NEW YORK – Victor Wimbanyama’s recent honor is like no other.

The San Antonio center became the first player in NBA history to make the league’s All-Defensive First Team as a rookie. The league announced the names of the teams on Tuesday, and Wembanyama appeared on 98 of the 99 ballots.

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 Wimbanyama, Miami’s Bam Adebayo, New Orleans’ Herb Jones, and Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis.

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

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

This was Gobert’s seventh all-defense selection, all as a first-team member. Davis is now a five-time All-Defensive Player and has been selected to the first team three times. Adebayo made his fifth all-around defense, and his first as a member of the senior team. Jones made the team for the first time.

“I feel like it will take a long time, of course,” Adebayo said of his first first-team nod. “Just staying in the moment and enjoying it, and I’m lucky to be able to be one of the people chosen.”

Wembanyama now becomes just the sixth rookie in NBA history to make the All-Defensive Team — with the other five all earning Second Team nods in their first seasons. Those five are San Antonio’s Tim Duncan in 1998, the Spurs’ David Robinson in 1990, Washington’s Manute Boll (1986), Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon (1985), and Milwaukee’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1970).

The All-NBA team will be revealed on Wednesday. If Wembanyama joins this team, he will be the first rookie to earn the distinction since Duncan earned it 26 years ago.


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