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Thunder guard Russell Westbrook makes All-Rookie team

By Mike Baldwin Modified: May 1, 2009 at 1:12 am •  Published: May 1, 2009
Russell Westbrook was named first-team NBA All-Rookie on Thursday to put the Thunder in select company.

Joining 2008 Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, a first-team All-Rookie selection last season, Oklahoma City is one of only 11 NBA teams to have three first-team All-Rookies on its roster.

The encouraging news for the Thunder is nine of those 10 teams qualified for the playoffs. The other, Phoenix, is a perennial playoff power that just missed postseason.

Finishing fourth in the Rookie of the Year balloting a week ago, Westbrook was named the first team All-Rookie squad with Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose (Chicago), O.J. Mayo (Memphis), Brook Lopez (New Jersey) and Michael Beasley (Miami).

"When you look at (Westbrook’s) progression, it was amazing,” said Oklahoma City teammate Nick Collison.

"He didn’t even play much a couple of years ago at UCLA. Now he’s playing his best basketball in the NBA, which is kind of rare. And he has a lot of room for improvement.”

Justifying general manager Sam Presti selecting him fourth last summer, Westbrook was second among rookies in assists (5.3) and steals (1.3). He was fourth in scoring (15.3) and minutes (32.5). He also was among the league leaders for guards in rebounds (4.9).

"He learned a lot playing point guard,” Durant said. "He got everybody involved. The games where he got nine, 10 or 11 assists, we won pretty big. That shows how much an impact he has on this team. He had a great year. I’m excited for him.”

After playing two years at UCLA, primarily at shooting guard, Westbrook was the only Thunder player to appear in all 82 games.

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Teams with three first-team rookies
With Russell Westbrook being named first-team All-Rookie, the Thunder joins 10 other NBA teams to have at least three first-team rookies on its roster. Nine of the other 10 teams qualified for the playoffs this season.

→Boston — Paul Pierce, Stephon Marbury, Darius Miles

→Chicago — Derrick Rose, Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng

→Cleveland — LeBron James, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Joe Smith, Wally Szczerbiak

→Denver — Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin, Nene

→Houston — Yao Ming, Shane Battier, Luis Scola

→Oklahoma City — Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook

→Philadelphia — Andre Iguodola, Elton Brand, Andre Miller

→Phoenix — Shaquille O’Neal, Amare Stoudemire, Grant Hill

→Portland — Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Channing Frye

→San Antonio — Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Michael Finley, Drew Gooden

→Utah — Deron Williams, Andrei Kirilenko, Matt Harpring

2009 NBA All-Rookie Team List
Voted by the 30 NBA head coaches

With first-team votes, 2 points;

second-team votes, 1 point, and total

Overall draft selection number in parentheses

(2008 draft unless otherwise noted)

First Team

Derrick Rose, Chicago (1) 29 - 58
O.J. Mayo, Memphis (3) 29 - 58
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City (4) 24 5 53
Brook Lopez, New Jersey (10) 21 7 49
Michael Beasley, Miami (2) 17 10 44
Second Team

Eric Gordon, L.A. Clippers (7) 13 13 39
Kevin Love, Minnesota (5) 7 20 34
Mario Chalmers, Miami (34) 5 19 29
Marc Gasol, Memphis (48, 2007) 2 21 25
D.J. Augustin, Charlotte (9) - 17 17
Rudy Fernandez, Portland (24, 2007) - 17 17
Others receiving votes with point totals (first place votes in parentheses): Courtney Lee, Orlando, 12; Jason Thompson, Sacramento, 7; Marreese Speights, Philadelphia, 3; Greg Oden, Portland, 3 (1); Robin Lopez, Phoenix, 2 (1).


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