San Antonio Spurs Kawhi Leonard, who finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year balloting was named to the NBA’s 2011-12 All-Rookie first team.
The first team include Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets, Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, Iman Shumpert of the New York Knicks and Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons.
Leonard became the sixth Spur to be named to the All-Rookie First Team. This marks the 10th time in team history that San Antonio has placed a player on any All-Rookie team.
In 64 regular season games, including 39 starts, Leonard averaged 7.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.33 steals and 1.1 assists in 24.0 minutes of playing time.
His 39 starts marked the most by a rookie under San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich since Tony Parker’s 72 starts during the 2001-02 season.
Popovich praised Leonard as having defensive instincts similar to Bruce Bowen, a lockdown defender whose absence was magnified after his retirement. Leonard guarded an assortment of top players ranging from point guards like Steve Nash to power forwards like Blake Griffin.
Leonard, who scored in double figures 24 times during the regular season, shot 49.3 percent (199-of-404) from the field and 37.6 percent (41-of-109) from behind the arc.
Among NBA rookies, Leonard ranked third in steals, third in field goal percentage, fourth in rebounding, fifth in 3-point percentage and 13th in scoring.
(Photo via ESPN/NBA)