The Trail Blazers announced Friday afternoon that Damian Lillard has won his third Rookie of the Month award. He has now matched the total Rookie of the Month awards won by Brandon Roy in Roy’s Rookie of the Year season of 2006-07.
Here’s the official release:
DAMIAN LILLARD NAMED KIA NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE ROOKIE OF THE MONTH FOR JANUARY
Trail Blazers guard led all rookies in scoring, assists, minutes and 3-pointers made for the month
PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard was named Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for January, it was announced today by the NBA.
Lillard, 22, paced all rookies with 17.7 points, 6.8 assists, 39.5 minutes and 35 3-pointers made to go with 3.4 rebounds and 1.06 steals for the month.
The 6-foot-3 point guard has now earned Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month honors in all three months of the season. He joins Brandon Roy (January, February and March 2007) as the only Trail Blazers in franchise history to win the award three times.
Lillard tallied a career-high 37 points Jan. 11 at Golden State, going 7-for-12 from 3-point range to become just the fourth rookie in NBA history to count 37 points and seven 3-pointers in a game.
His eight games of 20 points and eight assists rank seventh among NBA players this season.
The Weber State product holds season averages of 18.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, a team-high 6.5 assists and 1.04 steals in 38.4 minutes. Portland selected him with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Washington’s Bradley Beal earned Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honors.
My cursory research into the history of the Rookie of the Month award has told me the following:
Since the 2001-02 season, when the NBA awarded Rookie of the Month to one guy in the East and another in the West, four players have swept the award for the season. LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony did it in 03-04, Chris Paul in 05-06, and Blake Griffin in 10-11. Carmelo is the only player to sweep the award and not win Rookie of the Year, losing out to LeBron.
There are a handful of guys that have won Rookie of the Month three times or more and NOT won Rookie of the Year. Those guys include John Wall (10-11), Steph Curry and Brandon Jennings (09-10), Al Horford (07-08), Raymond Felton (05-06), Ben Gordon (04-05), Melo, and Caron Butler (02-03). As much as Damian Lillard winning Rookie of the Year feels like a lock, history would say otherwise.
However, the nouveau favorite Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons might be a long shot to unseat Dame as the NBA’s top rookie. Tyreke Evans and A’mare Stoudemire are the only guys since 01-02 to win Rookie of the Year after winning Rookie of the Month only twice. Drummond has yet to win Rookie of the Month in the East. He’ll basically have to win out on the season to push the odds in his favor.