I have always felt this accolade in the NBA is one of the most difficult to hand out considering that many players are worthy. This season, in particular, has been one of the more difficult seasons to put a set-in-stone list of players for All-NBA. This season also brought a small change to player eligibility for All-NBA such as players can now be eligible for All-NBA at multiple positions they qualify for. This change is just another reason it is so difficult to pick only 15 players for this list.
For example, guys like Joel Embiid are eligible at forward, despite not being listed at forward the entire season. This is something the NBA is implementing to give guys a chance at All-NBA in more than one way, and I am all for it until it comes time to pick the guys for this list.
This season has featured some impressive performances despite many injuries to key players but once again, this list will feature names on either second or third-team All-NBA that deserve to be on first but will be snubbed due to position limits per team:
All-NBA First Team: Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and Nikola Jokic
All-NBA Second Team: Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, Julius Randle, and Rudy Gobert
All-NBA Third Team: Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, LeBron James, and Bam Adebayo
As of this past Thursday night, the finalists were listed for Defensive Player of the Year featuring Rudy Gobert, Draymond Green, and Ben Simmons. The field of All-Defensive candidates is just as fruitful with talent as the All-NBA list is in my opinion. While only one guy will take home Defensive Player of the Year, the rest of the field brought their A-game on the defensive side of the ball this season.
However, this list is limited to only two teams instead of three so finding a spot for these defensive geniuses was just as difficult.
All-Defensive First Team: Ben Simmons, Jrue Holiday, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Draymond Green, and Rudy Gobert
All-Defensive Second Team: Mikal Bridges, Marcus Smart, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, and Joel Embiid
The last group of guys to be named is the All-Rookie team, the quieter of lists to look at and break down into teams. After what I saw from this rookie class, the All-Rookie First Team has a clear and distinct five guys who fully deserve to make that team. The guys who made All-Rookie Second Team, played good basketball this season, hence why they made the team, but I would say there is a fine leap in production between the First-Team and Second-Team.
Most of this rookie class is looking ahead to their sophomore seasons, minus guys like Immanuel Quickley, who gets to experience the playoffs for the first time in his rookie season while rookie of the year favorite LaMelo Ball just missed the playoffs this season, losing in the play-in tournament to the Pacers quite badly. Keep an eye on this list of All-Rookies to continue to produce in their sophomore seasons:
All-Rookie First Team: LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton, Immanuel Quickley, Anthony Edwards, and Saddiq Bey
All-Rookie Second Team: Desmond Bane, Jae’Sean Tate, Patrick Williams, Isacc Okoro, and Isaiah Stewart
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