Statements are always made about how Player X didn’t make the 1st team but never who they would take out in their place.
No argument could be made about the All-NBA 1st team this season.
The only change that could be made to the format is to simply make it Guards and Forwards (with Centres falling under the Forward category).
Nikola Jokić was an easy selection at “Centre” for the 1st Team given he was league MVP, but his spot on the team came at the expense of someone who was 2nd in MVP voting, Joel Embiid.
Embiid couldn’t make the 1st team due to the rules around having only 1 centre on the team, when realistically,Jokić could even be listed as a Point Forward.
Positionless basketball is a thing now, so there’s no reason for “positions” to be needed when naming these teams.
Jokić was joined in the front court with Giannis and Jayson Tatum.
Giannis had a brilliant regular season and was 3rd in MVP voting (almost 400 votes ahead of 4th placed Devin Booker).
Tatum was a big reason for the Celtics' late rise in the season to finish with the 2 seed.
He went on to average close to 27 PPG, 8 RPG and just under 4.5 APG.
Some noise was made about the back court, with Devin Booker and Luka Doncic rounding out the All-NBA First Team.
There’s no real argument.
Booker was the best player on the best team in the regular season, and taking Luka out of the Dallas team makes them an instant lottery team.
Both had stellar regular seasons!
Ja Morant had himself a year, and plenty would argue he deserved his spot in the First Team.
Had Memphis not had such a good record without him in the regular season, he may have himself an argument.
Either way, the 2nd Team back court of Morant and Curry is a highlight!
Curry was on pace for an MVP season before he went into his slump and eventually got injured towards the back end of the season.
He’s joined by DeMar DeRozan, who was brilliant in making the Bulls relevant again, Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid.
Durant had Brooklyn flying before he too was injured in the middle of the season.
In the end it was clear without Durant, Brooklyn were a straight up no show.
There’s one name a lot of people had in his place though, and he makes an appearance in the 3rd team.
LeBron James, in his 19th season, went on to average over 30 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 6.2 APG.
LeBron almost won the scoring title this season, but in a year in which his Lakers failed miserably and missed the playoffs, a 3rd team slot is about as good as you could imagine for him.
He’s joined by Trae Young, Chris Paul, Pascal Siakam and Karl-Anthony Towns.
This is where things get very interesting, as those on the fringe missing selection cost themselves a little pay day.
The one name that sticks out most is Jimmy Butler.
The best player on the best team in the Eastern Conference isn’t listed as a Top 15 player in the league!
The stats don’t jump out at you (21.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 5.5 APG).
But if all we looked at were stats, then LeBronJames goes very close to winning the MVP award.
Winning needs to be rewarded, and he should earn a place fairly comfortably over the likes of LeBron, Siakam and Trae in that 3rd team.
The All-NBA Snub team (Positionless Basketball):
Darius Garland and Marcus Smart at Guard.
Garland was phenomenal leading the Cavs to a play-in berth. If not for a late season collapse, a fairy tale playoff berth was on the cards!
Marcus Smart is the Defensive Player of the year and earns his spot on the Snub team.
The point has been made that Butler should already have a spot on the All-NBA team.
He anchors the front line here, with Jaylen Brown joining him at forward in our small ball line up along with Rudy Gobert as the rim protector.
Jaylen Brown, like his team mate Jayson Tatum, had a big finish to the season averaging just over 23.5 PPG and 6 RPG.
Gobert once again put up solid numbers of 15.6 PPG and 14.7 RPG, along with over 2 blocks per game.
The shots Gobert changed don’t go down on a stat sheet, so there’s further proof to stats not being the only measuring stick when picking these teams.
Not to discredit the Regular season, but only 3 players remain of the 15 players selected (Doncic, Tatum and Curry).
It would be great to see the NBA have these teams for Regular Season purposes, as well as having them in the playoffs.
In Butler’s case, he’s arguably been the best player in the Playoffs, but no recognition to show for it (a potential title may fix that).