Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler was named the NBA’s Western Conference Rookie of the Month for February. Kessler started in all eleven of Utah’s games in February and averaged 10.6 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks per game while shooting 68.9% from the field.
The Kia NBA Rookies of the Month for February! #KiaROTM— NBA (@NBA) March 2, 2023
West: Walker Kessler (@utahjazz)
East: Paolo Banchero (@OrlandoMagic) pic.twitter.com/kjlnY6BH76
Walker Kessler’s emergence as a legitimate starting center in his first season has been a massive boost for the Jazz. His presence at the rim, on the glass, and in the pick & roll has been impossible to miss. Since winning the starting role, Kessler has had some big moments since winning the starting role, including clutch rebounds, buckets, and blocks. The Rookie has been turning heads around the league and looks set to receive All-Rookie First team honors. He may even have an outside shot at a push for the Rookie of the Year award.
Walker Kessler looks like the biggest steal of the 2022 draft class thus far relative to where he was picked (No. 22) and the fact that he's a very capable starting option already at just 21 years old. ESPN rookie power rankings: https://t.co/ebv2jwYd51 pic.twitter.com/me8B3JXtBl— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) February 17, 2023
Some fun Walker Kessler stats
- On February 23rd, Walker Kessler recorded seven blocks and one three-pointer. He joins Andrei Kirilenko as the only other Jazz player ever to do that in a single game. (Kirilenko did it eight times)
- Kessler is only the fifth Utah Jazz player to receive the Rookie of the Month honor. Donovan Mitchell (4x), Trey Burke (2x), Rodney Hood, and Karl Malone are the other Utah players who received the award.
- If named to the All-Rookie first team, Kessler would be the 8th Jazz player to do so, joining Donovan Mitchell, Trey Burke, Deron Williams, Andrei Kirilenko, Karl Malone, Thurl Bailey, and Darrell Griffith.
- This season, Walker Kessler’s 131 blocks are third all-time for a Utah Jazz rookie. If he reaches 160, he’ll pass Kirilenko for second, behind only Mark Eaton (275).