As a fan, the All-NBA teams have always fascinated me. In theory it should give us a great idea of who the top 15 players in the league were for a given season. Due to position restrictions, it doesn’t give us exactly that but to me it should be an accurate representation of who matters in the NBA at each position.
I’ll be giving my best shot at a fake ballot if the season were to end today. This isn’t projecting forward, I’m working purely on the stats for this season so far as well as the games I’ve watched. For clarification, I think there should be no position requirement so I do my best to avoid them as much as possible, an example of this is that I was in the minority last season by putting two centers, Embiid and Jokic on my 1st-team.
The reason why most people didn’t do this is because they both exclusively play center. However, on the ballot they were both listed as both a center and a forward and as I stated earlier, I don’t care about positions, these teams are never going to play a real game so it shouldn’t matter. Let’s dive into my fake All-NBA Ballots with some reasoning for each pick.
Guard: Stephen Curry
The runaway MVP at this point, Curry is somehow on pace to have the best 3 point shooting season of his career. He is also the best player on the best team and leads the league in net-rating by a WIDE margin. He is a lock for a 1st-team guard slot.
Guard: Jimmy Butler
I went through and did my top 5 MVP to help with my 1st-team, I had Butler 5th. He is one of the best two-way players in the league and is scoring better than he ever has with 23.6 points per game on an awesome TS% of .618. It’s time to start talking about Butler as a top 10 player.
Forward: Kevin Durant
No Irving, Harden not playing at a top 10 level, plenty of injuries to role guys, and the Nets are still #1 in the East at the moment. That is a testament to KD who continues to score at an all-time level. A .650 TS% for a perimeter creator is ridiculous. Anyone saying he is the best player in the NBA right now, wouldn’t get an argument from me.
Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Another two-way monster, Antetokounmpo should be considered the co-favorite for DPOY with Draymond, and honestly has a claim to the best defensive player in the league. He has held the Bucks afloat with multiple key contributors missing games. He is carrying this team on both sides of the court.
Center: Nikola Jokic
With Embiid missing time, there isn’t anyone else to consider. Jokic might be the best offensive player in the league right now. Nobody averaging more than 25 points per game has a better TS% (image below of players averaging 25+ ranked by TS%). He is also the best passer of this group in my opinion.
Guard: Trae Young
Very quietly, Trae Young might be having the best season of his career so far. He is shooting 39.4% from 3 which is a big jump up from 34.3% from last season. The big advantage Young has over all the other high volume and efficient scoring guards, is that he is the only elite passer of the group. This makes Ice-Trae one of the best machines for good offense in the NBA.
Guard: Ja Morant
Ja might drop out of this spot soon given his recent injury, but he is the clear holder of this spot for now. Ja’s combination of athleticism and passing has made him look like a future MVP contender so far this season. He puts consistent pressure on the rim and scores there at a Giannis-like pace which is incredible for a guy his size.
Forward: DeMar DeRozan
DeRozan has been nothing short of spectacular for the Bulls. He leads the league in 4th quarter scoring and has been a total killer in crunchtime. Despite being in his early 30s, DeRozan gets better each season as he is hitting a career high in 3 point% and is willingly taking them. He is also playing the best defense of his career and has built off the passing strides he made while playing for the Spurs. Simply put, this is the best all-around season DeRozan has had in his career.
Forward: Paul George
The Clippers have a real shot to grab home court advantage in the 1st round of the playoffs and that is because of Paul George. PG essentially averages 26-8-5 while playing defense at a high level. The Clippers do have solid depth but nobody is close to being a star outside of PG on that roster. George has been labeled a second fiddler, but he continues to show he can still carry a team during Kawhi’s absence.
Center: Rudy Gobert
Gobert has taken a step back defensively this season but is still a monster on that side of the court. The Jazz have the 8th ranked defense and Gobert is pretty much the sole reason for that given the Jazz’s weak perimeter defense. Gobert’s offense might continue to hinder him in the playoffs but in the regular season, few bring more value to the court than Gobert.
Guard: James Harden
Wait… hasn’t Jame Harden been bad this season? For his standards, he has, but Harden continues to be one of the best offensive machines in the league. He isn’t playing at his usual MVP level but he has still been one of the most impactful players in the league. Harden is averaging 20-8-9 and is doing it efficiently too.
Guard: Chris Paul
I know that Devin Booker will always have the better counting stats, but to me, CP3 is the engine for the 17-3 Suns. He makes everyone better and is actually good defensively and it’s hard to find guards that are good defensively when looking at guys in consideration for All-NBA. He continues to be one of the best crunchtime players in the league. The Point God has the Suns looking prime to make another finals run.
Forward: Zach LaVine
Even though LaVine primarily plays guard, he was eligible for forward last season and I assume he will be this season. He does log a decent amount of minutes with two of Ball, Caruso, and White on the court as well. LaVine continues to be one of the most efficient scorers in the league. His shooting efficiently is really what separates him from the Mitchel, Booker, and Beal group and he has built off the Olympics defensively and might now be the best defender of that group as well. This also shows how weak the forward selection is after the top 4, LaVine has made a better case for top 15 than guys like AD, Tatum, Randle, and LeBron (miss time killed him).
Forward: Draymond Green
This might be a hot take, but given AD’s shooting struggles, I just think Draymond has been a more complete player up to this point. Draymond is playing defense at a DPOY level and is playing his best offense since the peak dynasty days. He challenges everyone to play at his level defensively and will call you out if you’re not. He is the leader for the #1 defense in the NBA.
Center: Karl-Anthony Towns
Are the T-Wolves…. good? I think so and Towns is the biggest reason why. He has been a monster on offense and is actually playing solid defense as well. Towns is one of the best 3 point shooters in the league, not just for big guys, he is one of the best 3 point shooters in the league regardless of position. He is shooting 44.6% from 3 on 6.1 attempts per game. Only Patty Mills and Joe Harris shoot a better percentage on 6 or more attempts per game. His spacing and improved defense has been vital to the T-Wolves’ success this season.