Victor Wembanyama becomes the first NBA rookie to make the All-Defense first team

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Victor Wembanyama enjoying videos with local kids

Victor Wembanyama’s latest achievement is unlike any other. The San Antonio center has become the first player in NBA history to make the league’s All-Defensive first team as a rookie. The league announced the teams on Tuesday, and Wembanyama appeared on 98 of the 99 ballots cast.

Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert of Minnesota headlined the team and was the only unanimous selection. He was joined on the first team by Wembanyama, Miami’s Bam Adebayo, New Orleans’ Herb Jones, and the Los Angeles Lakers’ 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.”

The second-team All-Defense picks were Chicago’s Alex Caruso, Orlando’s Jalen Suggs, Minnesota’s Jaden McDaniels, and Boston teammates Derrick White and Jrue Holiday.

Victor Wembanyama addressing media after getting NBA Rookie of the Year trophy

It was Gobert’s seventh All-Defense pick, all of them as a member of the first team. Davis is now a five-time All-Defense player and a three-time first-team selection.

Adebayo made All-Defense 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 nod. “Just staying in this moment, enjoying it, blessed to be able to be one of the ones selected.”

Wembanyama is now the sixth rookie in NBA history to make the All-Defensive Team — with the other five all earning second-team honors in their first seasons.

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

The All-NBA team will be revealed Wednesday. If Wembanyama makes that team, he would be the first rookie to earn that honor since Duncan did 26 years ago.


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