Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters and center Tyler Zeller have been named to the 2012-13 All-NBA Rookie first and second team, respectively, the NBA announced on Tuesday.
Waiters received 21 first-team votes and eight second team votes (for a total of 50 points) while Zeller received 15 total points (three first-team and nine second-team votes) from the NBA’s 30 head coaches, who were asked to select five players for the first team and five players for the second team, regardless of position. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players on their own team. Two points were awarded for first team votes and one for second team votes.
“I’m honored to receive an award like this and it makes me hungry to keep working hard and focus on taking the next steps to improve my game,” said Waiters. “I can’t wait to get back to work with my teammates and Coach Brown, though, because I’m excited about what our potential can be as a group.”
Waiters averaged 14.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steal in 28.8 minutes per game this season. Among all rookies, he ranked second in points per game, fourth in assists per game and fourth in steals per game. Waiters won the NBA’s Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award for February and also participated in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at the 2013 NBA All-Star Weekend where he posted 23 points on 11-12 (.917) shooting from the field. He was one of three rookies to have a 30-point game this season and had 14 games of at least 20 points on the year. Waiters made more field goals and free throws than any other Eastern Conference rookie this year.
Zeller averaged 7.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 26.4 minutes per game this year. He also shot .764 from the free throw line, the second highest among all rookie centers. Among rookies with at least 70 games played, he ranked first in offensive rebounds per game (2.1), second in defensive rebounds per game (3.6), second in total rebounds per game, second in blocks per game and seventh in points per game. He recorded seven double-doubles, which was tied for fourth among rookies. As a starter (55 games), he averaged 8.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 block in 28.1 minutes per contest. Zeller also participated in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend, scoring four points.
“My rookie year gave me a great opportunity to learn and grow and understand what it takes to be a pro, so this is a very nice honor,” said Zeller. “I’m excited to keep working and improving with my teammates because we know we can grow as a team next season and that’s the most important thing.”
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