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LeBron James named to All-NBA First Team for 11th Time

LeBron James was named to the All-NBA first team for the 11th time

LeBron James was named to the All-N.B.A. first team for the 11th time, tying a record shared by Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant. Credit Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

James, a four-time N.B.A. most valuable player, and Harden, a top candidate this season, led the All-N.B.A. first team, announced by the league on Thursday. James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, made the first team for the 11th time, matching a record set by the Hall of Famer Karl Malone and equaled by Kobe Bryant. Harden, of the Houston Rockets, was the only unanimous first-team selection by the global voting panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. It was his third first-team nod in four seasons.

Joining James and Harden on the first team were Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard and New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis. Westbrook, Leonard and Davis all are first-teamers for the second time.

Harden was not an All-N.B.A. team pick last season, when he averaged 29 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.1 assists, which prompted Daryl Morey, the Rockets’ general manager, to post a reaction on Twitter. “Happy @James Harden was able to bounce back from his tough 29/8/6 performance last season to prove again he is one of the 15 best NBA players,” Morey wrote.
James and Westbrook were on 99 of the 100 first-team ballots, and second-team on the lone other. Leonard was a first-teamer on 96 ballots, second-team on three and third-team on one.

Perhaps as significant a story as who made the team was who did not.

George and Hayward fell well short of making any of the three All-N.B.A. teams, which means they will not be eligible to get so-called “supermax” extensions from Indiana and Utah this summer and now will face more questions about their futures in their respective cities. George is under contract to the Pacers for next season, while Hayward will probably elect to become a free agent this summer.

These opportunities don’t come around very much,” Hayward said this month. “That’s why you hire an agent, to deal with this type of stuff.”

Harden and Westbrook were runaway choices at guard, James and Leonard were easy picks at forward. Davis barely held off Utah’s Rudy Gobert for the first-team center spot, finishing with 343 points to Gobert’s 339.

Davis appeared on 95 ballots; Gobert appeared on 91.

Other second-team picks along with Gobert were the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and the Boston Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas at guard, and the Warriors’ Kevin Durant and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo at forward.

“So many great players, so many players had great seasons,” Durant said. “It’s kind of hard to put guys on the first, second, third teams. So many guys played well this year. Just grateful to be a part of the list. Obviously I feel like I should be a first-team player, but it is what it is.”

Third-team selections were guards John Wall of the Washington Wizards and DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, forwards Draymond Green of Golden State and Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls, and center DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers. Jordan edged the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns by 4 points in the balloting.

Finalists for the league’s most valuable player, rookie of the year, defensive player of the year, sixth man, most improved player and coach of the year will be announced Friday night.

All those awards will be announced in New York on June 26, and complete voting results will be released at that time.

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