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SQ NBA Awards Roundtable Part 2

Dan Larson - AP

Part 2 includes All-Defense and All-NBA selections

In case you missed Part 1 of our discussion, here it is. We now embark on our All-Defense and All-NBA selections.

1st and 2nd Team All-Defense

SQ NBA Senior Writer Matt Blum:

Via AP

1st Team 

G Jrue Holiday 

G Victor Oladipo 

F Robert Covington 

F Anthony Davis 

C Rudy Gobert


2nd Team 

G Ben Simmons 

G Chris Paul 

F Giannis Antetokounmpo 

F Al Horford 

C Joel Embiid



While Holiday’s performance against Portland on Saturday doesn’t count towards All-Defensive team consideration, it is very indicative of how great he was during the regular season. He got the top spot, but the other three guards were all pretty close in my mind. Oladipo got the slight edge because he is more versatile than Paul and was slightly more consistent than Simmons. I really wanted to put Andre Roberson on one of the teams who would have been my favorite for Defensive Player of the Year before he got injured, but 39 games simply wasn’t enough for award consideration.  

Again I cheated a little bit by putting Davis at forward, but I felt it was more fair than bumping him to the second team. While I view Draymond Green as the superior defensive player to Al Horford, Horford got the final forward spot because he was far more consistent over the entire season and was the leader on the league’s top defense. The center spots were easy with my top-two for DPOY getting the spots, but it is a shame that Embiid is forced down to the second team.

SQ NBA Staff Writer Austin Ryback:

1st Team

G Jrue Holiday 

G Victor Oladipo 

F Draymond Green 

F Anthony Davis 

C Rudy Gobert 

2nd Team

G Chris Paul 

G Dejounte Murray 

F Giannis Antetokounmpo 

F Robert Covington 

C Joel Embiid

Image title

A.Bernstein/Getty Images

SQ NBA Contributor Henry Ettinger:

1st Team

G Chris Paul 

G Victor Oladipo 

F Anthony Davis 

F Giannis Antetokounmpo 

C Rudy Gobert  

2nd team   

G Josh Richardson 

G Robert Covington 

F Draymond Green 

F Al Horford 

C Joel Embiid   

I outlined a lot of this in my DPOY voting. I leaned Gobert over Embiid. Horford does not get enough credit for his defense. Oladipo also doesn’t get enough credit for maintaining his effort level on defense despite the dramatic increase in his offensive workload. Even though Draymond Green’s individual defensive numbers are not as strong this season, his impact on his team’s effort is unquestionable. They have a lower defensive rating this year with Green on the court (87.7) than they have had either of the past two seasons with him on the floor. That is especially impressive given the fact that the Warriors’ regular season defense overall has been much worse this season.

SQ NBA Head Writer Mac Trammell

1st Team

G Victor Oladipo

G Paul George

F Draymond Green

F Anthony Davis

C Andre Drummond

Image title

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

2nd Team 

G Ricky Rubio

G Gary Harris

F Al Horford

F Robert Covington

C Rudy Gobert

I wanted badly to squeeze Embiid in as a forward on the second team, but that would have been disingenuous. Every player outside of Oladipo in the 1st Team was considered at some point this season for DPOY, and Oladipo led the league in steals.

Rubio and Harris both had their best defensive seasons in unheralded landscapes in Salt Lake City and Denver respectively. Covington continues to be one of the league’s premiere wing defenders, and Draymond Green, the reigning DPOY, has the unparalleled versatility of being able to guard all five positions at an elite level.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd Team All-NBA

Matt Blum:

1st Team 

G James Harden 

G Damian Lillard 

F LeBron James 

F Giannis Antetokounmpo 

C Anthony Davis    

2nd Team 

G Stephen Curry 

G Chris Paul 

F Kevin Durant 

F LaMarcus Aldridge 

C Joel Embiid  

3rd Team 

G Russell Westbrook 

G DeMar DeRozan 

F Jimmy Butler 

F Ben Simmons 

C Karl-Anthony Towns

Image title

Frank Gunn/CP

The first team vote was simple for me as my top-five for MVP fit in perfectly. The only player in real contention for me was Curry who wasn’t competitive for MVP due to lack of games played, but who I felt was a better player when on the court than Lillard was this season. Ultimately, while it was close, Lillard’s 22 extra games pushed Curry to the second team.  

I understand those who would argue that averaging a triple-double should automatically put you above the third team, but I felt that the four guards ahead of Westbrook had better overall seasons on better teams. Westbrook and Paul were close, but CP3’s defense on a 65-win team marginally outweighed Westbrook’s statistics. The final guard spot was a toss-up between DeRozan and Oladipo who had nearly identical statistical seasons, but DeRozan got the nod because of team success and I felt at leastone Raptor needed to get a spot.  

Once I bumped Davis to center, forwards became pretty clear with James, Antetokounmpo, and Durant having the three best seasons in that order. Had Butler been healthier, he might have been on the second team, but Aldridge led what is clearly a limited Spurs squad to a higher seed and earned that spot. Putting Simmons at forward is probably cheating a bit, but I felt he was one of the 15 best players in the league this season and was more deserving than any other forward I could have put in that spot.

Austin Ryback

1st Team

G James Harden 

G Damian Lillard 

F LeBron James 

F Giannis Antetokounmpo 

C Anthony Davis    

2nd Team

G Russell Westbrook 

G DeMar DeRozan 

F Kevin Durant 

F LaMarcus Aldridge 

C Joel Embiid   

3rd Team 

G Chris Paul 

G Victor Oladipo 

F Ben Simmons 

F Paul George 

C Nikola Jokic

Image title

STEVEN M. FALK - Philadelphia Inquirer

Henry Ettinger

1st Team  

G James Harden 

G Damian Lillard 

F LeBron James 

F Giannis Antetokounmpo 

C Anthony Davis   

2nd Team  

G Steph Curry 

G Chris Paul 

F LaMarcus Aldridge 

F Kevin Durant 

C Joel Embiid  

3rd Team  

G Victor Oladipo 

G Kyrie Irving 

F Jimmy Butler

F Ben Simmons 

C Karl-Anthony Towns  

The hardest part of this process was deciding who was a center and who was a forward when they play both positions about the same amount of time. I ended up sliding Davis to center and Aldridge to forward in order to get them on the team that I felt they were most deserving of based on their play this season.   

If Curry and Paul had played more games, I would have considered them for 1st team. I chose Oladipo over Westbrook because of his superior clutch performance and because of how much the Thunder have disappointed this season. Also, despite averaging a triple-double again this season, Westbrook has not been anywhere near as efficient as last season. Simmons benefited from a year in which the forwards traditionally on these teams like Draymond Green, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard all had disappointing seasons.

Image title

USA TODAY Sports

Mac Trammell

1st Team 

G James Harden

G Damian Lillard

F LeBron James

F Giannis Antetokounmpo

C Anthony Davis

As these were my top 5 MVP votes, it seems reasonable that they would also be my 1st Team All-NBA selections. Thankfully, Anthony Davis can be categorized as a center (despite the fact I listed him as a forward for 1st Team All-Defense).

2nd Team 

G Russell Westbrook

G Victor Oladipo

F LaMarcus Aldridge

F Kevin Durant

C Joel Embiid

Image title

Brendan Galella

3rd Team 

G DeMar DeRozan

G Jrue Holiday

F Paul George

F Al Horford

C Andre Drummond

At the last second I switched LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul George from 2nd and 3rd team selections. Aldridge had a more consistent year even if George shone brighter at times.

You may notice that Stephen Curry and Chris Paul did not make any of the lists. There are two reasons for that. First, Curry missed too many game to supplant someone like DeRozan, who at one point during the season was being considered as an MVP candidate. Second, I loathe Paul, and therefore chose another player, Jrue Holiday, in his stead. This is my list, and I can do with it what I want.

That’s not to say that Holiday isn’t deserving. After teammate DeMarcus Cousins went down, he and Davis both exploded. New Orleans very desperately needed him to step up his play and he did just that.


Edited by Brian Kang, Dani Quintana.

SQuiz
How many times did Dikembe Mutombo win Defensive Player of the Year?
Created 4/19/18
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