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Lakers’ LeBron James receives 19th All-NBA honor with third-team spot

LeBron James keeps raising the bar.

The Lakers forward was named to the 2022-23 All-NBA third team on Wednesday, the 19th consecutive All-NBA honor of his career, extending the record for all-time most selections in league history.

James is a 13-time first-team, three-time second-team and now three-time third-team pick. Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were all 15-time selections, tied for the second-most in NBA history.

James averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists and shot 50% from the field in 55 games during the regular season, his record 19th consecutive season averaging at least 25 points. In his 20th season, James had 18 double-doubles and two triple-doubles and was twice named Western Conference Player of the Week.

James became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer on Feb. 7 against Oklahoma City and extended his league-record double-digit scoring streak to 1,151 games. James scored at least 20 points in 48 games this season, including 25 games with at least 30 points and five of at least 40. The 38-year-old moved into fourth place on the NBA’s career assists list (10,420), ninth place on the league’s all-time steals chart (2,186) and became the all-time leader in 20-point games (1,179). James is the only player in NBA history to be in the top five all-time in both points and assists.

Lakers big man Anthony Davis did not earn All-NBA honors after what was arguably the best season of his career. Davis averaged 25.9 points on 56.3% shooting while adding 12.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots per game in the regular season, though he was limited to 56 games because of a right foot stress injury.

Davis’ shooting percentage and rebounding average were career-high marks, and he also improved his free-throw accuracy from 71.3% last season to 78.4% this season.

Going into Game 5 of their second-round series against the Golden State Warriors, he has averaged 14 rebounds and 3.7 blocked shots per game in the playoffs (both lead the NBA) while shooting 88.7% at the free-throw line.

The All-NBA Teams are made by a panel of 100 reporters and broadcasters who cover the NBA. They vote for players by position with points awarded on a 5-3-1 basis. Voters select two guards, two forwards and one center for each team, choosing players at the position they play regularly. Players who received votes at multiple positions were slotted at the position where they received the most votes.

The All-NBA selections are never without controversy and quirks, and this year is no different.

Denver’s Nikola Jokic now knows how Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid felt during two previous NBA award seasons. Second in the MVP race – but only second-team All-NBA.

Embiid – the newly crowned MVP – headlined the All-NBA squads as the first-team center, while Jokic was the second-team pick at that position. It was a reversal of the results from 2021 and 2022, when Jokic was MVP over Embiid, who then had to settle for the second-team All-NBA center spot.

And this should be the final time such a quirk happens. Starting next year, the All-NBA team will no longer be broken down by position – meaning the presumed second-best player in the NBA one season, such as Embiid in 2021 and 2022 and Jokic now, will not have to be relegated to second-team anything.

Joining Embiid on the first team were Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo at forward, and Dallas’ Luka Doncic and Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at guard.

On the second team along with Jokic were Miami’s Jimmy Butler and Boston’s Jaylen Brown at forward, and Golden State’s Steph Curry and Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell at guard.

Joining James on the third team were Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis, New York Knicks forward Julius Randle and Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox and Portland’s Damian Lillard at the guard spots.

Omitted this year after making it last year: first-teamer Devin Booker (Phoenix); second-teamers Ja Morant (Memphis), Kevin Durant (Phoenix) and DeMar DeRozan (Chicago); and third-teamers Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota), Chris Paul (Phoenix), Trae Young (Atlanta) and Pascal Siakam (Toronto).

Durant was left out for the third time in four years, which is a reflection of how often injuries have kept him off the court. The 13-time All-Star clearly had the production to qualify (29.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 5.0 apg, 56% from the field), but he was limited to 47 games with the Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns.

No matter how well a player performs, voters have trouble picking those who miss nearly half the season.

With so many guard candidates, Morant’s nine-game absence toward the end of the regular season might have cost him a spot. He was suspended by the league for eight games and spent time in a counseling program after he brandished a firearm in a club in a video posted to social media.

Antetokounmpo was the only unanimous selection this season as a first-teamer. Tatum got 92 first-team votes, Embiid got 87, Gilgeous-Alexander got 63 and Doncic got 60.

Gilgeous-Alexander, Mitchell, Brown, Sabonis and Fox all made All-NBA for the first time. Embiid was first team for the first time, while Butler made the second team for the first time after four appearances on the third team.

The league has utilized the current format of picking three All-NBA teams, by position – two guards, two forwards, one center on each – since 1989. From 1956 through 1988, there were two teams picked by position; from 1947 through 1955 there were two teams picked but with no regard for position.

More often than not, the system works without a glitch. The top finalists for MVP typically have found their way onto the All-NBA first team.

But there have been notable exceptions – often involving centers, who are vying for just the one All-NBA first-team spot instead of the two that have been available to guards and forwards.

Embiid was second in the MVP race but only second-team All-NBA in the most recent two seasons. Other examples:

• 1994-95, MVP David Robinson got the first-team nod and runner-up Shaquille O’Neal wound up as the second-team center pick.

• 1993-94, Hakeem Olajuwon won MVP and was first-team at center, while Robinson was No. 2 in the MVP race and on the second team.

• 1976-77, Bill Walton was No. 2 in the MVP race, then second-team All-NBA behind MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

• 1975-76, Bob McAdoo was second in the MVP race and didn’t even make All-NBA, with the center spots that season going to Abdul-Jabbar (MVP) and third-place finisher Dave Cowens.

There have also been some split votes, albeit none under the current voting methods, where the MVP somehow didn’t make the All-NBA first team. It happened to Bill Russell in 1958, 1961 and 1962, and then to Cowens in 1973.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Voting results for the 2022-23 Kia All-NBA Team

Complete voting results available here: https://t.co/N4DxL3FiGh pic.twitter.com/A4DzaEb8Co

— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 10, 2023

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