Trending Topics: Who are your All-NBA selections? – NBA.com

Giannis Antetokounmpo was a consensus All-NBA 1st team pick by our writers, while Joel Embiid nearly was as well.


Who are your picks to make the All-NBA 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams?


Steve Aschburner

Whenever possible, I try to base my All-NBA 1st team picks on my Kia MVP ballot. Both go five spots deep and, more often than you’d think, the positions conveniently line up. This year, however, is not one of those years. Two of the top three MVP candidates are centers and exclusively play that position. So anyone trying to cram Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic onto the 1st team, even if permitted by the NBA, is toying with the system. The league should approach this like All-Star voting: 3 frontcourt and 2 backcourt. That’s why my MVP pick, Embiid, gets 1st team and Jokic goes onto the 2nd team. (Jayson Tatum slides up to a forward spot.)

Also, I have this cutoff on appearances. If a player doesn’t participate in at least 58 games in an 82-game regular season — that’s 70% — then he’s not going to get a vote from me for any of the major awards and he’s not going to merit 1st team consideration. The NBA uses that cutoff for statistical champions, so why wouldn’t it apply to awards and honors? That’s one reason why guys such as Ja Morant (57) and Kevin Durant (55) are where they are on my list.

Joel Embiid became the first center since Shaquille O’Neal to win the scoring title.

The rest of it is pretty straightforward. Embiid, Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo all were valid MVP possibilities — whoever wins is the right choice and the other two will have gotten robbed. Booker was the best player on the NBA’s best team. And Doncic was a pocket-sized Jokic, elevating a limited roster with his exploits.

Random thoughts on other picks: Another 10-15 games with similar production might have boosted Morant, though Memphis did go 20-5 without him. … DeMar DeRozan’s team faded but his 13th season, at age 32, changed the culture in Chicago. … LeBron James’ individual results were remarkable yet irrelevant. For instance, he scored 30+ points 34 times; the Lakers went 16-18. … It’s Karl-Anthony Towns over Rudy Gobert as 3rd team center for his offense and getting Minnesota into the playoffs again. … Only once before Trae Young did it this season has anyone led the NBA in total points and total assists — Nate “Tiny” Archibald in 1972-73. But Atlanta’s Play-In status a year removed from an East finals run kept him on 3rd team.

All-NBA 1st team
G: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
G: Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
F: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
C: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

All-NBA 2nd team
G:
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
F: DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
F: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
C: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

All-NBA 3rd team
G:
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns
G: Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
F: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
F: Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
C: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves


Mark Medina

I chose Joel Embiid over Nikola Jokic at center on the All-NBA 1st team because of his league-leading mark in points per game (30.6) and his elevated defense. Though Jokic has produced Kia MVP-type performances without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., Embiid deserves credit for keeping the Sixers within contention without Ben Simmons for nearly half a season and with James Harden still trying to find his way.

As for my other 1st team selections, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Ja Morant and Devin Booker all have cemented themselves as the best players on their team while elevating those around them. Antetokounmpo has already done that the last few years. Doncic and Morant have made progress with trusting their teammates. Booker has supplanted Paul as the Suns’ best player while knocking down the pre-conceived narrative that he just looks to score.

With my 2nd team choices, all of those candidates would likely have gotten first-team votes if not for various circumstances. Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant dealt with injuries for various parts of the season. Jayson Tatum oversaw an inconsistent Celtics team that did not blossom until recently. And Jokic would have landed on the 1st team if I could’ve chosen him as a forward. 

Take a look at some tough buckets from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum this season.

The 3rd team consisted of players that produced on a consistent level but did not translate into their team becoming one of the NBA’s best. In other years, it would be unthinkable to leave LeBron James off the 1st team. So even if James deserved recognition for ranking second in scoring (30.3), he missed too many games (26) while the Lakers could not even make the Play-In Tournament. DeRozan, Siakam, Towns and Young all played winning basketball while keeping their team in playoff contention as either a low seed or a Play-In candidate.

All-NBA 1st team:
G: Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
G: Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
F: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
C: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

All-NBA 2nd team
G:
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns
G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
F: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
F: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
C: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

All-NBA 3rd team
G:
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
G: DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls
F: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
F: Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
C: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves


Shaun Powell

Let’s get straight to the only difficult decision: Nikola Jokic or Joel Embiid for All-NBA 1st team center? And do they both deserve 1st team honors by slyly designating one of them at forward? The answer to the second question is an emphatic “no.” You put them at center because — and this might come as a surprise — they both play center. Just like Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell played center, so you had to choose one. And Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon. And so on. In this case, “The Joker” gets the nod — and again, it was practically a coin toss for this honor, as well as for MVP; it’s that close. Given the seasons they just had, there’s really no right or wrong answer or choice.

As Kia MVP ballots begin to flow in, voters Matt Winer and Greg Anthony explain who they selected and why.

As for the other selections: Morant missed too many games (25) to justify a 1st team pick, and besides, Luka Doncic and Devin Booker had better years anyway. Likewise for Kevin Durant, which is why Jayson Tatum is slightly more deserving at 1st team forward. DeMar DeRozan over LeBron James for 2nd team honors might make some folks do a double-take, but DeRozan, who averaged just three points less than LeBron (and played 20 more games), was a difference-maker for the playoff-bound Bulls. Trae Young’s Atlanta Hawks failed to finish outside the Play-In Tournament group, but that’s not his fault; he led the league in total points and assists, a historic effort, and should be recognized for that. Finally, you have to reward how Pascal Siakam changed all opinions about this performance arc — he was coming off two sub-par seasons — and rebounded terrifically for Toronto.

All-NBA 1st team
G: Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
G: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
F: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
C: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

All-NBA 2nd team
G:
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
F: DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls
F: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
C: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

All-NBA 3rd team
G:
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns
G: Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
F: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
F: Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
C: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves


John Schuhmann

Unfortunately, a lot of guys — Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Ja Morant, Chris Paul — got dinged for games missed. Of course, that probably made sorting through this a little easier. I probably had Young higher than most, but I put him on the All-NBA 2nd team because he carried the league’s second-ranked offense, ranking fourth in usage rate and in the top five in both scoring and assists. The toughest omissions were probably Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Jrue Holiday, but there just wasn’t any reason to remove any of the guards or centers listed below (and I’m not pretending that either Embiid or Jokic is a forward).

All-NBA 1st team
G: Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
G: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
F: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
C: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

All-NBA 2nd team
G:
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
G: Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
F: DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
F: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
C: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

All-NBA 3rd team
G:
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
G: Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns
F: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
F: Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
C: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves


Michael C. Wright

Injuries and missed time scuffed the shine off some downright spectacular performances this season, namely from players such as Stephen Curry, and Luka Doncic, who ended up on the All-NBA 2nd team, as well as LeBron James, and Kevin Durant, who finished All-NBA 3rd team on my ballot.

You’ll also quickly notice that Ja Morant received the 1st team nod at guard over Doncic, despite the former playing in just 57 out of 82 games. In this case, it was difficult to get over Doncic’s slow start to the season that came largely as the result of him entering 2021-22 out of shape. Doncic basically spent the first two months working himself back into proper conditioning. Isn’t that something a player is supposed to do in the offseason? Preparation for an NBA season is a voluntary action while suffering injuries aren’t. Hence the choice of Morant, who led Memphis to second in the West, over Doncic on the 1st team.

Choosing who should make the All-NBA 1st team is no easy task this season.

Despite incredible 2021-22 campaigns from James and Durant, the superstars sat out of a combined 53 games. Meanwhile, the players ahead of them put together career years, especially the 32-year-old DeRozan, who finished with his highest scoring average in 13 seasons. Breaking with old-school tradition, Kia MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic made my team as a forward, while Embiid took the 1st team spot at center. There’s no way I was leaving two players I believe to be the top contenders for the Kia MVP award off the 1st team. Both were eligible to receive votes as forwards. Jokic is probably more capable of actually playing the position.

All-NBA 1st team
G: Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
G: Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
F: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
C: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

All-NBA 2nd team
G:
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
F: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
F: DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
C: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

All-NBA 3rd team
G:
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns
G: Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
F: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
F: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
C: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz




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