Kawhi Leonard didn’t deserve All-NBA Second Team nod over LeBron James….

On Wednesday, the NBA unveiled its All-NBA teams for this season. LeBron James was selected for the All-NBA Third Team alongside Devin Booker, Stephen Curry, Tyrese Haliburton, and Domantas Sabonis.

At first glance, this appears to be a significant achievement and a well-deserved recognition by the voters. This marks the 20th time James has been named to an All-NBA team, and at 39 years and four months old, he is now the oldest player to receive this honor.

However, a deeper examination might suggest a potential oversight.

The 2023-24 All-NBA Second Team includes James’ Los Angeles Lakers teammate Anthony Davis, as well as Jalen Brunson, Kevin Durant, Anthony Edwards, and Kawhi Leonard.

Indeed, Kawhi Leonard was placed on a higher All-NBA team than LeBron James, which seems questionable.


Admittedly, Leonard remains an exceptional player and, although he is not at the peak of his career, he is still a superior defender compared to James. Additionally, Leonard’s free throw shooting was impressive at 88.5%, while James made 75.0% of his free throws.


However, those were the only areas in which Leonard outperformed James this season.

James averaged more points per game (25.7) than Leonard (23.7) did, and his shooting percentage of 54.0% was higher than Leonard’s mark of 52.5%. Leonard did shoot 41.7% from 3-point range compared to 41.0% for James, but that is a negligible difference.

James also averaged 1.2 more rebounds per contest than Leonard, and there was one category in particular where he was much better than the Los Angeles Clippers forward. He dealt out 8.3 assists a game, his highest output in that department since the 2019-20 season, while Leonard was at just 3.6 dimes per game.

In fact, Leonard’s career-high in that category (5.2 per game in the 202-21 season) is still lower than James’ career-low (5.9 a game as a rookie).

Then there is the health factor. Both players have been injury-prone in recent years, and James appeared in 71 games this regular season compared to 68 for Leonard. But in the playoffs, Leonard missed four of the six games of the Clippers’ first-round series versus the Dallas Mavericks due to knee inflammation after sitting out the last eight regular season games with the same ailment.

In the two postseason games he did appear in, he mustered a total of just 24 points. It was the fourth straight postseason in which he had missed at least three games.

James, on the other hand, played in all five contests in the first-round series between the Lakers and Denver Nuggets. There, he continued his excellent play by putting up 27.8 points on 56.6% overall shooting and 38.5% from 3-point range, 8.8 assists and 6.8 rebounds a game.

Even after all these years and 17 playoff appearances, he has never missed a single playoff game.

The head-to-head stats this year are also titled toward James. He registered 31.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 7.3 dimes a game while shooting 62.7% from the field and 52.2% from downtown (he missed one of the four contests between the Lakers and Clippers this season). Leonard, meanwhile, was at 26.0 points, 8.0 boards and 5.8 assists, and he made 53.8% of his shot attempts and 40.0% of his 3-point tries.

The Lakers won their season series versus the Clippers three games to one, and their lone loss came when James sat out the Jan. 23 game between the two squads.

Despite all that working in James’ favor, in the balloting for the All-NBA teams, he ended up getting 164 points to Leonard’s 242 points.

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