Bam Adebayo and Anthony Davis, both of whom were standout big men during their college days at Kentucky, have been selected for the NBA’s All-Defense First Team, as announced by the league on Tuesday.

Adebayo, frequently cited as one of the NBA’s elite defenders, earns his first first-team honor in the 2023-24 season after making the second team in the previous four seasons. Davis, on the other hand, secures a spot on the first team for the third time in his career and has been named to the NBA All-Defense team for the fifth time overall.


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This season, Adebayo played 71 regular season games with the Miami Heat, achieving a career-high average of 10.4 rebounds per game, including 8.1 on the defensive end. He also accumulated 81 steals (1.1 per game) and 66 blocks (0.9 per game).

A versatile star, Bam Adebayo wrapped up the regular season with an average of 19.3 points per game on 52.1 percent shooting, along with 3.9 assists per game. He was named an NBA All-Star for the third time in his seven-year career and played a crucial role in leading the Miami Heat to their fifth consecutive playoff appearance.

Adebayo has been a perennial contender for the NBA’s best defender title in recent years, consistently finishing in the top five for Defensive Player of the Year voting over the past five seasons. He achieved his highest ranking in the 2023-24 season, finishing third.


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During his one season with the Kentucky Wildcats, Adebayo was the only player to start all 38 games for the 2016-17 team that won the Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the Elite Eight. He earned spots on the All-SEC Second Team and All-SEC Freshman Team, averaging 13.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game before being drafted 14th overall by the Heat in 2017.

Joining Adebayo on the NBA All-Defensive Team is Anthony Davis, now in his 12th NBA season. The Los Angeles Lakers’ center achieved career-best marks in 2023-24, ranking third in the league with 12.6 total rebounds per game and second with 9.5 defensive rebounds per game. Davis also finished fourth in the league in both total blocks (178) and blocks per game (2.3), while averaging 1.2 steals per contest.

Anthony Davis was also a significant offensive force this season, averaging 24.7 points per game, which ranked 15th in the NBA, while shooting 55.6% from the field.

Throughout his remarkable NBA career, Davis has been a nine-time NBA All-Star, a four-time All-NBA First Team selection (2015, 2017, 2018, 2020), a 2020 NBA Champion, and the 2017 NBA All-Star Game MVP. During his time at Kentucky, Davis starred on the 2012 national championship team, earning titles such as NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player and National Player of the Year. He led the team in points per game (14.2) and rebounds per game (10.4), and set a program record with 186 blocks in a single season. Davis was the first overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft by the New Orleans Pelicans.


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Kentucky men’s basketball alumni continue to have a substantial impact in the NBA. For the 12th consecutive season, Kentucky led the nation with 26 former players on NBA opening day rosters in 2023-24 and topped the nation with 22 representatives in the NBA Playoffs. The Wildcats also made history at the 2024 NBA All-Star game with a record-breaking seven players earning All-Star selections.

The 2023-24 NBA award season has been particularly successful for Kentucky alumni. Besides Adebayo and Davis’s All-Defensive Team honors, Karl-Anthony Towns received the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award, Tyrese Maxey was named the KIA NBA Most Improved Player and also won the NBA’s Sportsmanship Award, and Cason Wallace was selected for the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

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