UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Center Walker Kessler Named Rookie Of The Month

Mar 2, 2023, 3:04 PM | Updated: 3:07 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler has been named the NBA’s Western Conference Rookie of the Month.

The Auburn product earned the award for the first time in his career for his stellar performance during the month of February.

Kessler averaged 10.6 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks while shooting 69 percent from the floor in 11 appearances.

It was the second major recognition for Kessler in February after the Jazz rookie was chosen to play in the Rising Stars Challenge.

Kessler also helped teammates Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton win the NBA Skills Challenge at All-Star weekend, and knocked down his first career three-point shot in last Wednesday’s overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The center had one of the best games of his young career against the Thunder recording seven points, seven blocks, and 18 rebounds while scoring the game-tying basket with four seconds left in regulation, and blocking Isaiah Joe’s buzzer-beating layup to send the game to overtime.

Kessler is only the fifth Jazz player to earn Rookie of the Month honors throughout the team’s illustrious history.

The center joins Donovan Mitchell who did it four times in the 2017-18 season, Rodney Hood who earned the nod in April of 2015, Trey Burke who did it twice in 2013-14, and Karl Malone who did it in December of 1985.

For the season, Kessler is averaging 8.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game as a rookie.

The Jazz center currently sits in third in the NBA’s rookie ladder rankings and is a shoo-in for the All-Rookie First Team.

Kessler was acquired by the Jazz from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for All-Star Rudy Gobert over the offseason.

Orlando Magic forward and top overall pick Paulo Banchero was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for the fourth time this season.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Jazz Center Walker Kessler Named Rookie Of The Month