The awards keep coming in for the L.A. Clippers.
A day after Leonard earned all-defense honors for the seventh time in his career, the Clippers superstar earned his fifth all-NBA honor, making the first team for the third time. Leonard was chosen alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Luka Dončić and Nikola Jokić.
Leonard had a sterling offensive season, posting the highest true shooting percentage of his career while also dishing out his most assists per game. He had the highest individual offensive rating in the league, excluding Kevin Durant, who missed more than half the season. He also combined that with another effective year on the defensive end, resulting in a first-team forward selection.
Interestingly, Leonard earned fewer votes than Damian Lillard and Joel Embiid, but he edged out the pair for the first team due to positional designations. That wasn’t the only positional oddity in the voting: Paul George — the starting shooting guard for the Clippers — made the all-NBA third team as a forward. And because George slotted in as a forward rather than a guard, forward Jayson Tatum didn’t make any all-NBA teams, despite having a higher vote total than third-team guard Kyrie Irving. That decision ended up being rather costly for Tatum, who now doesn’t qualify for the supermax rookie extension.
Despite the strange nature of the voting process, George’s honor was well-deserved. He had the 12th-highest offensive rating among all players who appeared in at least half the games this season. Like Leonard, George also set a career high in assists per game and true shooting percentage, leading to the fifth third-team selection of his career, and first as a Clipper. Leonard and George were the only teammates to both make an all-NBA team.
The second team is comprised of Joel Embiid, LeBron James, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, and Julius Randle. Bradley Beal, Jimmy Butler, and Rudy Gobert round out the third team.
More news for Wednesday:
- Dan Devine looks at the Clippers’ plan finally coming together.
- Kawhi had some uniquely Kawhi quotes after winning Game 4 in dominant fashion.
- Leonard and George are both on the short list for Team USA for the Olympics; as of now, three players (Lillard, Tatum, and Draymond Green) appear to be committed, while Beal is close.
- Owen Phillips has some fascinating observations about self-created shots in the playoffs.
- Speaking of self-created shots, Khris Middleton’s gotten quite good at them in an area of the floor that Leonard also calls home.