The NBA’s regular season is over, and now the chatter about end-of-season awards is set to kick off. ESPN released their slate of players who would crack the All-NBA, All-Defensive and All-Rookies teams.
There were three Wildcats that were named to rosters by Zach Lowe.
First, we have Immanuel Quickley.
A fringe first-round pick that was taken early by many analysts, Quickley balled out for the Knicks second unit and made history with his elite free-throw shooting. Quickley was named to the All-Rookie First Team.
“Quickley quieted some over the past month. but he shot 39% from 3 and played crucial reserve minutes. His ultra-long 3s and running floater are two of the defining shots of this rookie class,” Lowe wrote.
Quickley ended the season averaging 11.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. He also made 1.8 triples per game. The New York Knicks shocked the world and finished as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Along with Quickley, favorite for Most Improved Player, Julius Randle, managed to make an All-NBA team. He was nominated to the third team, but Lowe knows he made a mistake not putting him higher.
“I almost had Randle here, but deferred in the end to James’ obvious and historic greatness. We can probably trust Randle’s improved jumper will sustain into next season; we know we can trust James. I ordered things this way knowing I would put Randle on the third team; he was not at risk of missing my ballot. I suspect some voters will slot him into that same pesky first-team forward spot I gave Doncic, and that’s reasonable too. One way or another, Randle should make All-NBA,” Lowe wrote on Randle.
Randle has been incredibly impressive. The 6-8 former Wildcat averaged 24.1 points per game and hit a career-high 2.3 triples per game, launching that per-game average up from 1.0 last season. He shot over 40 percent from deep.
On top of that, Randle ended with a double-double average, collecting 10.6 boards per game. Randle and Nikola Jokic were the only players in the NBA to average over 24 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists.
Lastly, we have Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo.
Adebayo was placed on the All-Defensive Second Team.
Adebayo does have some claim to Defensive Player of the Year, but it seems more than likely Rudy Gobert’s award to lose. In just his fourth season, Adebayo averaged 18.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.0 blocks.
His length and ability to switch onto guards is a problem for opponents. The numbers may not jump off the page, but the impact is there.