James Harden, LeBron James headline All-NBA Teams


James Harden was a unanimous First Team choice.

LeBron James and Russell Westbrook came within one vote of the same (one voter each had them on the second team).

While we aren’t going to know who won MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, or other NBA awards until their new ceremony June 26 (after the Finals and Draft), the All-NBA teams had to be different. Because it impacts bonuses and future contracts — most notably if players qualify for Designated Player max deals this summer — teams needed to know early, before the Draft. So on Thursday the NBA released the prestigious All-NBA team, a snapshot of the best in the game.

Here are the three All-NBA teams:

Other players receiving votes, with point totals (First Team votes in parentheses): Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota, 50 (2); Chris Paul, LA Clippers, 49; Marc Gasol, Memphis, 48 (2); DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans, 42 (2); Paul George, Indiana, 40; Gordon Hayward, Utah, 27; Hassan Whiteside, Miami, 18; Kyrie Irving, Cleveland, 14; Klay Thompson, Golden State, 14; Nikola Jokic, Denver, 12 (1); Damian Lillard, Portland, 12; Paul Millsap, Atlanta, 3; LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio, 1; Blake Griffin, LA Clippers, 1; Al Horford, Boston, 1.

These were voted on by 100 members of the media, their votes will be made public June 26 with the rest of the award voting. (Full disclosure, I was one of those voters.)

The big takeaways: Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, and Stephen Curry (already an MVP) are eligible for Designated Player max contracts. In the case of Leonard it would be five years at around $217 million, and while he would sign next summer it wouldn’t kick in until the summer of 2019. Wall can sign his extension this summer (he has more experience) but his deal will not kick in for a couple.

However, Paul George and Gordon Hayward did not make an All-NBA team, which could impact their summers because now the Pacers and Jazz cannot offer their stars those Designated Player max contracts. (That contract is only for players who make the team the past year or two of the last three, or are a former MVP.)

In the case of George (who made all-NBA regularly before his leg injury, now has not made it two of the last three), that means the Pacers may consider trading their star this summer. George is a free agent in 2018 and there is a lot of buzz he is going to leave (either to a contender or the Lakers), and Indiana’s new man in charge Kevin Pritchard may feel he needs to get something for George rather than just let him walk. However, the trade market for George will not be robust because teams feel he wants to be a free agent in 2018, so he could be a one-year rental.

For Hayward, it means the Jazz can only offer a little more than other teams — about $2 million a year more on average over the deal, but also a guaranteed fifth year, so it works out to $46 million more guaranteed (but Hayward would get paid somewhere that fifth season, just not as much). That may be enough to keep him, he likes Utah, but it’s known Boston — with Hayward’s college coach Brad Stevens — and other teams are going to come hard at him.

Some will question putting Anthony Davis at center, but he spent 64 percent of his time on the court this past season at the five (as tracked by Basketball-Reference.com). That likely will not be the case next season with DeMarcus Cousins in the picture.

LeBron James does Kelly Olynyk wrong, turns back on him, then blows by him (VIDEO)


Kelly Olynyk may not be the LeBron James stopper Boston needs.

Olynyk was the hero of Game 7 against Washington Monday night, and two nights later he got a quick call off the bench in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland. Even in the first quarter things were getting ugly for Boston, and Olynyk was brought in to hit shots and try to turn the tide.

Instead, defensively he got switched onto LeBron on a couple pick-and-rolls, and it wasn’t pretty.

Olynyk doesn’t have near the foot speed to stand a chance in that matchup. Olynyk’s man Tristan Thompson would come out to set the pick and force the switch, then LeBron would step back in isolation — the first time turning his back on Olynyk is a move that was almost disrespectful (see above). Then LeBron would get up a head of steam and drive right at Olynyk —and there was nothing Olynyk could do, he can’t cover LeBron. (There may be only one player in the league who can, and he is getting ankle treatments in San Antonio right now.)

LeBron only turned his back once, but when Cleveland finds something that works they go back to that well.

It was a rough night for Boston and Olynyk. Boston made the choice to stay home on Cleveland’s three-point shooters, so LeBron and the Cavs went right at the Celtics and scored inside. James finished the night with 38 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. Every adjustment from Boston feels like it will just open up another aspect of Cleveland’s game. Olynyk will likely be better in Game 2 — he had two points on six shots in Game 1, it couldn’t get much worse — but in Boston the question is will that, or anything they do, be enough?

PBT Extra: Breaking down NBA Draft Lottery winners (Joel Embiid) and losers

Leave a comment

The NBA Draft Lottery brings a lot of drama to the stage, and as teams move up and down the board there are winners and losers.

I talk about them in this latest PBT Extra. We know who the winners were with the top picks — the Celtics and Lakers — but my favorite winner was Joel Embiid, who was the highlight of an often tedious broadcast. His face as they explained the Sixers/Kings pick swap was awesome.

Not many losers in this draft, but sorry Orlando.

PBT Podcast: Breaking down the NBA Draft Lottery with Dan Feldman

Leave a comment

The ping pong balls have spoken: Boston, the LA Lakers, and Philadephia will have the top three picks in the NBA Draft.

What does that mean? Who are they likely to select? If the Celtics take Markelle Fultz, what does that mean for the future of Isaiah Thomas in Boston? Which prospects could fall down the board?

Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports get into all of that in this latest PBT Podcast. There is also some Zaza Pachulia talk, and we discuss if Warriors/Cavaliers round three in the Finals is good for the NBA.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (just click the button under the podcast), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.

Warriors become just the 5th team to start NBA playoffs 10-0

Getty Imaes
1 Comment

OAKLAND (AP) — The Golden State Warriors’ rare unbeaten start this postseason doesn’t necessarily mean they’re on their way to a title.

Golden State is just the fifth NBA team to win its first 10 playoff games in a given postseason. Only two of the four teams that previously achieved the feat went on to win the title.

The Warriors aren’t getting caught up in talk about where they might rank in history if they continue this run. They say they’re focusing on continuing to get better and the next game against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals.

“We feel like we like our chances against anybody, no matter (who) is on the court,” Warriors forward Kevin Durant said Tuesday night after a 136-100 victory over the Spurs, who played without injured All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard. “That’s the confidence we have. But we’ve got to be ready Game 3. We know they’re probably going to be full strength in Game 3 and ready to play us.

Here’s a look at the other four teams that had the best starts in playoff history.

1989 – LOS ANGELES LAKERS (11-0)

The Lakers followed up a 57-25 regular season by carrying an unbeaten postseason record into the Finals as they sought their third straight title. But after sweeping Portland, Seattle and Phoenix to win the Western Conference title, the Lakers were swept by the Detroit Pistons in the Finals. The Lakers’ title hopes suffered a devastating blow when Magic Johnson injured his hamstring in Game 2 of the Finals. Johnson started Game 3 but played only five minutes before missing the rest of the series.

2001 – LOS ANGELES LAKERS (11-0)

The Lakers dropped only one game the entire postseason on their way to winning a second straight championship. The Lakers would win a third straight crown the following year. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant led a Lakers team that swept Portland, Sacramento and San Antonio in the Western Conference playoffs. After losing 107-101 at home to Philadelphia in the first game of the NBA Finals, the Lakers beat the 76ers four straight times to clinch the title.

2012 – SAN ANTONIO SPURS (10-0)

After sweeping Utah and the Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio took a 2-0 lead over Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals. But the Spurs wouldn’t win another game as the Thunder beat San Antonio four straight times to claim the Western Conference title. Oklahoma City went on to lose in five games to Miami in the NBA Finals.


The Cavaliers swept Detroit and Atlanta in the first two rounds of the postseason and took a quick 2-0 lead over Toronto in the Eastern Conference finals before losing five of its next eight playoff games. Cleveland won a six-game series with Toronto but fell behind Golden State 3-1 in the NBA Finals before LeBron James and Kyrie Irving rallied the Cavaliers to the title . Cleveland also has swept its first two playoff opponents this year as it enters the Eastern Conference finals with Boston , marking the first time a team has stated out 8-0 in two straight postseasons.