Philadelphia Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor and Miami Heat wing Justise Winslow were selected to the NBA All-Rookie teams this afternoon. Okafor garnered first team honors while Winslow was named to the second team. This marks the first time Duke has had two rookies selected to the All-Rookie team in the same year. Okafor joins Mason Plumlee and Kyrie Irving as the recent former Blue Devils to be selected to first team.
Despite only playing 53 games and battling numerous lower body injuries, Okafor finished second in scoring among rookies, averaging 17.5 points per game. The Chicago native’s offensive game lived up to expectations as Okafor immediately established himself as an elite post scorer in the association. His season was highlighted by a 31-point performance against the Dallas Mavericks in late February. Even with the backlash of the off the court issues, Okafor excelled in a shaky system in Philadelphia.
Winslow’s astonishing fall to the 10th of the pick draft was a blessing in disguise. He joined forces with an experienced and talented Miami Heat squad as opposed to the typical lottery pick who joins a young and growing team. Although Winslow has a lot to polish offensively, his defensive prowess forced head coach Erik Spoelstra to give him minutes early on. As the season progressed, Winslow quickly assumed the role as Miami’s best wing defender and helped the Heat finish as a top 5 defense in the league. In his rookie campaign, Winslow averaged 6.5 points per game to along with 5.2 rebounds. Winslow guarded every single position on the court and at the end of year found himself as the starting center for the Heat in the second round of the playoffs.
Both rookies will look to build of their impressive seasons and continue the tradition of the Duke excellence in the NBA.