Sat, May 13, 2006 - Page 19 News List

NBA announces All-Defensive first team


Leading vote-getter Bruce Bowen and defensive player of the year Ben Wallace were among six players who made the NBA All-Defensive first team on Thursday.

Bowen received 55 points, one more than Wallace, in making the All-Defensive team for the sixth consecutive season. The San Antonio forward is regarded as one of the league's best defenders for his ability to contain anyone from small guards to big forwards.

Wallace was selected to the first team for the fifth straight year. The Pistons center recently was chosen as the league's top defensive player for the fourth time in five years.

Joining them on the first team were Utah's Andrei Kirilenko, Sacramento's Ron Artest, the Lakers' Kobe Bryant and New Jersey guard Jason Kidd. Bryant and Kidd tied for the final spot on the first team.

Detroit put Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince on the second team. The other second-team selections were the Spurs' Tim Duncan, Minnesota's Kevin Garnett and Denver center Marcus Camby.

Voting was done by the league's 30 head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own players.

New Orleans point guard Chris Paul won the NBA's Rookie of the Year award on Wednesday after helping the Hornets double their win total in a season in which they were forced from their home city by Hurricane Katrina.

Paul was a runaway choice for the award, receiving all but one of the 125 first-place votes from a panel of media members from across the US and Canada. Utah guard Deron Williams -- who was taken with the No. 3 pick in last year's draft, one spot ahead of Paul -- received the only other first-place vote.

It was the largest margin of victory since San Antonio's David Robinson was a unanimous choice in 1990.

Paul led all rookies in points (16.1), assists (7.8), steals (2.2), double-doubles (21), minutes played (36.4) and triple-doubles (2). He also became the second NBA rookie to lead the league in steals, joining Brevin Knight.

He helped the Hornets -- who played all their home games in Oklahoma City -- win 38 games a year after they won just 18.

Paul was expected to miss two weeks after tearing a ligament on the inside of his right thumb in January. Instead, he decided to come back after missing only one game. Also fighting through injuries to his ribs and tailbone, Paul's presence helped the Hornets rise to sixth in the Western Conference at the All-Star break.

Upon his speedy return from the thumb injury, Paul said: "I only get one rookie season."

He made the most of it, keeping New Orleans in the playoff race until the final weekend of the season.

He's the second Hornets player to win the award, joining Larry Johnson (1991-1992). Emeka Okafor of the Charlotte Bobcats won the award last year.

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