While we’re still all hoping the NBA season can resume at some point, the reality that we’ve seen our last 2019-20 game, regular season or otherwise, is a distinct possibility. If games are able to resume, likely without fans and perhaps as late as July or August, it’s a pretty safe bet that the remainder of the regular season will be canceled and competition will move straight into the playoffs.
That would mean awards season is over. Most Valuable Player, Most Improved Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, these are all regular-season awards. Similarly, postseason play does not factor into All-NBA, All-Defense or All-Rookie selections.
Acting on the presumption that at least the remainder of the regular season is a long shot to happen, our CBS Sports staff tallied our votes for the three All-NBA teams, as well as two All-Defense and All-Rookie teams based on what we’ve seen to this point in the season. For our overall NBA award picks, click here. Also, James Herbert also has you covered with his superlative award picks.
For All-NBA, five points were awarded for a first-team vote, three points for a second-team vote and one point for a third-team vote. For All-Defense and All-Rookie, two points were awarded for each first-team vote and one point for each second-team vote. Below are the cumulative results of our voting.
The only spot on the first team that could be reasonably argued is Nikola Jokic getting the nod at center over Anthony Davis, who insists he’s a power forward. Indeed Davis has played more than 60 percent of his minutes at the four spot, per Cleaning the Glass, and our staff voted accordingly.
On the second team, Russell Westbrook edged out Chris Paul for the second guard spot, with Damian Lillard a lock for the first guard spot. Westbrook has had one of the best seasons of his career, but Paul has been fantastic as well. That vote could easily go the other way when the time comes.
For the third team, Trae Young, who’s putting up bonkers numbers in his second season, gets a guard spot over Bradley Beal, Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Lowry and Ben Simmons, who all have a case. The third-team forwards are interesting. Butler and Tatum are tough to dispute, but quietly Khris Middleton is having a career season and Bam Adebayo is listed as a forward in Miami’s starting lineup. Adebayo was considered for the third-team center spot, but Gobert won out.
Utah’s defense has not been nearly as dominant as it’s been in the past, but Gobert still gets the nod over Brook Lopez, who is the fulcrum around which Milwaukee’s top-ranked, drop-based defense is based. Three notable snubs are P.J. Tucker, who is everything to Houston’s small-ball defense guarding way outside his weight class, and Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet, both of whom have been fantastic for Toronto (Just ask @outsidethenba!).
Kendrick Nunn said on Monday he believes he should be the Rookie of the Year over Ja Morant. He’s wrong. Nunn has been really good and gets the first-team nod — not bad for an undrafted rookie — along with Heat teammate Tyler Herro. Zion Williamson has been unbelievable enough in 19 games to make the first team with ease.