Tyler Ulis Named Western Conference Rookie of the Month

by Cody Cunningham

Phoenix Suns first-year guard Tyler Ulis has been named the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in April, the league announced today.

Tyler Ulis Hits Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater

The 34th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Ulis led all rookies with both 20.7 points and 6.8 assists per game in April; the last time a rookie averaged at least this many points and assists for a calendar month was Damian Lillard in March 2013. The 5-10 point guard also averaged 3.8 rebounds and posted shooting percentages of .485 on field goals, .370 on three-pointers and .783 on free throws. Ulis scored 20-plus points in four of his six games during the month, including the highest-scoring game by any NBA rookie for the entire season with a career-high 34 points against Houston on April 2. In a win against Dallas on April 9, Ulis tallied 20 points and 10 assists to record the only 20-point, 10-assist game by a rookie in the league this season.

Ulis Scores 34 Points vs Rockets

Ulis joins Marquese Chriss, January’s Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month, to give the Suns two different winners of the award in 2016-17, the team’s second time accomplishing this and first since 1987-88 when Kevin Johnson (April) and Armon Gilliam (January) were recipients. Overall, Ulis is the fifth different Suns player to win the rookie monthly honor and this is the sixth Rookie of the Month won by a Sun since the award’s inception in 1981-82. In addition to Ulis and Chriss this season, and Johnson and Gilliam in 1987-88, Amar’e Stoudemire won the honor in both April and January of the 2002-03 season.

Ulis and Chriss: Rising to the Opportunity

For the season, Ulis averaged 7.3 points (14th among rookies), 3.7 assists (third) and 0.79 steals (eighth) in 61 appearances. After entering the starting lineup on March 15, Ulis averaged 16.1 points, 8.5 assists and 1.20 steals with six double-doubles over the season’s final 15 games.

Tyler Ulis Returns to Chicago, Reunites with Family