The All-NBA teams will finally go position-less this year. This is something I’ve been wanting for years. This conversation started to catch headlines over the past three seasons when Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid were in been top 2 in MVP voting but since they were both centers, only one could make 1st Team All-NBA.
It is also interesting because, for a while, the guard position has been deeper than the forward position, so there’s a notion that certain guards are missing the cut in favor of inferior players who happen to play less stacked positions.
In today’s NBA, positions are also hard to define. Should players be defined by their offensive role, who they guard on the defensive side of the court, or some combination? Most of all, I view the All-NBA teams as an attempt to determine the top 15 basketball players in the NBA and I think the positions were holding us back in that conversation.
I don’t think it’s important to think about how these guys would fit together on a basketball court, these teams have never played together in the form of an All-NBA team and I think with certain players such as Jokic and Embiid, it’s an insult to both of their perimeter skills and their games overall to suggest they couldn’t figure out how to play together. The good news is that we don’t have to worry about any of that anymore.
The main thing we have to remember is that there is a new 65-game minimum in place for these awards which has already eliminated Ja Morant with his suspension. And with that, let’s dive in, for the sake of fun, we will establish some drama and start with 3rd Team All-NBA.
3rd Team All-NBA
I have the Wolves over as one of my best bets of the season and winning is a driving force in awards voting. Ant-Man will be a player that many people will be keeping an eye on with the hope of a breakout season. I think he could figure in the Most Improved Player race as well. The big thing for Edwards will be scoring in a more efficient manner. His jump shot seems to get better every season which should help with that.
(PS – Expand the Charge Circle please!)
A fixture in the All-NBA discussion. Past seasons would suggest that KD might have a hard time making it to that games played minimum. He is one of the best players in the league when he plays, period. I think KD and the Suns as a whole will come out on a mission. KD’s shooting and scoring will be a heavy factor in what could be the best offense of All-Time.
Spida is fresh off making 1st-Team All-NBA last season. One of the bold predictions I have yet to share for the upcoming season is that I think the Cavs will get the #1 seed in the East. I still have questions about how they will fare in the playoffs but there is no doubt that the Cavs will be a wins machine in the regular season and I think Mitchell will get the majority of the credit.
The biggest move of the offseason wasn’t the Celtics trading for Jrue Holiday or the Suns trading for Bradley Beal, it was the Bucks adding Lillard and I expect it to carry over to the regular season. Lillard will be the closer on a team that will win many games and has the potential to enter the playoffs as the championship. His 3-point shooting range will be very hard to deal with while teams try to compact the paint for Giannis and Lopez down low.
The last spot in a guard-heavy 3rd team goes to Trae Young. I think the Hawks will surprise some and fly past their 41.5 wins total. Trae will be the main benefactor of Quin Synder and some improved spacing. His pick-and-roll game will now have some more willing shooters around him with the addition of Saddiq Bey. The Hawks should compete for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs which will elevate their best player in the All-NBA discussion.
2nd Team All-NBA
The guard trend continues. I think Booker will establish himself as the Suns’ best player over Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal. Booker already has a 1st Team All-NBA appearance under his belt and was voted the best Shooting Guard in the league in the latest GM Poll. Booker is a stud and I don’t expect that to change.
We need to get a big man in here. AD had a bit of revival last season while playing much more center. The Lakers plan to go with AD at the 5 to start the season and that will help him re-establish himself as a consensus top-10 player in the league. AD is one of the best defenders in league history to not take home a Defensive Player of The Year Award. I’m predicting he will be a big contender for that award as well.
Back to the guards, Curry will be in the All-NBA discussion if he can stay healthy. The Warriors even tend to rely on him more now in the post-KD world and with Klay and Draymond not being quite what they were. Curry is one of the best players in the league and can’t be left off this list.
Butler will be very motivated to prove he is still that guy. Many people are dismissing the Heat with the moves that the Celtics and Bucks made. I think Butler and the Heat don’t want to go through the play-in to start another Finals run. Butler has established himself as one of the best postseason players in the league and that should help with the voting process as well. You can’t tell me reputation doesn’t drive award voting.
SGA took a big jump last season. He landed on 1st-Team All-NBA and is now considered by many to be a legit top 10 player in the league. SGA and the Thunder will look to build off of a great season and hopefully make the playoffs this season. Fresh off a summer where he toyed with Team USA in a Bronze Medal game, I don’t think there is much more to doubt in his game.
1st Team All-NBA
The Mavs will need this type of season from Luka to get back to where they were in the West 2 seasons ago. After partaking in the World Cup, it seems like we will finally see a whole season of in-shape Luka. That should be scary for everyone. Few players have shown the ability to carry a team that Luka has shown in his career so far.
Now we will focus on the frontcourt. Guard might have the advantage of depth but forward and center dominate the top of the league. Tatum will be looking to make 1st-Team All-NBA for a 3rd season in a row and I think he will get there. He is one of the few players in the league capable of going off for 50 points on any night while also being a standout defender on the other end. The Celtics have the championship on their mind and they will need Tatum to lead them to the promised land.
The reigning MVP and maybe the biggest benefactor to these new rules. He no longer has to compete with the best player in the league for 1 center spot. Embiid has proven himself as a no doubt top 3 regular season player and I see no reason for that change.
The Greek Freak now has a new running mate and I think he will be uber-motivated to prove how good he is with Jokic stealing his belt as the best player in the league. Maybe the best 2-way player in the league, Giannis is maybe the hardest player to deal with on a night-to-night basis without much time to prep.
The best player in the league. Is there much else to say? I guess I probably should say more. The Nugs have always been a regular season wins machine and I think they will once again be the #1 seed in the West. Regular season success and the title of the best player in the league will get Jokic onto 1st team pretty easily. I think he might even win his 3rd MVP in 4 seasons as well.