Hawks' coach upset Horford wasn't given share of rookie award with Durant

Updated: May 2, 2008, 8:24 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Hawks coach Mike Woodson was irate Wednesday that center Al Horford wasn't given at least a share of the NBA Rookie of the Year award with Seattle SuperSonics forward Kevin Durant.

Al Horford

Horford

"It's a travesty and it's not right," Woodson said Wednesday night before Atlanta's Game 5 loss to Boston, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He should have shared it, if not gotten it outright. And I don't want to hear about us not being on TV or anything like that. It doesn't matter. It's what this kid has done for this team.

Horford averaged 10.1 points and 9.7 rebounds, helping the Hawks back to the NBA playoffs for the first time in nine years.

"We haven't had a power forward/center come in our league and do what he's done [average a double-double] in I don't know how many years," Woodson said. "I mean, come on, man."

Durant, officially awarded the honor Thursday, is the bright spot on a dismal basketball scene in Seattle. The Sonics won only 20 games and are expected to move to Oklahoma City as soon as next season.

The 19-year-old is the first Seattle player to win the award, which was widely reported on Wednesday. He joins a legacy that includes Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and current Cleveland superstar LeBron James.

Durant lived up to expectations after being the national college player of the year at Texas and the No. 2 overall pick in the June 2007 draft.

Rookie of Year Winners (since '99)

Year Winner
2008 Kevin Durant, Sonics
2007 Brandon Roy, Blazers
2006 Chris Paul, Hornets
2005 Emeka Okafor, Bobcats
2004 LeBron James, Cavaliers
2003 Amare Stoudemire, Suns
2002 Pau Gasol, Grizzlies
2001 Mike Miller, Magic
2000 Elton Brand, Bulls
Steve Francis, Rockets
1999 Vince Carter, Raptors
He averaged 20.3 points and was named Western Conference rookie of the month five times. He beat out Horford and Houston's Luis Scola for the annual rookie award.

The city of Seattle has a trial date next month in its effort to make the Sonics play at KeyArena for the final two seasons of their lease.

"It's good to shine some light on our team. You know, a lot of people aren't real fond of our team right now," Durant said Thursday.

Durant recently purchased a home in suburban Seattle. His mother, Wanda Pratt, lives with him. She and Durant's father, Wayne Pratt, joined four other family members at Thursday's announcement.

"I love Seattle. My home's here. My mother's here," Durant said, acknowledging that where he plays next season is far out of his control.

Durant received 90 first-place votes (545 points) from a panel of 125 writers and broadcasters. Horford finished second with 390 points (including 30 first-place votes) and Scola was third with 146 points.

"I didn't think I would get it," Durant said, "because those other rookies helped their teams get into the playoffs."

One of the first text messages of congratulations Durant received was from LeBron, whom Durant calls a mentor and good friend. Durant watched as the Cavaliers took on the Wizards in playoff games this past weekend in Durant's hometown of Washington.

James was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2004.

"He told me congratulations," Durant said. "That's when I was thinking like, man, I'm in the same company as LeBron, when he was a rookie. I just smiled inside.

"He's like a big brother to me."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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