Wolves center Gorgui Dieng on Tuesday was named the Western Conference’s Rookie of the Month for March for his double-double performances while he replaced injured Nikola Pekovic as the team’s starter for six games.
Dieng is the fifth Wolves rookie to win the award, joining Ricky Rubio (January 2012), Kevin Love (March 2009), Randy Foye (December 2006) and Stephon Marbury (January 1997).
Dieng averaged 8.6 points and 8.3 rebounds during March, but 12.1 points on 64.5 percent shooting and 12 rebounds a game in the month’s last nine games, including those six starts.
He became the first player since Elden Campbell in 1991 to reach 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots in his first NBA start.
His 22-point, 21-rebound game at Houston on March 20 made him the fifth player in Wolves history to reach a 20-20 game. He also became the sixth player in record a 20-20 game within his first three career starts since the NBA started keeping track of starts in 1970. The others: Dave Cowens, Larry Smith, Terry Cummings, Roy Tarpley and Enes Kanter.
Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams was named the East’s Rookie of the Month.
Now Dieng likely will become the team's starter again after Pekovic left Monday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers after fewer than seven minutes and could be sidelined once again because of pain in his ankle.