A season removed from one of the strangest sports seasons of all time, the NBA successfully completed a condensed 72-game season in 2020-21. Several games were postponed due to the ensuing pandemic, but each team completed their season, giving us another plethora of All-Star-worthy performances from the league’s top stars.
Unfortunately, not everyone can be honored with awards at the end of the season. The All-NBA teams specifically only include 15 total players – 6 guards, 6 forwards, and 3 centers to comprise three 5-man lineups. Outlined below are the 2021 All-NBA Teams for 2020-21 as chosen by our analysts at Overtime Heroics.
2021 All-NBA Third Team
G – Damian Lillard
The Blazers guard leads our 2021 All-NBA Third Team with his 28.8 PPG to go along with 7.5 APG and 4.2 RPG. Lillard wasn’t far away from being the second player this season to join the 50-40-90 club with his 45.1%, 39.1%, and 92.8% shooting splits across 67 games played. Lillard ranked Top 3 in the league in total points (2nd), total 3-pointers made (3rd), total free throws (3rd) made, and Win Shares (3rd).
G – Kyrie Irving
Despite missing nearly 20 games this season, Irving finished the season averaging 26.9 PPG, 6.0 APG, and 4.8 RPG while helping lead Brooklyn to the 2-seed out East. Perhaps most impressively, the 28-year-old point guard was the only player this season to join the exclusive and elusive 50-40-90 club with shooting splits of 50.6%, 40.2%, and 92.2% from the field, 3-point line, and FT line respectively.
F – LeBron James
In his 18th season, James endured one of the worst injuries of his career. The 4x and reigning Finals MVP played in only 45 of the Lakers‘ 72 games this season. Nevertheless, James averaged 25.0 PPG, 7.8 APG, and 7.7 RPG during his condensed season. He also ranked 6th in Box Plus/Minus this season at 7.5 BPM.
F – Jayson Tatum
The 22-year-old forward continues to show why he’s considered one of the best young players in the league. In 64 games this season, Tatum averaged 26.4 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 4.3 APG. The Celtic forward played 35.8 MPG, good for 7th in the league, and shot upwards of 38% from behind the arc. He also finished in the Top 10 in both total points and total field goals made this season.
C – Rudy Gobert
Rudy “The Stifle Tower” Gobert showed once again why he’s considered the best defensive center in the league. While missing only one game this season, Gobert tallied a league-leading 190 total blocks, averaging roughly 2.7 BPG on the season. He paired his rim protection with 14.3 PPG and 13.5 RPG while helping to lead his Utah Jazz to the top seed in the Western Conference.
2021 All-NBA Second Team
The NBA’s assist leader this season also became the all-time leader in career triple-doubles with 184 total triple-doubles – 38 in this season alone, his second-most ever in a single season. Westbrook finished the season averaging 22.2 PPG, 11.5 RPG, and a league-leading 11.7 APG to go along with 1.4 SPG across 65 games played. This marks the fourth time in the last five seasons that Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the entire season.
G – James Harden
The newly acquired Brooklyn Nets guard didn’t hesitate to continue his run of offensive dominance. On the season, Harden averaged 24.6 PPG, 10.8 APG (2nd in the league), and 7.9 RPG. Despite playing in only 44 games this season, Harden was the key factor in keeping Brooklyn among the top contenders in the Eastern Conference through absences from Irving and Durant. Harden also finished in the Top 25 in Win Shares (24th) and Box Plus/Minus (10th).
F – Jimmy Butler
The Miami Heat may have had their fair share of struggles throughout the season, but Butler once again showed why perennially in contention for All-Star and All-NBA appearances. He averaged a well-rounded 21.5 PPG, 7.1 APG, 6.9 RPG, and a league-leading 2.1 SPG across 52 games played. He also finished in the Top 10 in free throws made (9th), Player Efficiency Rating (7th), Box Plus/Minus (6th), and Win Shares (5th).
F – Kawhi Leonard
The Clippers may have not had the success through the regular season they were hoping for, but they still finished 4th in the Western Conference, thanks in large part to superstar forward, Kawhi Leonard. The 29-year-old forward averaged 24.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.2 APG, and 1.6 SPG across 52 games this season. He also contributed 8.8 Win Shares, good for 8th in the NBA this season. Widely considered one of the best two-way players in the NBA, Leonard showed his defensive prowess yet again with his 7th best SPG average.
C – Joel Embiid
If the 2021 All-NBA teams weren’t limited to positions, Embiid would be a no-brainer for the All-NBA First Team. Unfortunately, we are limited to one center per team, and one of the few players with a better season resume than Embiid happens to be a center. Regardless, he averaged 28.5 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.8 SPG, 1.4 BPG, and 1.0 SPG across 51 games this season. The big man also shot upwards of 37% from distance and nearly 86% from the free-throw line while sporting the 3rd highest PER (30.3) in the league.
2021 All-NBA First Team
G – Stephen Curry
Curry led the NBA in scoring this season with 32.0 PPG while also contributing 5.8 APG, 5.5 RPG, and 1.2 SPG. The 32-year-old guard once again led the team in 3-pointers made with 337 made on 42.1% 3P shooting. Curry didn’t have his usual cast of All-Stars or shooters surrounding him this season, and though it took an adjustment period, he still managed to lead the Warriors to the 8th seed and plant himself firmly in the MVP race.
G – Luka Doncic
The 21-year-old point guard is already a generational talent. Doncic averaged 27.7 PPG, 8.6 APG, 8.0 RPG, and 1.0 SPG while leading his Mavericks to the 5th seed in the West. He appeared in 66 games this year and had the 3rd highest usage in the league. Doncic finished 5th in the NBA in field goals made (647), total assists (567), and total points (1830) this season.
The reigning back-to-back MVP had another stellar season in 2021. He averaged 28.1 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 1.2 BPG with shooting nearly 57% from the field. Despite hitting only 69% of his free throw attempts, Antetokounmpo made 398 free throws on the season, good for 5th in the NBA. He also finished 4th in the NBA in PER (29.2), Win Shares (10.2), and Box Plus/Minus (8.8) while holding only the 10th highest Usage Rate in the league, a testament to his overall efficiency.
F – Julius Randle
Randle is the NBA’s 2021 Most Improved Player, and for good reason. He averaged 24.1 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 6.0 APG, and 0.9 SPG while shooting upwards of 45% FG, 41% 3P, and 81% FT across 71 games played. Randle also led the NBA in MPG with 37.6 minutes per contest, though he wasn’t even in the Top 25 in Usage Rate (28th). For the first time in a decade, the Knicks are a relevant playoff team thanks in large part to the play of first-time All-Star Julius Randle.
C – Nikola Jokic
Jokic was arguably the best player in the entire league this season, and a clear favorite to win the MVP award. It should be no surprise that he rounds out our 2021 All-NBA First Team. His Nuggets finished 3rd in a loaded Western Conference and he put up video-game-like numbers all season long. The Joker averaged 26.4 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 8.3 APG, and 1.3 SPG while playing in all 72 of Denver’s games this season. He shot 56.6% from the field, 38.8% from distance, and 86.8% from the charity stripe.
Along with his outstanding traditional stats, Jokic lit up the advanced stat metrics we used in evaluating players. Despite having only the 27th highest usage rate in the league, Jokic finished 2nd in PER at 31.3, 2nd in Box Plus/Minus at 11.7, and led the entire league in Win Shares at 15.6. Jokic dominated from an efficiency standpoint as well as being healthy and available all season, landing him in the Top 12 in five of the major total stat categories – FTM (12th), steals (11th), rebounds (5th), assists (3rd), points (3rd), and FGM (1st).
Main image credit: