Keegan Murray
Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray has been named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for December. Jameel Pugh, OBSERVER

Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray has been named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for December, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced Jan. 3.

The fourth overall selection in the 2022 draft, Murray averaged 12.7 points on 46% field goal shooting (46.4% on three-pointers), 3.5 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 28.6 minutes in 14 games – all starts – in December for the Kings (19-16).

Murray began the final month of 2022 with a new career high of 23 points to go with seven rebounds in a win at the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 3. The Iowa native had 18 points on 6-of-8  three-point shooting in a win at Cleveland on Dec. 9 and finished with 20 points (7-13, 4-6) in a victory over Detroit on Dec. 16.

Murray followed those outings with a career-high tying 23 points in Sacramento’s win vs. the Lakers on Dec. 21, going 7 for 17 from the floor, including 6 of 12 from beyond the arc, to become the first Kings rookie with five or more three-pointers in multiple December games.

The forward’s first Rookie of the Month honor comes after he led all rookies in three-pointers made (39), games with multiple three-point field goals (10) and three-point field goal percentage. Murray, the eighth player in franchise history to receive Rookie of the Month honors, has made at least one three-point shot in the last 19 games as of Jan. 3.

Murray is just one of three rookies to make 35 or more three-point attempts in December, joining Kyle Kuzma (2017-18, 38) and Luka Doncic (2018-19, 35) and the first to also shoot 45.0% or better from three-point distance. The NBA adopted the three-point shot in the 1979-80 season.

Murray’s three games with 20-plus points tied for second in the month among rookies and marked the most by a first-year Kings player in December since Tyreke Evans (2009-10, 8).

Among all rookies this season, Murray ranks fifth in scoring (11.5) and total points (137) and first in three-point field goals made (73) and three-point shooting percentage (38.2%).

Murray trails rookies Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic (20.9), Indiana Pacers’ Bennedict Mathurin (17.1), Detroit Pistons’ Jaden Ivey (15.3) and the Houston Rockets’ Jabari Smith Jr. (12.1) in scoring.