25 October 2020

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All-NBA Second Team Prior To COVID-19 Situation

This is the second part of this series, discussing the All-NBA Second Team. Here are the players below: 

C: Nikola Jokic – 65GP 20.2pts 10.2reb 6.9ast

Justin Tafoya / Getty Images

Jokic had an underwhelming start to the season, not performing to the level he was playing at in the previous year when he was playing at an MVP level. He led the Nuggets to the second round of the playoffs before being knocked out by Damian Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers. Jokic and Jamal Murray present one of the best duos that will continue to improve in the future with their games complimenting each other’s that gives the team a huge boost. He started to return to his All-NBA form mid-season and hasn’t looked back since. His play towards the end of the season where the league got suspended and his overall impact on the success on the Denver Nuggets team helps to make the decision to have him on the All-NBA Second Team.

PF: Pascal Siakam – 53GP 23.6pts 7.5reb 3.6ast

Ned Dishman / Getty Images

Pascal “Spicy P” Siakam has become the star that Toronto needed once Kawhi Leonard left town after helping the city win their first championship in the franchise’s 25-year existence. He picked up his game this season while making a similar jump in overall team value, similar to the one he made last season when he won the Most Improved Player award. He has been a key part of the team’s core, leading them to the 2nd seed in the East while also leading them to an improbable 3rd-best record in the league. He missed games for long stretches due to injury but always came back stronger. He gets the edge because of his defense and team success as he is a top defender on the team as well. He continues to improve with lots of room for growth and needs to bring a little more consistency to his game in order to become a better player. 

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SF: Kawhi Leonard – 51GP 26.9pts 7.3reb 5.0ast

Adam Pantozzi / Getty Images

Kawhi Leonard improved on his magical one-season stint with the Toronto Raptors where he led them to a championship and won Finals MVP. He has improved statistically in almost every category while playing for the Los Angeles Clippers. Kawhi has had to face his fair share of criticism over his load management tactics which have him sit out games so he can rest his body in order to be 100% healthy when his team reaches the playoffs. He was the better superstar this year than Paul George who faced a lot of injuries that lead him to have a drop-off in his game. Kawhi has lifted the Clippers to another height, giving hope to fans who have always been cast under the shadow of the LA Lakers. Kawhi Leonard deservedly earns a spot on the All-NBA Second Team. 

SG: James Harden – 61GP 34.4pts 6.4reb 7.4ast

Bob Levey / Getty Images

The scoring leader of the NBA the past 3 seasons, James Harden does not have much left to prove to what he is able to do in the regular season. “The Beard” was scoring at a 40ppg pace at the start of the season where he was practically a lock to take the MVP honors. He slowed down as the season went on, still keeping up an incredibly high scoring rate. Playing alongside Russell Westbrook, Harden is playing some of the best basketball of his career leading the Rockets to the post-season for the 8th straight season before the suspension of the league. It was a tough decision to drop him to the second team as Luka Doncic was taking the league by force, averaging nearly a triple-double. Harden would be disappointed to drop to the second team and should continue to try and improve his legacy by showing up and playing like he normally does, in the playoffs once the season resumes.

PG: Russell Westbrook – 53GP 27.5pts 8.0reb 7.0ast

David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Russell Westbrook had been on a tear since the start of the new year. It took him a bit of time adjusting to a new team and new teammates but it had finally seemed like he had found his rhythm in Houston and started to dominate every game, arguably becoming the most valuable player on the team, over James Harden, with the way he was taking over. Russ used Mike D’Antoni’s new small-ball system to his advantage, using the open lane down the middle to flex his physical prowess and absolutely terrorizing players in the paint. He may not be putting up a triple-double every game, but that was expected as he was joining forces with one of the best scorers in the league. Westbrook would’ve been on the First Team if he had been playing at this level all season. An All-NBA Second Team is just another achievement that he adds to his long list of individual accolades.

In summary, this list below would be the 2020 All-NBA Second Team prior to the NBA being suspended because of the coronavirus or COVID-19:

PG: Russell Westbrook –   Houston Rockets

SG: James Harden –   Houston Rockets

SF: Kawhi Leonard –   Los Angeles Clippers

PF: Pascal Siakam –    Toronto Raptors

C:   Nikola Jokic –   Denver Nuggets

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