Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid have been named the NBA Players of the Month for the month of January.
The two standout big men of the league are both in the mix for MVP honours and both have had a blistering start to the new year.
Nikola Jokic – Western Conference Player of the Month
The playmaking center guided Denver to an 11-5 record in January with averages of 26.6 points, 13.3 rebounds and 9.0 assists in 16 games. Jokic capped off the month with a triple-double (18 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists) in a road win against the Milwaukee Bucks on January 30. The Nuggets (28-22) are currently the 6th seed in the West standings.
Joel Embiid – Eastern Conference Player of the Month
Philadelphia’s standout center powered his team to a 12-3 January with averages of 34.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 15 games. He had a 50-point, 14-rebound game in 27 minutes against the Magic on January 19, scored at least 31 points in five straight games (January 3-12) and closed out the month with 36 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in a win vs the Kings on January 29. The Sixers (31-19) are currently the 2nd seed in the East standings.
As well as the Player of the Month awards, the Rookie of the Month awards have also been dished out by the NBA.
Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey have been named the NBA Rookie of the Month for January.
Cade Cunningham – Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month
The No 1 overall pick continued to pick up his pace this season with his best month yet. He led all rookies in points (17.3 ppg) and ranked second in assists (5.6 apg) to go along with averages of 4.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.8 blocks. He scored a career-high 34 points with eight rebounds and eight assists against the Denver Nuggets on January 25. He tallied his second career triple-double in a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 30. The Pistons (12-38) are currently the 14th seed in the East standings.
Josh Giddey – Western Conference Rookie of the Month
The No 6 overall pick takes home his third Rookie of the Month honor with averages of 13.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and a rookie-leading 6.1 assists during January. He scored a career-high 19 points in a win against the Brooklyn Nets, then he bested that performance eight days later with 21 points against the Charlotte Hornets. In addition, he tallied his first career triple-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists against the Dallas Mavericks on January 2. The Thunder (15-34) are currently the 14th seed in the West standings.