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2017 PBT Awards: All-Defensive

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Kurt Helin

First team

Second Team

This is one category I’m still reviewing (watching film, talking to people about) and may tweak because there are good cases for a number of others not here (Danny Green, Thabo Sefolosha, Dewayne Dedmon, Robert Covington, and more). While both CP3 and Beverley missed chunks of time this season, both played in enough games and were so impactful they had to make the team. Paul Millsap’s defense is one of those things too many fans sleep on.

Note: Helin has an official ballot this year.

Dan Feldman

First team

      • G: Andre Roberson, Thunder
      • G: Patrick Beverley, Rockets
      • F: Draymond Green, Warriors
      • F: Kawhi Leonard, Spurs
      • C: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Second team

      • G: Chris Paul, Clippers
      • G: Jimmy Butler, Bulls
      • F: Paul Millsap, Hawks
      • F: Anthony Davis, Pelicans
      • C: DeAndre Jordan, Clippers

Andre Roberson, Draymond Green, Kawhi Leonard, Rudy Gobert and Paul Millsap slid into place easily.

Patrick Beverley and Chris Paul were neck-and-neck for the final first-team guard spot. Butler edged Danny Green, Tony Allen and Thabo Sefolosha for the second team.

I debated DeAndre Jordan, Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard for second-team center. Dewayne Dedmon and Joel Embiid defended better than all three while on the court, but they played too little to match the contributions of Jordan, Davis and Howard. I keep second-guessing sliding Davis to forward. He played more center and always guarded centers as a center, and even as a forward, he sometimes guarded centers. But I put him there anyway.

Counting an extra big, the inherent value of size defensively and putting every wing at guard really shows how small forwards who don’t defend guards — like Robert Covington, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and I suspect, if were healthy, Kevin Durant — really get squeezed in this format unless they’re as elite as Leonard.

Dane Carbaugh

First team

      • G: John Wall, Wizards
      • G: Avery Bradley, Celtics
      • F: Kawhi Leonard, Spurs
      • F: Draymond Green, Warriors
      • C: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Second team

It’s pretty easy to sort out the first team here. The top DPOY candidates are all there, and you can argue until your lungs collapse about which should go over the other. Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green, and Rudy Gobert are the top guys, and the rest falls into place accordingly. John Wall makes the cut for me not just because of what he does on the defensive end of the floor but how that compares given he’s one of the best passers in the NBA.

Warriors hope to get Shaun Livingston, Matt Barnes back for second round

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors hope to get injured reserves Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes back from injuries for the second round of the playoffs after getting more than a week off between series.

The Warriors said Saturday that Barnes has been upgraded to probable for Tuesday night’s Game 1 and Livingston remains questionable but is hopeful he will be ready to return. Star forward Kevin Durant is expected to be a full go after missing two games and being limited to 20 minutes in Game 4 last round because of a strained left calf.

Barnes has been sidelined since April 8, while Livingston sprained a finger on his right hand in Game 1 of the first-round against Portland.

Golden State begins the second round at home on Tuesday night against the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. The Warriors have been off since sweeping the Trail Blazers last Monday, giving them more than a week between games.

“I’m trying to make sure I rest it as much as I possibly can, because when I do come back I plan on staying all the way back,” Livingston said Saturday. “Hopefully it will be ready for Tuesday.”

After taking Tuesday and Thursday off following their first-round sweep, the Warriors practiced for a second straight day Saturday. They plan to practice again on Sunday and then again Monday once they know their second-round opponent.

There is no update on the status of coach Steve Kerr, who missed the final two games of the first round because of complications from two back surgeries. Kerr talks daily with interim coach Mike Brown and took part in coaching meetings Friday but was not at practice on Saturday.

PBT Extra: Rockets vs. Spurs far more than Kawhi Leonard vs. James Harden

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Kawhi Leonard vs. James Harden. Two MVP candidates matching up in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

However, the San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets is much more than that.

It’s a battle of pace. It’s a chess match between two of the best coaches in the game. It’s about which team’s role players are going to step up.

I talk about all of that in this latest PBT Extra. Plus, of course, when Leonard will guard Harden.

How to start your Saturday night: Watching 15 minutes of best plays from NBA season

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There are no NBA playoff games Saturday night, the first night since the start of the postseason there hasn’t been one game. Don’t worry, there are two games on Sunday, including Game 7 between the Jazz and Clippers.

But if you need a Saturday night fix, this will have to do: 15 minutes of the best plays from last season, as compiled by NBA.com.

Go ahead, watch it. You’ve got nothing better to do.

 

Paul Millsap says the expected, he will “most likely” opt out of contract

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This is ranked right next to “overeating can lead to weight gain” on the list of surprising things, but we will dutifully report it anyway:

Paul Millsap is going to opt out and officially become a free agent this summer.

Atlanta’s owner as well as Mike Budenholzer, the coach and head of basketball operations, have both said they plan to do whatever it takes to re-sign Millsap with the Hawks. Millsap didn’t sound like someone eager to leave after the Hawks were eliminated from the playoffs Friday.

“It’s been great. I’m looking to expand this and see where the franchise can go. These last four years has been great. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Even with both sides singing Kumbaya, keeping Millsap in Atlanta likely means a five-year contract at or near the max, which for a 32-year-old player means the Hawks would regret the last year or two of that deal.

Not that the Hawks have much of a choice here, they have to come in big and keep him. For one, they can’t afford to lose Al Horford and then Millsap for nothing in back-to-back years. If they were going down the rebuilding road, they needed to trade Millsap at the deadline (or last summer) to make sure they got something in return. Atlanta explored trade options at the deadline, but then pulled back (rumored to be because of an edict from ownership, which didn’t want to see the team blown up after the Kyle Korver trade).

By not making that trade the Hawks signaled their intention to remain a good team — a 43-win team this season that got them the five seed — with Dennis Schroder and Dwight Howard, one that draws well at an arena that historically has not been that full, and see if they can add on. They strike me as a team that will win between 42-50 games a year and be middle of the pack in the East for the next few years, unless they can find a way to add an elite player (which is incredibly difficult).

But if the Hawks can’t re-sign Millsap, then the plan gets blown up. So expect them to come in with a big offer come July 1.