Bill Schoening

Bill Schoening

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Wembanyama Named To NBA All-Defensive First Team

Denver Nuggets v San Antonio Spurs

Victor Wembanyama #1 of the San Antonio Spurs blocks the shot of Peyton Watson #8 of the Denver Nuggets in the first half at Moody Center on March 15, 2024 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Ronald Cortes / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

The NBA has announced that Victor Wembanyama has been named to the 2023-24 Kia NBA All-Defensive First Team, becoming the first rookie to make first team All-Defense and the youngest in league history. The last NBA rookie named to an all-defensive team is Tim Duncan on the 1997-98 second team.

Wembanyama, who finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting, averaged 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and a league-leading 3.58 blocks to go along with 1.24 steals per game in 29.7 minutes. He led the NBA in blocks per game (3.58), total blocks (254) and recorded a 10.01 block percentage, which is the highest of any player since Manute Bol in 1985-86. He’s the first rookie to lead the NBA in blocked shots since Bol and the first rookie to average 3.00-or-more blocks since Shawn Bradley in 1993-94.

This season, Wembanyama finished top-10 in total deflections (205), defensive rebounds per game (8.4), total defensive rebounds (594) and defensive rebound percentage (27.3%). The 20-year-old is the first player to average at least 10.0 rebounds, 3.00 blocks and 1.00 steals since Marcus Camby in 2007.

In addition, the 2023-24 Rookie of the Year had an NBA-best 20 games with multiple blocks and multiple steals on the way to 342 combined blocks and steals, becoming the first Rookie with 300+ “stocks” in a season since Shaquille O'Neal in 1992-93. He also joins Scottie Pippen as the only players in NBA history with 300+ blocks/steals and 100+ threes in a single season.

Wembanyama registered eight games with 7-or-more blocks, the most by a rookie since David Robinson. Among those eight, on Feb. 12 at Toronto, Wembanyama blocked a career-best 10 shots, including 6 shots in the third quarter, the most in a quarter by any player in 2023-24 and tied for the most blocks in a quarter by a rookie all-time. In back-to-back nights in Sacramento and Los Angeles on Feb. 22-23, he joined Michael Jordan as the second player in league history to have 5 steals and 5 blocks in consecutive games. 

Joining Wembanyama on the All-Defensive First Team are Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers), Rudy Gobert (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Herb Jones (New Orleans Pelicans)

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