MVP Curry, LeBron pace All-NBA First Team lineup
New York: NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James led selections named Thursday for the All-NBA First Team announced by the league.
Curry, who sparked the Warriors to last year’s NBA crown and the best record in league history this season at 73-9, was a unanimous pick with all 129 voters in a media panel that decided the lineup.
James, trying to reach the NBA Finals for the sixth season in a row, was selected to the All-NBA First Team for the 10th time, matching the second-most appearances on the list in league history, with 125 votes.
Three other players were chosen for the top-five for the first time — Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard and Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.
The All-NBA Second Team included forwards Kevin Durant of the Thunder and Draymond Green of the Warriors, center DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings and guards Chris Paul of the Clippers and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.
James was the only Eastern Conference player picked among the top 10 with the Second Team entirely comprised of Western Conference talent.
The All-NBA Third Team featured Indiana forward Paul George, Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge, Detroit center Andre Drummond and guards Klay Thompson of Golden State and Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors.
Curry won the MVP award for the second season in a row, joining Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Steve Nash as the only guards to claim MVPs in consecutive years.
Curry led the NBA with 30.1 points and 2.14 steals a game, was the league’s most accurate free throw shooter by sinking 90.8 percent from the line and set an NBA record by making 402 3-point shots.
He also had 6.7 assists and a career-high 5.4 rebounds a game while shooting a career-best 50.4 percent from the field, the NBA’s most accurate shooter among guards. His 45.4 percent shooting percentage from 3-point range ranked second in the NBA.
James joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Bob Cousy, Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Bob Pettit and Jerry West as a 10-time First Team choice, one shy of the record shared by Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone.
This season, James ranked fifth in the NBA with 25.3 points a game, cracking the 25-point average for an NBA record 12th season in a row. James added 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists a game and connected on 52 percent of his shots from the floor as Cleveland led the Eastern Conference with a 57-25 mark.
Westbrook averaged 23.5 points and career highs of 10.4 assists (second in the NBA) and 7.8 rebounds, joining Oscar Robertson as the only players in league history to average at least 23 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for a season.
Westbrook’s 18 “triple doubles” — double-digit figures in three statistical categories for a game — matched the most in the NBA since Magic Johnson had 18 in the 1981-82 campaign. His seven “triple doubles” in March was the most since Michael Jordan had that many in April of 1989.