Post-Lockdown
Post-Lockdown 2020 All-NBA Team Predictions (Maddie Meyer/Getty ImagesGetty Images)

Post-Lockdown 2020 All-NBA Team Predictions

So unless you’ve been living under a glacier in Alaska, with no internet connection, you obviously understand that the NBA season shut down prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of early March, the season has been suspended and there have been no team practices or games, it’s not out of the question to speculate that the season may effectively be over until this pandemic has calmed down. So I’m making early season award predictions under the pretense that the season has ended, without further ado, here are your 2020 NBA early season awards. 

Note: The stat lines are points per game/rebounds per game/assists per game

All-NBA First Team

Guard: James Harden, Houston Rockets

I’m pretty sure everyone has come to understand that barring injury, Harden is going to be an essential lock for the All-NBA first team for at least the next three to four seasons. You can say what you want about him, but he’s been one of the most transcendent scorers of the 21st century, and this season is no different. Averaging a league-high 34.4 points per game along with 6.4/7.4 stat line once again puts him in the thick of the MVP conversation. Had the season continued he more than likely would’ve taken home the scoring title, and led the Rockets back to another playoff appearance.

Guard: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Doncic has been the clear sophomore superstar in the league, and while his scoring prowess isn’t equal to that of Harden yet, he certainly has the potential to reach it. Averaging a near triple-double with 28.7/ 9.3/8.7 assists per game, Doncic has easily slotted himself in the MVP race and before the lockdown, the Mavericks were sitting seven games ahead of the Grizzlies in the seventh seed. He’s been an effective scorer at all three levels this season, and I’m excited to see what his future dominance may lead to.

Forward: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

James continues to age like fine wine, and his game continues to become even more polished as time goes on. Averaging a double-double of 25.7/10.6/7.9, he continues to single-handedly prove how valuable he is in all facets of the game. The Lakers had just pulled out two very impressive victories over the Bucks and Clippers before the lockdown, strengthening their lead on the Western Conference crown. Regardless of what happens with the season, it’s safe to say that James has returned the Lakers to primetime form, something we haven’t seen since the days of the late Kobe Bryant.

Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks 

The Bucks and Lakers established themselves as the team to beat over the course of the season, and the reigning MVP is the primary reason the Bucks are in this conversation. His freakish athleticism is virtually unstoppable, and a 29.6/13.7/5.8 stat line is a testament to that. He’s once again the popular favorite for another MVP award, and the Bucks were looking ready to make some serious noise in the postseason before the lockdown, this pick is as unanimous as it gets in my mind.

Center: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

Before you get all triggered in the comments with “Where the hell is Joel Embiid?” Remember Jokic has played 65 games this season as opposed to Embiid’s 44, providing a more reliable body of work to judge. If this were a popularity contest, Embiid would probably be on this team, but that’s not what this is at all. In a league where the center position is dying, Jokic’s stat line of 20.2/10.2/6.9 proves that being a true big man still has value. He’s been a stabilizing presence for a talented Nuggets team, and at the young age of 25, we’re just starting to truly see what he can offer.

All-NBA Second Team

Guard: Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

Despite how terrible the Hawks were this season, you can’t ignore Young’s fantastic play throughout the season. A 29,6/4.3/9.3 stat line more than signifies his value on the offensive end, but don’t overlook the fact that he averages 1.1 steals per game either. The All-Star continues to prove just how effective he can be on the offensive end of the floor, and the crazy thing is, he’s just getting started.

Guard: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

Lillard could’ve made the case for the first team in my opinion, he’s been just that good this season. A career high 28.9 points per game along with a 4.3/7.8 stat line proved to me that he’s stepped his game up on the offensive end, along with the fact that he was averaging under three turnovers a game, a very impressive stat. Unfortunately, the Trail Blazers wouldn’t be in the playoffs if they had started after the lockout, but that doesn’t overshadow the fact that Lillard continues to prove that he’s one of the most overlooked guards in the league. 

Forward: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers

The former NBA Finals MVP continues to show why he’s one of the best players on both ends of the floor, while his impact isn’t as crazy as Antetokounmpo or James, he’s still easily one of the best forwards in the game. A 26.9/7.3/5.0 stat line along with an impressive 1.8 steals per game is already impressive enough, but a 7.8 +/- rating is one of the best of his career, to keep in mind, he only had a 5.9 +/- rating last season during his championship run.

Forward: Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Davis paired with James has been a big reason that the Lakers are the kings of the west right now, a 26.7/9.4/3.1 stat line along with 1.5 steals and 2.4 blocks per game is as good as it gets for the big man. I would’ve put him as a first team center except he’s considered a forward for these awards, but believe me, Davis is still a top-10 player in the league and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. 

Center: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

While I don’t feel like he earned All-NBA first team honors, he still put up an impressive display this season. A stat line of 23.4/11.8/3.1 is very impressive for a big man like Embiid in today’s guard-heavy league, I’d argue he needs to keep his health up in order to have more longevity over the years, but he still continues to prove that he’s one of the best in the league. 

All-NBA Third Team

Guard: Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets

He’s not All-NBA first team material anymore, but he’s still highly effective in his role with the Rockets. It’s crazy to believe a third team guard is averaging 27.5/8.0/7.0, but Westbrook manages to continue to do it all on the offensive end of the floor, and paired with Harden, they’re easily the best duo guard combo in the league. 

Guard: Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder

A few names that fall short of the second guard spot are Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Lowry and Kemba Walker. However, none of them have the veteran presence and have been able to capitalize late in games like Paul has. He’s averaging 17.5/5.0/ 6.7, and while Lowry may have him statistically, what really puts it over the top for me for Paul is the fact that the Thunder are fifth in the West. In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, Paul has been the leading presence for the Thunder all season, and everybody around the league knows it.

Forward: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Tatum has continued to be one of the league’s emerging superstars, and this season really pushed that narrative to the light. Averaging 23.6/ 7.1/2.9, all career-highs, Tatum is really starting to figure out his identity as a member of this team, and with how the Celtics are trending, he’s on his way to becoming the bona fide star of the team. 

Forward: Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

The Heat have been simply dominant all season, and Butler has been a huge reason for that, a 20.2/6.6/6.1 stat line along with 1.7 steals per game highlight his effectiveness on both ends of the floor. At the ripe age of 30, Butler continues to prove that he’s not slowing down and will always be a valuable asset.

Center: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

The Jazz have quietly been one of the better teams in the league, and Gobert has been a big reason why. A 25.4/14.0/1.5 stat line along with two blocks per game is the staple of an effective big man, and it won’t be uncommon to see these types of performances from Gobert on a yearly basis, his offensive and defensive skill set on both ends of the floor make him one of the most respected players in the league.

Honorable Mentions: Bam Adebayo, Bradley Beal, Pascal Siakam, Khris Middleton and Ben Simmons

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