Picking This Year’s All-NBA Teams

Apr 22, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) guards Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) in the first half of game two in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Some of the major NBA awards have been named this week. J.R. Smith took home 6th Man Of The Year honors, while the Grizzlies’ own Marc Gasol was named Defensive Player Of The Year. MVP won’t be for a bit yet, but we all know it’s going to be LeBron, so there’s not a great deal of intrigue there.

With that in mind, let’s try to pick this year’s All-NBA teams. There’s a few obvious picks here, but some spots will be very difficult to decide, as many players have excelled this year. So, let’s sort through the traditional numbers, the advanced stats, and what we were able to witness with our very eyes, and see if we can’t determine who is worthy of All-NBA honors this year.

1st Team

G- Chris Paul (Clippers)

G- Kobe Bryant (Lakers)

F- LeBron James (Heat)

F- Kevin Durant (Thunder)

C- Marc Gasol (Grizzlies)

The first four picks here are basically no-brainers. Only a Grizz fan with a score to settle would be against CP3, while Kobe carried a stunningly weak Lakers team. LeBron is the best player on the planet, and KD is the second best. So, only Marc Gasol is a tricky pick here. I’m sure I’ll be accused of homerism, but the fact is, he was the most complete center in the league. An excellent defender – the best in the league, in fact – and  also multi-dimensional on offense, which is more than we could say about Tyson Chandler (Joakim Noah does a bit more, but still nowhere near as much as Marc). Dwight had good numbers this year, and he wasn’t as bad as many claimed, but his declining defense gives the nod to Marc in my book.

 

2nd Team

G- Russell Westbrook (Thunder)

G- James Harden (Rockets)

F- Carmelo Anthony (Knicks)

F- David Lee (Warriors)

C- Tim Duncan (Spurs)

Westbrook had another excellent season, and he also managed to pick up his assists per game to a solid 7.4, after his perplexing 5.5 spot in 2011-12. Harden gets the nod over Dwyane Wade in spite of his weak defense and lower shooting percentage because he carried a young team without any other stars to a playoff spot, while Wade played second fiddle to the King. Plus, Harden’s ability to get to the free throw line is off the charts, which means he can fill up the stats sheet even when his stroke isn’t working. Melo was a no-brainer here; the only reason he wasn’t first team is because LeBron James and Kevin Durant also exist, but in a lesser talent pool, he would have been an MVP candidate. It was tough to choose a second forward because few players thoroughly deserved it (Z-Bo fell off in the second half, Aldridge played on a losing team. Blake is great but he’s not a leader), and Lee got the nod because his offensive dominance and ridiculous efficiency helped the Warriors make the playoffs. Duncan makes it as the second center because I struggled to find another candidate without at least one flaw in their game, and because Tim Duncan deserves some credit for still being Tim Duncan, even if it’s in slightly less minutes per game.

3rd Team

G- Stephen Curry (Warriors)

G- Dwyane Wade (Heat)

F- LaMarcus Aldridge (Blazers)

F- Blake Griffin (Clippers)

C- Dwight Howard (Lakers)

First off, my sincere apologies to Tony Parker, Joakim Noah, and Brook Lopez, who were all very tough omissions. Curry was an egregious snub for the All-Star game, and managed to play even better in the second half, while Parker was hurt down the stretch. which allowed the Thunder to take the top seed from the Spurs. Wade pretty much has to be acknowledged since he’s had a ridiculously efficient season, and he’s adapted to the second option role better than most would have expected. Aldridge put up great numbers on a weak team, and in a top-heavy year for forwards, that’s good enough. Blake improved his game by becoming a better mid-range shooter, and even draining a couple of threes. Finally, Dwight did decline, but he still was pretty solid, and he picked up his game towards the end of the season, which was a big part of the Lakers getting into the playoffs. It will be fun to see if he can regain his status as the best center in the league, but for now, he did just enough to still make an All-NBA team, even if it’s a bit of a downgrade.

So, that’s it. Looking forward to seeing if the actual picks are similar to what I had to say. If Wade gets second-tea over Harden, i’l be a little steamed but I’ll live. But if Dwight gets first team over Marc, I’ll be ripping my t-shirt and turning green in seconds. Seriously, guys, give Big Spain his due.

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