Chriss Named NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month

by Cody Cunningham

Phoenix Suns first-year forward Marquese Chriss has been named the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in January, the league announced today.

The eighth pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Chriss averaged 8.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals for the month. He topped all first-year players with 19 steals and his .459 field goal percentage was second-highest among Western Conference rookies to average at least eight points. The 6-10 forward scored a career-high 20 points against Memphis on Jan. 30, besting his previous high of 18 points set earlier in the month on Jan. 3 versus Miami. He was the only rookie in the West to record multiple games with at least 18 points in January. Overall, Chriss had five games scoring in double figures during the month and a rookie-high seven games with multiple steals.

Chriss Scores Career-High 20 Points

Chriss is the fourth different Suns player to win the rookie monthly honor and this is only the fifth Rookie of the Month won by a Suns player since the award’s inception in 1981-82. The last Sun to win the honor was Amar’e Stoudemire in April 2003 as Stoudemire also earned the distinction for January 2003. The only other Suns to win the award are Kevin Johnson in April 1988 and Armon Gilliam in January 1988.

For the season, Chriss is one of just two rookies along with Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid to rank in the top eight among first-year players in points, rebounds, steals and blocks per game. Chriss is averaging 7.4 points (7th among rookies) on 42.6 percent shooting (6th), 3.4 rebounds (8th), 0.80 steals (7th) and 0.53 blocks (5th).

His performance earned Chriss an invite to participate in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star 2017 in New Orleans on Friday, Feb. 17. He will be joined in the event by Suns guard Devin Booker, who will also play for the U.S. Team.