Why Jalen Williams did not win December Rookie of the Month

Jalen Williams #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jalen Williams #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder saw their lottery pick, Jalen Williams, take home the October/November Western Conference Rookie of the Month after a scorching hot start to his NBA career. The Thunder are used to their rookies taking home hardware as Josh Giddey won each Western Conference Rookie of the Month award he was eligible for last season before an injury to Giddey allowed a different rookie to receive the honor.

So when the NBA handed out the December Rookie of the Month and it was not Jalen Williams, OKC Thunder fans might have been wondering, what gives? It is not as though Williams got worse he averaged more points, rebounds, and assists, than in November, shot better former three-point land, and had the same usage rate.

Why Oklahoma City Thunder rookie forward Jalen Williams did not repeat as Rookie of the Month for December in the Western Conference

The reason is simple, giving others recognition. But how can I say that? I just reminded you all about Josh Giddey’s stretch of dominance last year hoarding all but one Western Conference Rookie of the Month honor.

The difference between this year and last year was Josh Giddey was miles ahead of any Western Conference rookie a year ago. While 2021 was a loaded draft class, Evan Mobley, Scottie Barnes, and Cade Cunningham were all in the East battling it out for the award. The West just had Jalen Green who started a tad slow, Alprene Sengun, Jonathan Kuminga, and his teammate Tre Mann who was a nominee for the February award.

When the cases for the award are comparable, the NBA will spread the wealth so that way more rookies, fanbases, and organizations can enjoy the recognization.

For December, Jalen Williams posted 12.3 points, four rebounds, and two assists while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 31 percent from the three-point line. While Williams was a Rookie of the Month nominee, he was beaten out for the honor.

Keegan Murray, the Kings rookie who edged out Williams for the award averaged 12.7 points, three rebounds, and almost an assist per game while shooting 46 percent from both the floor and the three-point line.

Rockets Rookie Jabari Smith Jr, who was also a nominee for the award, averaged the same amount of points per game as Murray, but hauled in seven rebounds and dished out an assist per game but shot just 43 percent from the floor and 32 percent from three.

The stat lines were simply too close to go with a repeat winner and not give more shine to other young players around the NBA’s Western Conference.

However, in 26 days the honor will be up for grabs again for this class of rookies, and Jalen Williams could get back on top of the Western Conference mountain.

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