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LeBron James, James Harden unanimous All-NBA first-team selections

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Joel Embiid was the biggest loser in All-NBA voting.

The big winners?

Here are the All-NBA teams (first-team votes, second-team votes, third-team votes, total voting points):

First team

G: James Harden, Houston (100-0-0-500)

G: Damian Lillard, Portland (71-24-5-432)

F: LeBron James, Cleveland (100-0-0-500)

F: Kevin Durant, Golden State (63-37-0-426)

C: Anthony Davis, New Orleans (96-4-0-492)

Second team

G: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City (24-63-13-322)

G: DeMar DeRozan, Toronto (2-39-38-165)

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee (28-71-1-354)

F: LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio (2-68-22-236)

C: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia (11-78-5-294)

Third team

G: Stephen Curry, Golden State (2-39-37-164)

G: Victor Oladipo, Indiana (0-24-33-105)

F: Jimmy Butler, Minnesota (1-8-52-81)

F: Paul George, Oklahoma City (0-4-42-54)

C: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota (0-18-45-99)

Other players receiving votes with point totals: Chris Paul (Houston), 54; Rudy Gobert (Utah), 51; Kyrie Irving (Boston), 42; Ben Simmons (Philadelphia), 36; Al Horford (Boston), 32; Nikola Jokic (Denver), 28; Andre Drummond (Detroit), 7; Clint Capela (Houston), 6; Draymond Green (Golden State), 6; Kyle Lowry (Toronto), 3; Steven Adams (Oklahoma City), 2; Donovan Mitchell (Utah), 2; Klay Thompson (Golden State), 2; Trevor Ariza (Houston), 1; DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans), 1; Dwight Howard (Charlotte), 1; Kevin Love (Cleveland), 1; Kristaps Porzingis (New York), 1

My takeaways:

  • Most underrated by this voting: Chris Paul
  • Most overrated by this voting: DeMar DeRozan
  • Anthony Davis clinches he’ll be eligible for a designated-veteran-player extension in the 2019 offseason, but only from the Pelicans. Will that keep him in New Orleans?
  • Who the heck voted for Trevor Ariza? That had to be a submission error, right?
  • Here were my picks.

Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell receive, Jayson Tatum one vote shy of, unanimous All-Rookie first-team selections

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The 76ers’ Ben Simmons, Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell, Celtics’ Jayson Tatum and Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma were locks for the All-Rookie first team.

The final seemingly up-for-grabs spot? It went to the Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen, and it wasn’t close.

Here’s the full voting for All-Rookie teams (first-team votes, second-team votes, total voting points):

First team

  • Donovan Mitchell, UTA (100-0-200)
  • Ben Simmons, PHI (100-0-200)
  • Jayson Tatum, BOS (99-1-199)
  • Kyle Kuzma, LAL (93-7-193)
  • Lauri Markkanen, CHI (76-21-173)

Second team

Others receiving votes:

The first team matches our choices.

Dennis Smith Jr. and Josh Jackson are the only selections I’d quibble with. Those two were just so destructive with shooting efficiency and defense. To be fair, they were pressed into larger roles than they were ready for on bad teams. But if the goal is picking the rookies who had the best seasons (what I aim to do), Smith and Jackson didn’t cut it.

However, some voters give more credence to long-term potential, and Smith and Jackson both have plenty of that. Other voters are drawn by bigger per-game numbers, which Smith and Jackson produced in their larger roles. So, it’s minimally surprising they made it.

That one first-team vote for Jackson, though? That’s odd – and it was enough to get him on the second team by one voting point over Heat center Bam Adebayo.

NBA announces awards finalists

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The NBA will reveal its major individual honors June 25 in a televised award show.

For now, the league has announced finalists. Click the name of each award for more analysis of the race:

Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum finalists for Rookie of the Year

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The Ben SimmonsDonovan Mitchell Rookie of the Year debate turned petty – from Philadelphia to Utah to Boston to Miami.

Who will actually win the award, though?

The finalists for the award, which will be announced June 25:

  • Ben Simmons (76ers)
  • Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  • Jayson Tatum (Celtics)

Tatum is included here because there had to be three finalists. This is a two-man race. If the award included the playoffs, when Tatum has elevated his game even higher, voters would have plenty to re-think. But they made their selections at the end of the regular season, and Tatum didn’t quite hold up on the level of Simmons and Mitchell.

I’d give the edge to Simmons, whose all-around game was so impressive and who didn’t have as sharp of early growing pains as Mitchell. But I would only be slightly surprised if Mitchell won.

Rumor: LeBron James want to play off the ball more in future

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Asked about Kyrie Irving before the season, LeBron James said: “When he was ready to take over the keys, I was ready to give them to him.”

But by then, it was too late. The Cavaliers had already traded the point guard to the Celtics, leaving LeBron in the driver’s seat.

It won’t be LeBron’s last chance to find a teammate worth deferring to. LeBron can opt out this summer.

Chris Broussard of Fox Sports on The Herd with Colin Cowherd:

I’ve been told by somebody that would know that LeBron wants to play off the ball.

I’m talking about LeBron going to Philly and playing like more of a true small forward.

What I was told is LeBron has done that, because he’s never really had a teammate who was a playmaker for other guys.

The 76ers (Ben Simmons), Rockets (James Harden and Chris Paul) and Lakers (Lonzo Ball) all have playmakers who’d allow LeBron to play off the ball more often.

Know who doesn’t? The Cavs, who require LeBron to create so much for himself and his teammates.

Cleveland could change that through the draft (ahem, Trae Young), free agency or trades. But the Cavaliers are playing from behind if this is important to LeBron.

There are really two questions at play here:

Does LeBron actually want to play off the ball? Rumors like this can easily get overstated.

Does LeBron think he actually wants to play off the ball? This is probably the more important question. LeBron might shift into old habits once he tries to play off the ball. Many stars struggle to transition into a complimentary role. But if this is what he thinks he wants, that could factor into his upcoming free agency.

Managing LeBron’s role next season might be tricky. It’s far more important just to get him on your team first.