BOSTON -- While there are still games left to be played that will decide the postseason fate of some NBA teams, decisions on who will garner some regular-season hardware are pretty much set.
Although the Western Conference is still widely considered better than the East, actual team records shows a clear shift in power at the top with two of the top three records in the league belonging to teams in the East (Milwaukee and Toronto).
But with any team’s success, ultimately it comes down to the star players getting it done.
And with that, here’s a look at my All-NBA First, Second and Third teams.
ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee: The Greek Freak was all that and then some, all season. Already a star before the season, Antetokounmpo took his game to another level and should be on the short list for league MVP.
Paul George, Oklahoma City: The injury a couple years ago that many thought might derail his career, has only driven him to be an even better, more complete player in the NBA this season.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia: A dominant inside force who can occasionally make you pay with his perimeter game, Embiid racked up 59 double-doubles this season including a pair of triple-doubles.
Stephen Curry, Golden State: The former two-time league MVP had one of his most efficient seasons offensively, averaging 27.6 points per game while shooting 47.2 percent from the field and 43.7 percent from 3-point range.
James Harden, Houston: The reigning league MVP is once again deeply entrenched in the conversation, and will finish as the league’s top scorer with a 36.1 points per game average.
ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM
Kawhi Leonard, Toronto: Still the best two-way player in the NBA, Leonard ranked seventh in both scoring (26.7 points) and steals (1.78) this season.
Kevin Durant, Golden State: You know you’re one of the game’s best when you can drop 26.1 points per game and it seems like a ho-hum, not-bad kind of season.
Nikola Jokic, Denver: The Nuggets’ ascension was fueled in large part by Jokic’s breakout season in which he tallied a dozen triple-doubles.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City: The emergence of Paul George overshadowed another historical season for Westbrook who will once again average a triple-double on the season.
Kyrie Irving, Boston: The Celtics not having the kind of regular season success many anticipated took a little shine off of Irving’s season. But him being a more efficient scorer while continuing to break defenders down with his ball handling and playing better defense, are factors that’ll keep Irving among the game’s elite.
ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers weren’t very good, but that didn’t keep James from having another all-NBA caliber season in which he averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists.
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia: He can’t (or won’t) shoot 3’s or long-range jumpers, but that still hasn’t kept Simmons from being one of the bright, young stars of the NBA.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota: One of just seven players averaging at least 20 points (24.4 points) and 10 rebounds per game (12.4), Towns also shot an impressive 40 percent from 3-point range.
Damian Lillard, Portland: Only James Harden and Stephen Curry had a higher scoring average than Lillard’s 25.9 points per game average, among NBA point guards this season.
Donovan Mitchell, Utah: The second-year guard made tremendous strides individually and team-wide in leading the Jazz to the second-best record in the NBA after the All-Star break.
Honorable Mentions: Kemba Walker, Charlotte; Anthony Davis, New Orleans; Devin Booker, Phoenix; Bradley Beal, Washington; Victor Oladipo, Indiana.
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