Jayson Tatum was nominated for the KIA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month, but ultimately lost to the Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, per NBA.com. The award accounts for games played in October and November.
Tatum is off to a rapid start. After earning a portion of Gordon Hayward’s minutes, his polished play and dependability have been pleasantly surprising developments. The 6’8” rookie averaged 13.7 points, 5.3 boards, 1.5 assists, and a steal over 30.5 minutes per contest during October and November. He has shot an efficient 49.3 percent from the field, including a blistering 48.6 percent clip from behind the arc.
The 2017 3rd overall pick is flourishing in Brad Stevens’ system. Tatum has started all 23 games this season and is benefitting from a simplified offensive role. He is 17th amongst all rookies in usage rate and the majority of his field goal attempts are on spot ups or in transition.
But Tatum hasn’t completed abandoned the isolation skills that made him famous while at Duke. He put Amir Johnson on skates with this crossover last night:
The most impressive aspect of Tatum’s young career is his efficiency. He has shown maturity and savviness with his shot selection, but contribute meaningfully in clutch moments. Amongst rookies playing 15 or more minutes per game, Tatum has the third highest PER (16.74) and is tops in true shooting percentage.
The NBA doesn’t release voting details regarding the Rookie of the Month voting, so whether Tatum was close to winning the award remains a mystery. Simmons is a nightly triple-double threat who is already dominating the game at an elite level, so we can expect more midseason accolades to be mailed to Philadelphia. Still, Tatum should pose a regular monthly threat if he sustains these early impressive figures.
Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma won the Western Conference Rookie of the Month honors. Other nominees for were Atlanta's John Collins, Chicago's Lauri Markkanen, Dallas' Dennis Smith Jr., the Los Angeles Lakers' Lonzo Ball, Phoenix's Mike James, Sacramento's Bogdan Bogdanovic, De'Aaron Fox and Frank Mason III, and Utah's Donovan Mitchell.
Statistics are accurate as of all games headed into December 1, 2017. All non-cited statistics are from Basketball-Reference.com or NBA.com. All salary information is from RealGM.com.