-108 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Dec. 1, a Jazz rookie record and the first 40-point game by an NBA rookie since Blake Griffin in January 2011. Mitchell scored more than 25 points seven times in December.
Here are additional highlights for Tatum and Mitchell in December:
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Dec. 6 vs. Dallas: Scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 97-90 victory over the Mavericks, notching his second career double-double.
Dec. 16 @ Memphis: Registered 19 points and 10 rebounds (six offensive boards) in a 102-93 win against the Grizzlies.
Dec. 18 @ Indiana: Shot 6-of-8 from the field and finished with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists in a 112-111 victory against the Pacers.
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Dec. 5 @ Oklahoma City: Finished with 31 points, a career-high five steals and four assists in a 100-94 loss to the Thunder.
Dec. 15 @ Boston: Posted 17 points, a career-high nine assists and five rebounds in a 107-95 victory against the Celtics.
Dec. 30 vs. Cleveland: Recorded 29 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals in a 104-101 win over the Cavaliers.
Other nominees for the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month were Atlanta’s John Collins, Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen, Dallas’ Dennis Smith Jr., the Los Angeles Lakers’ Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and Sacramento’s Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month
The Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month are part of a series of oncourt performance awards called the “Kia NBA Performance Awards.” The series, currently in its 11th season, is part of a multiyear marketing partnership between Kia Motors America and the NBA, and also includes five of the league’s most prestigious year-end honors: Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award, Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, Kia NBA Sixth Man Award, Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award and Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Kia will donate the 2018 Kia Stinger to each year-end award winner’s charity of choice. The five year-end Kia NBA Performance Awards will be presented following the 2017-18 season. Kia serves as the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League. For more information on the “Kia NBA Performance Awards,” visit nba.com/video/kia-performance-awards.