NBA: Early Season All-NBA First, Second and Third Teams
We are 25 percent of the way through this shortened 2011-2012 NBA season and some trends are already arising. The Early Season All-NBA Teams features a few of the usual suspects but also some nice surprises.
In a 66-game season, getting off to a fast start is imperative, which means struggling stars may lose their perennial spot on the All-NBA Teams to these sleepers.
Warning: There is a certain team that plays in Staples Center that isn't represented on these teams. Proceed with caution.
Without further ado, here are the All-NBA First, Second and Third Teams...
Early Season All-NBA Third Team
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
G: Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks
G: James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder
F: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
F: Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
C: Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
Kicking off the All-NBA Teams is Jennings, the young point guard from the Bucks. A sharp shooter with great passing ability, Jennings has vastly improved his field goal percentage, the primary reason he has made this the Third Team.
Harden is no longer a nice player off the bench. He is a bona fide NBA shooting guard and would be starting for virtually any other team, but Oklahoma City doesn't need his scoring prowess with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook already on the floor.
Aldridge has taken the reigns of Portland since Brandon Roy's retirement and has excelled. The Gasol brothers make this team together after having terrific starts to the season—with Marc being the beneficiary of Zach Randolph's injury.
Early Season All-NBA Second Team
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
G: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
G: Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks
F: Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets
F: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
C: Andrew Bynum, Los Angeles Lakers
Even though he has already missed five games this year, Rose has been his usual stellar self. While his scoring is down a full six points from last year, the Bulls are five games better this year than at the same point last year, so it's working.
Missing five games out of the Bulls' 20 thus far has relegated Rose to Second Team duties. He accepts.
Johnson and Gallinari are exciting new faces to the All-NBA Second Team. Johnson made the Third Team two years ago and finds himself on this team because he has found a beautiful three-point stroke.
Gallinari has yet to make any of the three teams. The young forward from Italy is having an incredible start to the season and will finish as one of the game's best forwards.
Love and Bynum are two of the best three rebounders in the league. They're a joy to watch and will be mainstays on these lists throughout their careers.
Early Season All-NBA First Team
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
G: Kyle Lowry, Houston Rockets
G: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
F: LeBron James, Miami Heat
F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
C: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
The coveted First Team is completely the same as the 2010-2011 Team except for reigning MVP Derrick Rose was replaced by the upstart Lowry.
With more assists, significantly more rebounds, twice as many steals and more threes per game than Rose, Lowry deserves his (temporary) spot on the First Team.
Bryant, James and Durant are no-brainers. Howard has been his dominant self, but if he falters down the stretch, Andrew Bynum is ready to pounce on his center position.