Oklahoma City Thunder v Miami Heat

Kevin Durant, LeBron James head All-NBA Teams


Here’s the problem with nitpicking the All-NBA teams — there are no bad players on any of the first three.

You can argue if you want (and as I would) that LaMarcus Aldridge deserves a spot on the third team more than Carmelo Anthony or Dirk Nowitzki, but that doesn’t make the guys on the list bad picks. I would have had Steve Nash ahead of Rajon Rondo. It’s just a difference of opinion, but you can defend any of these pick.

Well, you can’t defend every vote. I’d love to hear the justification of the media member that voted for Luis Scola or David Lee or Serge Ibaka on to one of these teams (they all got votes). Those are all just bad calls. But most voters (coaches, or whichever assistant they forced to do it) were sober enough not to make those choices.

As it should be, LeBron James and Kevin Durant were the top two vote getters. Dwight Howard edged out Andrew Bynum for the top center spot (it shouldn’t have been that close, Howard is still quite a bit ahead of Bynum’s game), and it’s hard to argue the L.A. backcourt tandem.

Derrick Rose did not make the list, but that was about injuries not play.

Here are the lists, with their vote totals in parenthesis:

All-NBA First Team

Forward: LeBron James, Miami (596)
Forward: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City (591)
Center: Dwight Howard, Orlando (476)
Guard: Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers (568)
Guard: Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers (484)

All-NBA Second Team

Forward: Kevin Love, Minnesota (365)
Forward: Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers (170)
Center: Andrew Bynum, L.A. Lakers (400)
Guard: Tony Parker, San Antonio (367)
Guard: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City (239)

All-NBA Third Team

Forward: Carmelo Anthony, New York (154)
Forward: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas (136)
Center: Tyson Chandler, New York (60)
Guard: Dwyane Wade, Miami (235)
Guard: Rajon Rondo, Boston (142)

Other players receiving votes, with point totals: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland, 55; Marc Gasol, Memphis, 52; Derrick Rose, Chicago, 44; Josh Smith, Atlanta, 33; Paul Pierce, Boston, 31; Al Jefferson, Utah, 30; Pau Gasol, L.A. Lakers, 27; Steve Nash, Phoenix, 24; Kevin Garnett, Boston, 22; Tim Duncan, San Antonio, 18; Joe Johnson, Atlanta, 16; Deron Williams, New Jersey, 14; Rudy Gay, Memphis, 10; James Harden, Oklahoma City, 8; Luol Deng, Chicago, 5; Roy Hibbert, Indiana, 5; Manu Ginobili, San Antonio, 3; Danny Granger, Indiana, 3; Joakim Noah, Chicago, 3; Monta Ellis, Milwaukee, 2; Chris Bosh, Miami, 2; Luis Scola, Houston, 2; Marcin Gortat, Phoenix, 2; Paul Millsap, Utah, 2; Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City, 2; David Lee, Golden State, 1; and DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento, 1.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Can Thunder win 60 games?

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Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka are healthy — just how good will the Thunder be?

The bold prediction in this PBT Extra preview with Jenna Corrado is that the Thunder will win 60 games, something they have not yet done. I wouldn’t bet on them hitting that number — with a new coach, and them making sure Durant and Westbrook get rest coming off injuries, plus the fact they’re in the deep West, that number may be high.

I think they have a better chance to come out of the West than win 60 games. I think they have a good shot to come out of the West.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
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DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”