New York • Memphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes has been named the Western Conference’s Rookie of the Month for February, ending Jazz point guard Trey Burke’s two-month grip on the honor.
Calathes posted six straight games of at least 10 points and five assists from Feb. 5-18. Calathes, a 2009 draft pick who opted to spend the next four seasons playing in Greece and Russia, averaged 10.7 points, 4.6 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game in February, helping the Grizzlies stay in contention for the playoffs despite missing starting point guard Mike Conley.
Magic guard Victor Oladipo won the honors in the East and seems to be in a two-man race with Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams for Rookie of the Year.
Jazz coach Ty Corbin, however, believes Burke should be in that discussion too.
“You look at how this team has grown because of his play. That should be factored in also,” Corbin said this week. “We’re not just playing for numbers. I don’t think it’s good for young guys to be on the floor just for numbers.
“I think you need to learn how to play to win games. That’s what we’re trying to do here. … He’s played the right way for the most part and we’re a better team because of how he’s playing.”
In terms of numbers, Burke’s were actually better than Calathes’ in some cases. The Jazz rookie averaged 11 points, 4.8 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game in February.
For the month, however, the Grizzlies went 7-5 while the Jazz went 5-7.
Jazz center Andris Biedrins hasn’t played in a game since logging 2 minutes against the Miami Heat on Dec. 16. On Wednesday, Biedrins wasn’t even in uniform.
The veteran center was kept inactive for the first time since Jan. 7, when he missed a game because of the flu. Before that, he had not been inactive since Nov. 25.
Forward Malcolm Thomas took Biedrins’ spot on the active roster, but did not play.
After Wednesday’s loss to the Wizards, Burke said he wanted to assume a greater leadership role within the locker room: “I think I can be more of a vocal leader. I talk to everybody, talk to all the guys. But I’m still kind of in that shell, that rookie shell where I don’t want to say too much. But I think guys are letting me talk more.”