MVP finalists LeBron James, James Harden and Anthony Davis joined by Kevin Durant and first-timer Damian Lillard on All-NBA first team

The NBA announced its all-league teams on Thursday, with MVP finalists LeBron James, James Harden and Anthony Davis all making the first team alongside Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard, who made his first-team debut.

MVP candidates lead the way for First Team


There’s a case to be made for all three of the MVP finalists, all of whom made the All-NBA First Team. Harden, the presumptive favorite for the award and a unanimous pick for this team, led the league in scoring at 30.4 points per game and also dished out 8.8 assists per contest while leading the Rockets to the league’s best regular-season record. Harden shot 44.9 percent — the best mark since his first year in Houston — and made the first team for the second consecutive year and is an All-NBA selection for the fifth time in his career.

James, now in his 15th year in the league, was also a unanimous selection. The Cleveland superstar played in all 82 games for the first time in his career and led the league in minutes. He set a new career high in assists (9.1 per game) and tied his best mark for rebounds (8.6), all while averaging 27.5 points per game. It’s James’ 14th All-NBA selection — he only missed out on a team his rookie year — and his 11th straight year making the first team. His 12 first-team selections set an NBA record.

Davis had the most remarkable year of his already-outstanding career this season, averaging a career-high 28.1 points per game and leading the league in blocks per game, the third time he’s done that in his six years. Davis was particularly outstanding after his All-Star frontcourt-mate DeMarcus Cousins went down with a ruptured Achilles. Davis’ February — when he averaged 35.0 points per game and 13.0 rebounds per game — is one of the best stretches in recent memory. It’s the second straight — and third overall — first-team selection for Davis.

Rounding out the group are Durant and Lillard. Durant battled injuries throughout the season, only playing in 68 games, but he was excellent when he was on the court, and he shot 41.9 percent from deep, his best mark since his first year in Oklahoma City. Durant has now made the first team six times and has been an All-NBA selection eight times. Lillard, meanwhile, had his spectacular season come to an ugly end as his Trail Blazers were swept by Davis’ Pelicans, but he had a breakout campaign nonetheless, leading Portland to the No. 3 seed out West. Lillard posted the best offensive rating (120) of his career and shot a career-best 50.1 percent inside the arc. It’s Lillard’s third All-NBA selection and his first first-team selection.

Russell Westbrook, Giannis Antetokounmpo highlight second team


Westbrook, the reigning MVP, averaged a triple-double for the second straight season and led the league with 10.3 assists per game. Westbrook also led the league in total turnovers, and the Thunder never quite reaching their full potential is likely what kept Westbrook from making the first team. Antetokounmpo’s breakout year earned him his second straight second-team nod. He averaged career highs in points (26.9) and rebounds (10.0), but like Westbrook, his team never quite lived up to its billing, thanks in part to lots of injuries around him.

Joining those two are DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Joel Embiid. DeRozan led the Raptors to the best record in the East, though Toronto came crashing down at the hands of LeBron James in the conference semifinals. Aldridge was terrific for the Kawhi Leonard-less Spurs, posting 23.1 points per game (the second-best mark of his career) in his 12th year as a pro. With Leonard only appearing in nine games this season, Aldridge became the focal point of the San Antonio offense and thrived, setting career highs in efficient field goal percentage (52.0) and offensive rating (118). Embiid was fantastic on both ends of the floor and a joy off it for the young, surging 76ers.

Stephen Curry leads third team


Warriors superstar Stephen Curry — whose season was marred by injuries — made the third team, his fifth All-NBA selection. He’s joined by Indiana breakout star Victor Oladipo and Thunder forward Paul George, who were essentially traded for one another during the offseason. Timberwolves duo Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns, who helped Minnesota make the playoffs for the first time since 2004, round out the third team.

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