Cleveland Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving was named the recipient of the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy as the 2011-12 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year on Tuesday (May 15), beating out other rookie standouts such as Ricky Rubio and Kenneth Faried.
This season, Irving ranked first among first-year players in scoring (18.5 ppg), field goal percentage (.469) and free throw percentage (.872), while placing second in assists (5.4 apg) and three-point field goal percentage (.399). Among all players, Irving tied for fourth in fourth-quarter scoring (6.4 ppg), while shooting .518 from the field, .410 from beyond the arc and .868 from the charity stripe.
He was the #1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, and joins an elite cast of greats, including Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Allen Iverson and, LeBron James, as the only #1 draft picks to average at least 18.0 points and 5.0 assists their first year. Additionally, he is one of only six rookies in league history to average at least 18.0 points, 5.0 assists, and 1.0 steal while shooting at least .450 from the field, joining Johnson, Jordan, Alvan Adams, Grant Hill, and Tyreke Evans.
Irving was a three-time winner of the NBA’s Rookie of the Month Award, winning during games played in December/January, February and March. Irving was named MVP of the BVAA Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star 2012 by scoring 34 points, including going 8-for-8 from beyond the three-point line, and dishing a game-high nine assists.
Irving was voted the Rookie of the Year from a panel of 120 sportswriters and broadcasters. He totaled 592 points and received 117 first-place votes. 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.
Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio finished second with 170 points and Denver’s Kenneth Faried finished third with 129 points (one first-place vote).
As part of its support of the Rookie of the Year Award, Kia Motors America will donate a new Kia Sorento CUV to the New Jersey Roadrunners, Kyrie Irving’s former AAU program. Kia Motors will present a brand new Sorento to the charity of choice of each of five 2011-12 year-end award winners as part of the “The Kia NBA Performance Awards.” Following this season, Kia Motors will have donated a total of 21 new vehicles to charitable organizations since its support of the NBA’s prestigious year-end honors began with the 2007-2008 season.
In addition to Rookie of the Year, Indiana Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird was named the recipient of the 2011-12 NBA Executive of the Year award on Wednesday (May 16). As a Pacers executive, he oversaw a team that went 42-24 (.636), earning the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference and finishing with the league’s fifth-best record.
Bird totaled 88 points and received 12 first-place votes from a panel of his fellow team executives throughout the NBA. The San Antonio Spurs’ R.C. Buford finished second with 56 points (eight first-place votes) votes and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Neil Olshey finished third with 55 points (six first-place votes).