Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero and Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray have been named the NBA's Rookies of the Month for January. Banchero beat out all other Eastern Conference rookies, while Murray beat out his Western Conference peers.
Banchero averaged 20.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.7 threes and 1.3 steals in January, while leading Orlando to victories over the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers among others. This is Banchero's second consecutive Rookie-of-the-Month award, as he also took home the honor in December.
Banchero recently spoke to Basketball News about his rookie year and transition to the NBA.
“It’s been good, it’s just been a learning process. I’m still learning, but I’m definitely more comfortable than I was at the beginning of the season,” Banchero said. “I think as the year goes on, stuff changes. In this game, you have ups and downs. I think I started off really hot and then you slow down and then you heat back up, and that’s just kinda how it goes.
"I think that’s just what I’ve been learning – how to sustain a solid focus and intensity that you can bring every night. There’s so many games, so that’s really just what I’ve been trying to learn and pick up on. It’s been a learning process, but I’ve had a lot of fun so far.”
Murray averaged 14.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.2 threes in January. Like Banchero, this is Murray's second consecutive Rookie-of-the-Month award, as he also took home the honor in December. After winning 10-of-15 games last month, the Kings have the third-best record in the West (29-21).
Banchero was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, while Murray was selected No. 4.
The other nominees for Rookie of the Month were Tari Eason (HOU), Jabari Smith Jr. (HOU), Walker Kessler (UTA), Jeremy Sochan (SAS), Jalen Williams (OKC), Jaden Ivey (DET) and Bennedict Mathurin (IND).