US basketball

Jokic, Antetokounmpo lead All-NBA first team

Jokic, Antetokounmpo lead All-NBA first team

POWERHOUSE. Giannis Antetokounmpo delivers on both ends yet again this season.

Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo emerges as the only unanimous pick in the All-NBA first team

League MVP Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and unanimous selection Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks made the All-NBA first team, the league announced Tuesday, June 15 (Wednesday, June 16, Manila time).

They were joined on the first team by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic, and Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard.

Despite being a finalist for the MVP award, Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid was only a second-team All-NBA selection due to position limitations – each team only featured one center, and Jokic beat out Embiid in votes.

Embiid was joined on the second team by Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, and New York Knicks forward Julius Randle.

The five to make the third team were guards Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn) and Bradley Beal (Washington), forwards Jimmy Butler (Miami) and Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers) and center Rudy Gobert (Utah).

It marked the first career All-NBA selections for Randle and Beal. James notched his 17th All-NBA selection and Paul earned his 10th.

The next two guards receiving votes were the Wizards’ Russell Westbrook and the Nets’ James Harden, falling just behind their respective teammates, Beal and Irving. Forwards who narrowly missed the cut included the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, the Pelicans’ Zion Williamson, and the Nets’ Kevin Durant.

Harden and Tatum each earned two first-team votes despite not accumulating enough total votes for inclusion on any of the three teams.

Jokic earned 99 first-team votes and one second-team vote to fall just shy of joining Antetokounmpo as a unanimous pick. Curry earned 98 first-team votes and two second-team votes, earning his seventh career All-NBA selection.

Jokic became the first second-round draft pick in league history to be named MVP. Jokic started all 72 games for the Nuggets and averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game – all setting or matching career highs.

The Serbian shot 56.6% from the floor, including 38.8% from three-point range, and added 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks per contest.

Curry won the NBA scoring title by leading the league with 32.0 points per game a year after suffering a broken left hand.

Antetokounmpo, the league MVP in 2019 and 2020, averaged 28.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.2 steals per contest over 61 games for Milwaukee.

The Greek star also made it to the NBA All-Defensive First Team, which the league announced a day earlier.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons were unanimous choices for the NBA All-Defensive First Team.

Gobert and Simmons were chosen on all 100 ballots and received 200 points apiece. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (176 points, 80 first-team votes) and the Milwaukee Bucks combo of guard Jrue Holiday (157, 65) and Antetokounmpo (135, 43) also were first-team selections. –