September 18, 2014

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Cavaliers honored: Dion Waiters makes All-Rookie first team; Tyler Zeller second

INDEPENDENCE — Dion Waiters’ appetite was whetted by being named to the 2012-13 NBA All-Rookie first team Tuesday.

Zeller

The Cavs’ Dion Waiters soars for a dunk against the Heat’s Chris Andersen in a game this season. Waiters was named a first-team NBA All-Rookie selection Tuesday. (AP photo.)

Cavaliers teammate Tyler Zeller was named to the second team in voting by the league’s 30 head coaches.

“It makes me hungry to keep working hard and focus on taking the next steps to improve my game,” Waiters said in a statement released by the team’s public relations staff. “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, a shooting guard chosen with the No. 4 pick out of Syracuse, averaged 14.7 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 28.8 minutes. Among rookies, he ranked second in points and fourth in assists.

The 6-foot-4, 221-pounder received 21 first-team votes and eight second-team votes for a total of 50 points. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players on their own team, meaning all 29 eligible coaches named Waiters to the first or second team.

The top five vote-getters earned first-team honors and the next five were named to the second team, regardless of position.
Joining Waiters on the first team were Portland’s Damian Lillard, Washington’s Bradley Beal, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis and Golden State’s Harrison Barnes. All but Barnes had higher vote totals than Waiters.

With three first-team votes and nine second-team votes, Zeller was the last player named to the second team, which also included Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas, Charlotte’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Detroit’s Kyle Singler.

“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 special honor,” said Zeller, the 17th pick in the draft out of North Carolina. “I’m excited to keep working.”

The 7-foot, 250-pound Zeller averaged 7.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in 26.4 minutes. In 55 games as a starter after Anderson Varejao went down, he averaged 8.3 points and 6.0 rebounds.

Last year, NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving was named to the all-rookie first team and Tristan Thompson made the second team.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.