Rookie of the Month Nick Calathes is making a strong case for a repeat honor in March

I was there in attendance when it happened. In the 3rd quarter in a game against the Thunder, Nick Calathes' name was announced, and a chorus of boos rained down at FedEx Forum. I know it felt pretty awkward for me, so I'm sure it had to be horrible for him. Did Nick deserve it? I'm not sure any player deserves to be booed by his home crowd. Especially considering that he only committed the crime of entering a game to relieve a starter.

Let's fast forward to a few weeks later. Mike Conley hurts his ankle and Jerryd Bayless is now a Celtic.  It is revealed that Conley would be out multiple games, and a collective groan was muttered by the entire Grizz nation. "Holy crap, Nick Calthes is going to be the starter." I'm not going to lie. I was really scared that our season, which was already on life support, was now in major jeopardy. I also figured a trade would have to be coming any day soon. Any Grizzly fan that now claims that they weren't worried then is a stone-cold liar. Like me, they had seen the less than spectacular game-time decisions by Calathes and heard the demoralizing boos to which could only make the performances worse. I know they all felt the disappointment knowing Mike was out and had heard the negative predictions throughout the various media outlets. It is truly amazing how fast things can change in the NBA. One day after Conley's injury, Calathes started and instantly morphed from a liability to a potential savior of the season and another Grizzlies fan favorite. For those seven starts in February, Calathes proved to everyone that not only he wasn't a bust, but that he was a great point guard that belonged in the league.

Up until Mike Conley's injury, I seriously doubt anyone thought Calathes would receive any honors this season. Stepping up in Mike's absence, he averaged 14.7 pts, 4.9 assists, in 36 minutes while only committing 2.9 turn overs in seven starts. Those numbers combined with the rest of February's games lead to Rookie of the Month honors. Now it is way too late in the season for him to compete for the annual Rookie of the Year award, but if you look at his numbers for March's games compared to the leading rookie candidates, I believe he is making a strong case for a repeat performance for another Rookie of the Month honor.

Right now the Rookie of the Year award seems to be a two way fight between Michael Carter-Williams and Trey Burke.  Carter-Williams, the leading candidate, has 181 pts, 77 assists in 12 games in March, while Burke's numbers are 165 pts and 59 assists in 12 games.  When comparing Calathes numbers to those, they do not seem very impressive at first glance.  Nick only has 56 pts and 48 assists in 12 games this month.  However, when you consider that Calathes has only played half the minutes of Carter-Williams and Burke, his numbers gain more merit.

For the month of March, the three players have the following stats:

Games

Minutes

Points

Assists

Turn Overs

Carter-William

12

436

181

77

53

Burke

12

408

165

59

23

Calathes

12

212

56

48

12

Mins/Game

Pts/Game

FG%

Asts/Game

TO/Game

Ast/TO

Carter-William

36.3

15.1

0.388

6.4

4.4

1.5

Burke

34.0

13.8

0.412

4.9

1.9

2.6

Calathes

17.7

4.7

0.511

4.0

1.0

4.0

Both Carter-Williams and Burke are starting on lottery bound teams that have nothing close to resembling an all-star on their team. It's hard to exactly predict what Calathes would have averaged with similar minutes, so it is best to focus on the most impressive numbers that jumps out. In only half the amount of time, Calathes is averaging close to the same amount of assists and has an amazing 4 to 1 assist to turn over ratio (before the Heat and Pacers game it was almost 5 to 1). And while he is not scoring many points, Calathes is making the most out of the shots he does take. I'm not sure that if given similar time to Burke and Carter-Williams, Calathes would have greater amount of points and assists, since he is a team that doesn't need him to be a primary scorer, however by seeing what he did while being a starter, it is okay to assume it is possible.  Since that is all speculation, all we can really do is look at the stats that won him Rookie of the Month and compare those to his stats in March.

The comparison is here:

Games

Minutes

Points

Assists

Turn Overs

Starting

7

252

103

34

20

Feb

12

344

128

55

29

March

12

212

56

48

12

Mins/Game

Pts/Game

FG%

Asts/Game

TO/Game

Ast/TO

Starting

36.0

14.7

0.518

4.9

2.9

1.7

Feb

28.7

10.7

0.495

4.6

2.4

1.9

March

17.7

4.7

0.511

4.0

1.0

4.0

Once again, though he is averaging 11 less minutes a game, he is shooting close the same percentage, averaging the same amount of assists and turning over ball over twice as less.

There are still five games left in March, so Calathes' averages could be different next week, and unless Conley is injured, I doubt his playing time will change much. If that's the case, then all his averages should remain close to the stats listed.  While I admit that they aren't the most impressive stats I've ever seen, I think if the NBA was impressed with his February stats, then he should definitely be considered for the honor in March.

SB Nation Featured Video
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Grizzly Bear Blues

You must be a member of Grizzly Bear Blues to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Grizzly Bear Blues. You should read them.

Join Grizzly Bear Blues

You must be a member of Grizzly Bear Blues to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Grizzly Bear Blues. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker