NBA News: Cavs’ Waiters, Zeller named to All-NBA Rookie teams


Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters and center Tyler Zeller have been named to the 2012-13 All-NBA Rookie first and second team, respectively, the NBA announced on Tuesday.

Waiters received 21 first-team votes and eight second team votes (for a total of 50 points) while Zeller received 15 total points (three first-team and nine second-team votes) from the NBA’s 30 head coaches, who were asked to select five players for the first team and five players for the second team, regardless of position. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players on their own team. Two points were awarded for first team votes and one for second team votes.

ALL-NBA Rookie“I’m honored to receive an award like this and it makes me hungry to keep working hard and focus on taking the next steps to improve my game,” said Waiters. “I can’t wait to get back to work with my teammates and Coach Brown, though, because I’m excited about what our potential can be as a group.”

Waiters averaged 14.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steal in 28.8 minutes per game this season. Among all rookies, he ranked second in points per game, fourth in assists per game and fourth in steals per game. Waiters won the NBA’s Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award for February and also participated in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at the 2013 NBA All-Star Weekend where he posted 23 points on 11-12 (.917) shooting from the field. He was one of three rookies to have a 30-point game this season and had 14 games of at least 20 points on the year. Waiters made more field goals and free throws than any other Eastern Conference rookie this year.

Zeller averaged 7.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 26.4 minutes per game this year. He also shot .764 from the free throw line, the second highest among all rookie centers. Among rookies with at least 70 games played, he ranked first in offensive rebounds per game (2.1), second in defensive rebounds per game (3.6), second in total rebounds per game, second in blocks per game and seventh in points per game. He recorded seven double-doubles, which was tied for fourth among rookies. As a starter (55 games), he averaged 8.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 block in 28.1 minutes per contest. Zeller also participated in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend, scoring four points.

“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 nice honor,” said Zeller. “I’m excited to keep working and improving with my teammates because we know we can grow as a team next season and that’s the most important thing.”

[Related: Cavalier NBA Draft Film Room: Nerlens Noel]

  • B-rye

    I’ve never thought of Zeller as more than a backup center anyway. Why do the Cavs insist on trying to make him into the starter?

    Andy and Zeller should come off the bench, and they should be going after a legit center this offseason (Bynum, Jefferson). Then take care of the SF in the draft (*cough* *cough* Porter).

  • JHop

    Watching these NBA Playoffs has rekindled the ‘why did we take Waiters instead of Barnes’ discussion for me.

  • JHop

    Outside of the surefire #1 picks, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more logical prospect-team match than Porter and the Cavs.

  • mgbode

    I love how they completely ignore positions on that 2nd team. Unless Zeller got onto it as a SF.

  • Lunch

    The Cavs probably saw a lot of potential in Zeller’s game. Therefore, instead of listening to those individuals who seem to judge basketball players after one season, when the rule of thumb in the NBA, is that bigs take longer to develop, the Cavs probably decided to let Zeller develop his skills, and let those skills determine if he should be a starter or a backup. Plus I’ll bet Grant and Gilbert decided to develop Zeller, instead of overpaying a player like Bynum or Jefferson to play with the Cavs.

  • BisonDeleSightings

    Obviously, he is the PG of that group.

  • mgbode

    I figured that was Jonas 🙂

  • Dave

    “Why do the Cavs insist on trying to make him into the starter?”

    Because their starter was injured, and isn’t getting any younger?

    As far as Andy is concerned, he’s absolutely a “legit” center: before injury got him, he was the by most measurements the best rebounder in the NBA. That right there is a pretty good reason to start him. Bynum or Jefferson give you a few more points, but Andy gets you the ball far more often and is statistically speaking a better passer as well.

  • B-rye

    I wasn’t judging him based on just one season, I observed what he brought to the table and his projections and skill set. I guarantee Grant didn’t draft Zeller to be the starting center of the future.

    Does it really matter if they’re “overpaying” for a position of need and stability for the future? It’s not like they don’t have the money.

  • B-rye

    I get that they started Zeller because of Andy’s injury, but Speights is/was a more than capable power forward/center, who didn’t get enough playing time near the end of the season. (It could also be that the Cavs were tanking).

    Andy coming off of the bench next year might be better for the team in order to cut down his minutes (why he got injured in the first place). He is an energy guy that can really spark the second unit, hence we need another center for Zeller and Andy’s benefit.

    It just get the feeling that the FO is content with Zeller at center. They need to be a little more proactive towards that position, that’s all I’m suggesting.

  • Steve

    All depends on Noel’s health. The Cavs desperately need help on defense, and an athletic big that can crash the rim after setting a screen for Irving would make a big difference on offense as well.

  • Scut_Farkus

    All Harrison Barnes is doing is maintaining his regular season production with 13.7 additional minutes per game in the playoffs – an opportunity that no other rookie had. That’s encouraging for GSW, but no reason to start second guessing any player taken before him yet. Dion Waiters had similar, if not slightly better, regular season numbers than Barnes.

  • Lunch

    As Zeller develops his skill set, he could bring more to the table, which could potentially improve his projections to a much higher state than expected. It will be up to Zeller to prove if he’s a starting caliber center or not.

  • Big fan of 9-for-26 shooting nights?

  • Why do you think the FO is content again? Is it because they haven’t signed any FA Centers yet (when they’re not allowed to) or haven’t drafted one (when they don’t know where they fall in the lottery?) I mean, Zeller has been with this team for less than one calendar year. The opportunity to upgrade at Center passed us by at the All-Star break. We won’t have another opportunity until the draft…and then until FA opens. We’re not in either position yet. Let’s get through at least a week of Free Agency before making silly and unfounded statements like that please.

  • This here. Harrison Barnes has not proven capable of creating for his teammates…let alone his self. When Kyrie went down, we had another playmaker in Waiters. We made the right call.

  • B-rye

    Fair enough.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Barnes plays SF on a team with two guards named Curry and Thompson his job isn’t to create it’s to score and play defense.

  • depress@work

    Bynum? Are you high

  • Yup

    Dion absolutely had a better season than Barnes. The PER alone is enough to see that…

  • high@home

    Sure are.

  • Scut_Farkus

    The knock on PER is that its inflated for inefficient volume shooters, and Waiters took almost 7 shots per 36 minutes more than Barnes with slightly lower shooting percentages. I was hedging a bit there for that reason. Barnes did have a good game last night though.

  • Steve

    This is a joke, right? Waiters put up a lot of high volume, low percentage nights from the floor.

    And, of course, Barnes was able to get the line 7 times, making all of them, and added 10 rebounds.