Voting results for the All-NBA teams came out today, and the results were – as expected – both predictable and head-scratching.
Two First Team awardees in LeBron James and James Harden received unanimous votes, which were only fitting considering the high level of play that they performed at all season long. Anthony Davis’ slot, while not unanimous, was also well-deserved.
The two other winners’ slots in the First Team, however, are debatable.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
James played in all 82 of the Cavs’ regular season games, kept the team afloat and carried them to the Eastern Conference Finals, had 18 triple-doubles, tallied a career-high 9.1 assists per game and passed Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone for the most First Team selections in NBA history with 12 – in his 15th year. You can’t argue against that.
James Harden, Houston Rockets
Deserving? Of course.
This is the second season that ‘The Beard’ was unanimously voted in the First Team, and for good reason. After narrowly missing out on last year’s MVP award, he looked like he was out for revenge; he led the league in scoring (30.4 ppg), led the league in threes (265), tallied the league’s first 60-point triple-double, had four 50-point games and led Houston to its best regular season showing. His spot is secure.
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans wouldn’t be going anywhere without Davis in front. Even after DeMarcus Cousins fell, Davis barely missed a beat and kept the team in sync. He led the league in blocks per game (2.6), was behind Harden in scoring (28.1), was fifth in rebounding (11.1) and maintained robust shooting percentages (53.4 percent from the field, 34.0 percent from downtown) despite taking almost 20 shots per game.
Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
Durant’s season wasn’t exceptional by his standards, but his efficiency must’ve been enough to merit 63 first-place votes en route to a First Team selection. He averaged 26.4 points on 51.6 percent shooting from the field and 41.9 percent from downtown, 6.8 boards, 5.4 assists and a career-high 1.8 blocks per game.
Giannis Antetoukounmpo might have been a more attractive pick, though. The ‘Greek Freak’ averaged 26.9 points and 10.0 rebounds on 53 percent shooting – all career-highs. He also dished out 4.8 assists per game in 75 games.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers
Deserving? Not really.
Dame has been great this season but picking over Victor Oladipo is just criminal.
Lillard’s Blazers, who had homecourt advantage, were swept by a Pelicans squad that was missing half of its titanic frontcourt tandem. Oladipo, on the other hand, almost stole a series from this generation’s greatest basketball talent. And while Dame’s inflated numbers may have given him a supposed edge, Indiana’s hometown king had career-highs across the board (23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.4 steals), shot better (47.7 percent from the field and 37.1 on threes against Lillard’s 43.9 percent and 36.1 percent) and is a candidate for the All-Defensive team. Getting more first-place votes over Durant is already bad enough, but a First-Team selection is just mind-boggling.