Kevin Durant of the Seattle SuperSonics is the recipient of the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy as the 2007-08 T-Mobile NBA Rookie of the Year, the NBA announced today.
Durant received 90 first-place votes (545 points) from a panel of 125 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Atlanta’s Al Horford finished second with 390 points and Houston’s Luis Scola finished third with 146 points. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
Drafted with the second overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Durant averaged a rookie- and team-high 20.3 points – 7.6 points higher than any other rookie – to go along with 4.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 80 games (all starts). Durant was the only rookie to lead his team in five statistical categories, including points, blocks, steals, free-throws made and free-throw percentage. Durant also blocked more shots than any other guard in the league (75). He is the first SuperSonic player to win the award.
Durant led Seattle in scoring 47 times, including a career-high 42 points against Golden State on April 16. A five-time T-Mobile Western Conference Rookie of the Month selection (November, December, January, March and April), Durant scored at least 20 points 47 times and at least 30 points seven times. Durant represented the SuperSonics in the 2008 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam, finishing with 23 points.
Throughout the 2007-08 season, for every point scored by the T-Mobile Rookie of the Month, T-Mobile USA pledged to donate $20 per point scored during the month the player won the award to the New Orleans Recovery School District. T-Mobile will donate a total of $49,700 to the school district, with $28,500 coming from the 1,425 points scored by Durant alone during the five months he won T-Mobile Rookie of the Month. This philanthropic component is new to the T-Mobile Rookie Program and builds on T-Mobile’s strong appeal to the nation’s youth as the official wireless partner of the NBA. Other highlights of T-Mobile’s partnership with the NBA include the T-Mobile Rookie of the Year, T-Mobile Rookie of the Month Awards, and the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam, an All-Star competition between NBA rookies and second-year players. During NBA All-Star 2008, T-Mobile Huddle Up and NBA Cares hosted more than 5,000 local students in the lower bowl of the arena to watch this year’s Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam.
The Eddie Gottlieb Trophy is named in honor of Eddie Gottlieb, one of the NBA’s founders who coached the Philadelphia Warriors to the NBA championship in 1946-47.
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