LeBron James, Kevin Durant highlight The Oklahoman's All-NBA first team

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: April 13, 2013

C Marc Gasol, Memphis: Finally being recognized for how he consistently helps teammates by lending his massive inside presence.

G Tony Allen, Memphis: Relentless effort and physical presence is why Allen has remained among the league's elite defenders.

G Avery Bradley, Boston: Loss of teammate Rajon Rondo allowed the superb defensive skills of Bradley to be put on full display.

Second Team

F Paul George, Indiana: Has quickly become one of the league's top perimeter defenders. Terrific tools at 6-foot-8 and 221 pounds.

F Serge Ibaka, Thunder: Last season's runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year is a better all-around defender than a year ago.

C Joakim Noah, Chicago: His defensive presence is the primary reason the Bulls somehow are above .500 without Derrick Rose.

G Thabo Sefolosha, Thunder: Repeatedly overlooked in the past, perhaps this is the year Sefolosha gets his deserved recognition.

G Danny Green, San Antonio: This was a toss-up between Green and teammate Tony Parker. Green chosen because he's bigger.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Marc Gasol, Memphis: This 7-foot-1, 270-pound space-eater clogs up the middle and directs the league's most physical defense.

2. LeBron James, Miami: Is there anything this guy can't do? He's capable of playing any position, both offensively and defensively.

3. Tony Allen, Memphis: My previous choice as defensive POY remains one of the toughest, strongest, meanest defenders out there.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

1. Damian Lillard, Portland: Easiest selection on the awards board. Incredibly composed point guard immediately was put in charge.

2. Anthony Davis, New Orleans: Had this preseason favorite been able to stay healthy, he could have challenged Lillard – um, maybe.

3. Bradley Beal, Washington: Last year's No. 3 overall pick made an immediately impact before he was sidelined with multiple injuries.

SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR

1. J.R. Smith, New York: As if Anthony wasn't lethal enough, Smith comes off the bench as the team's second-leading scorer (18.1).

2. Jamal Crawford, LA Clippers: His flamboyant style translates well in Los Angeles, as does averaging 16.6 points in 29.5 minutes.

3. Andre Miller, Denver: This 37-year-old still possesses some serious savvy and skill and remains the league's best ally-oop passer.

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

1. Paul George, Indiana: Selected to the first All-Star Game of his career this season thanks to averaging career highs in several categories.

2. Greivis Vasquez, New Orleans: Averaging double-digits points (13.9) and nearly double-digit assists (9.1) for the first time in his career.

3. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando: A 7-foot, 250-pounder who has doubled last year's averages in many categories – offensively and defensively.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State: Surgery to his right ankle repaired torn ligaments last season and he's been tearing up the league ever since.

2. Brook Lopez, Brooklyn: Selected to his first All-Star team this season after missing all but five games last year due to a broken right foot.

3. Wilson Chandler, Denver: Goes to China last season, comes back, injures hip, has surgery, now an explosive reserve on an explosive team.

COACH OF THE YEAR

1. George Karl, Denver: He survived a brutal early season schedule, a run of injuries to several key players, and all this after Anthony left.

2. Mike Woodson, New York: Under the extreme scrutiny of NYC, overcame multiple injuries to key players and got hot at the right time.

3. Mark Jackson, Golden State: No Andrew Bogut for 50 games and no Brandon Rush, but Jackson has quickly poured a solid foundation.

EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

1. Daryl Morey, Houston: Blew up his roster with a slew of transactions that included James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik and Carlos Delfino.

2. Pat Riley, Miami: Champs got even better by acquiring the greatest 3-point shooter in NBA history and a key reserve in Chris Andersen.

3. Masai Ujiri, Denver: Made sure the Nuggets didn't disintegrate after losing Anthony by assembling an impressive mix of non-superstars.



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