Wednesday , May , 10 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Chris Paul selected as NBA’s top rookie

New York, NY (Sports Network) – New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets point guard Chris Paul has been selected as the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.

The vote among a panel of 125 sportswriters and broadcasters was nearly unanimous, as Paul received 124 first-place votes and a total of 623 points. The last player to receive 100 percent of the first-place votes was San Antonio’s David Robinson in 1989-90.

Toronto’s Charlie Villanueva finished second in the balloting with 248 points and Milwaukee’s Andrew Bogut — the first overall pick of last year’s draft — was third with 98 points. The only other player to receive a first-place vote was Utah’s Deron Williams, who finished sixth in the overall balloting.

Paul became the second Hornets player to win the award and first since Larry Johnson in 1991-92, when the franchise was based in Charlotte.

Selected with the fourth pick in last year’s draft, just behind Williams, Paul dazzled from the start. He ranked first among rookies with averages of 16.1 points, 7.8 assists and 2.2 steals, while also leading all first-year players with 21 double-doubles.

The Hornets benefited tremendously from the former Wake Forest star’s play with a 20-game turnaround from the previous season. The club was just 18-64 in 2004-05, but finished this past season with a record of 38-44, staying in playoff contention until the final week of the campaign.

Paul was selected as the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for all six months of the season and was the only unanimous selection to the league’s All- Rookie first team.