Victor Wembanyama Becomes 1st NBA Rookie to Make All-Defensive First Team

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Spurs Victor Wembanyama 1st NBA Rookie to Make All-Defensive First Team

San Antonio Spurs forward/center Victor Wembanyama became the first NBA rookie in league history to receive an All-Defensive First-Team selection on Tuesday night, after his name appeared on 98 of the 99 ballots cast.

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, headlined the First Team and was the only unanimous selection.

San Antonio Spurs’ Victor Wembanyama becomes the sixth rookie in NBA history to make the All-Defensive Team

In addition to Gobert and Wembanyama, other players on the First Team include Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo, New Orleans Pelicans forward Herb Jones, and the Los Angeles Lakers center Anthony Davis.

“Coming into this league, obviously he had high expectations because he’s 7-3 and shooting step-back 3s. I think a lot of people paid attention more to that than what he actually did on the defensive end,” Adebayo said of Wembanyama. “So, for him to get First Team, first come around, it’s obviously a great accolade for him.”

Wembanyama, 20, is now the sixth rookie in NBA history to make the All-Defensive Team. However, the other five all earned Second-Team nods in their first seasons.

Those five players were San Antonio’s Tim Duncan in 1998, the Spurs’ David Robinson in 1990, Washington Wizards’ Manute Bol (1986), Houston Rockets’ Hakeem Olajuwon (1985), and Milwaukee Bucks’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1970).

Additionally, Wembanyama became the first NBA player to record at least 1,500 points, 250 blocks, and 100 3-pointers in a single season.

In 71 games (all starts) of the 2023-24 season, the rookie phenom amassed 1,522 points, 755 rebounds, 274 assists, 88 steals, an NBA-best 254 blocks, and 128 3-pointers on 394 attempts.

On Feb. 12 against the Toronto Raptors, San Antonio’s No. 1 overall pick from last year’s draft became the first NBA player to record 10 blocks and five assists in under 30 minutes played.

Wembanyama also became the sixth unanimous NBA Rookie of the Year in the last 40 years

Earlier this month, Victor Wembanyama was named NBA Rookie of the Year, garnering all 99 first-place votes. He became the sixth unanimous Rookie of the Year in the last 40 years.

The French phenom joined Ralph Sampson (1984), David Robinson (1990), Blake Griffin (2011), Damian Lillard (2013), and Karl-Anthony Towns (2016).

Furthermore, this was Gobert’s seventh All-Defensive selection — all of them as a member of the First Team. It was Davis’ fifth All-Defensive pick and third First-Team nod as well.

Adebayo made All-Defensive for the fifth time, and his first as a member of the First Team. Jones made the team for the first time.

“I feel it’s a long time coming, obviously,” Adebayo said of his first First-Team selection. “Just staying in this moment, enjoying it, blessed to be able to be one of the ones selected.”

The Second-Team All-Defensive picks were Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso, Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs, Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels, and Boston Celtics guards Derrick White and Jrue Holiday.

The All-NBA team will be revealed Wednesday. If Victor Wembanyama makes that team, he would become the first rookie to earn that honor since Duncan in 1998.