Cavs Waiters, Zeller named to all-rookie teams
CLEVELAND (AP) — For the second straight year, the Cavaliers have the NBA’s top rookie class.
Guard Dion Waiters was named to the NBA All-Rookie first team and forward/center Tyler Zeller was named to the All-Rookie second team on Tuesday. Last year, Kyrie Irving (first) and Tristan Thompson (second) were also honored in voting by the league’s 30 coaches, who were not allowed to select players on their team.
The Cavs are the only team to have more than one player picked in each of the past two years. Detroit had two second-team selections this season.
Waiters received 21 first-team votes and eight second-team votes. Zeller received three first-team votes and nine second-team votes.
The No. 4 overall selection in last year’s draft, Waiters averaged 14.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists this season. Among all rookies, he ranked second in points, fourth in assists and fourth in steals per game.
“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,” Waiters said. “I can’t wait to get back to work with my teammates and coach (Mike) Brown, though, because I’m excited about what our potential can be as a group.”
Waiters was joined on the first team by Portland’s Damian Lillard, the league’s Rookie of the Year, Washington’s Bradley Beal, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis and Golden State’s Harrison Barnes.
Zeller averaged 7.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per game. He also shot .764 from the free-throw line, second highest among all rookie centers.
“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,” Zeller said. “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.”
Zeller was joined the on the second team by Detroit’s Andre Drummond and Kyle Singler, Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas and Charlotte’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Cleveland’s rookies were honored one week before the NBA Draft Lottery. The Cavs, who lost 58 games this season and fired Byron Scott, are guaranteed to pick no lower than sixth and with a little luck could get the No. 1 overall pick.
Cleveland also has the No. 19 pick and two of the first three picks in the second round — No. 31 and 33.