Thunder guard Josh Giddey has been named January’s Rookie of the Month for the Western Conference, while Pistons guard Cade Cunningham earned the honors for the Eastern Conference, the NBA announced on Wednesday (Twitter link). The other nominees can be found here.
With most of this season’s top rookies in the East, Giddey won the Western award for a third straight time. He averaged 13.3 PPG, 8.6 RPG, and 6.1 APG on 14 games (33.2 MPG) for the Thunder in January, posting a shooting line of .443/.284/.786.
Cunningham is a first-time Rookie of the Month, joining Evan Mobley and Franz Wagner as the East’s award winners so far in 2021/22. The rising Pistons star got off to a slow start, but began to flash more potential in January, averaging 17.3 PPG, 5.6 APG, and 4.2 RPG on .420/.365/.879 shooting in 15 games (32.3 MPG).
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- The Suns‘ 13-1 performance in January earned head coach Monty Williams his second Coach of the Month nod of 2021/22, the NBA announced on Wednesday (via Twitter). Williams was also named the Western Conference’s Coach of the Month for October/November. J.B. Bickerstaff, whose Cavaliers had an 11-4 month, was the East’s Coach of the Month for January.
- Hall-of-Famer Bill Fitch, a two-time Coach of the Year, has passed away at age 89, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein (Twitter link). Fitch coached the Cavaliers, Celtics, Rockets, Nets, and Clippers from 1970-98, winning a title with Boston in 1981.
- Veteran NBA big man Jordan Bell was acquired this week by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Pacers‘ G League affiliate, per a press release. The Mad Ants made a trade with the Santa Cruz Warriors – Golden State’s affiliate – to secure Bell’s NBAGL rights.
- In an in-depth story for The Athletic, Joe Vardon details the series of logistical nightmares the Nigerian national team experienced en route to competing at the Tokyo Olympics last summer. As Vardon outlines, several assistant coaches who flew to Japan never made it into the Olympics and Nigeria nearly wasn’t able to play its first game after almost missing a necessary round of COVID-19 testing. The team entered the Olympics with medal aspirations, but lost all three of its round-robin games and was quickly eliminated.