Shai Gilgeous-Alexander does not defer to LeBron James
The NBA announced its All-Rookie teams Tuesday, and former University of Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished sixth in the voting to make him the first player listed on the second team.
The Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic and the Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young were unanimous first-team choices with 200 points apiece. They were joined on the first team by the Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton (195 points), the Memphis Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. (159) and the Sacramento Kings’ Marvin Bagley III (156).
Gilgeous-Alexander, now with the the Los Angeles Clippers, topped the second team with 138 points, including 40 first-team votes and 58 second-team votes. Also on the second team: the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Collin Sexton (132), the Clippers’ Landry Shamet (85), the New York Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson (77) and the Hawks’ Kevin Huerter (45).
Another Kentucky rookie, the Knicks’ Kevin Knox, was among other players receiving votes. He was 12th overall in the voting (22 points), and he and the Suns’ Mikal Bridges (11th with 31 points) were the top players to miss out on All-Rookie status.
Gilgeous-Alexander, who was the 11th overall pick in last year’s draft, averaged 10.8 points (ninth among first-year players), 3.3 assists (third), 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals (fourth) while starting 73 of 82 regular-season games.
He went on to average 13.7 points, 3.2 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.8 turnovers while going 9-for-18 (50 percent) from three-point range in six postseason games against the Golden State Warriors. That included games with 25, 22 and 18 points.
“Well-deserved after helping the (Clippers) get to the playoffs,” Kentucky Coach John Calipari tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “He was one of the best rookies in the league, under the spotlight of LA no less. He’s earned the right to be named to this great honor but I think his best days are in front of him.”
Robinson, who signed with but never played for Western Kentucky, averaged 7.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots for the Knicks. His blocked shots average was second only league-wide to the Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner (2.7).
“It feels great,” Robinson said, the New York Daily News reported. “I was the 36th pick. My hard work paid off. The Knicks believe in me and have helped me become a better player.”
Knox, the ninth pick of the 2018 draft, led Kentucky’s NBA rookies in scoring with 12.8 points per game (seventh among first-year players), but that came with him struggling mightily with his shot for most of the season. He finished up at 37.0 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from three-point range. More season-long numbers for Knox: 4.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 28.6 minutes while starting 57 of 75 games.