While the First Team looked exactly as expected, there were some mild surprises on the next two teams. For instance, I didn’t expect to see Pascal Siakam on the Second Team over Third Team forward Jayson Tatum, who was having a stronger season even before March 11, in my opinion.
While I thought Siakam’s contributions to the Raptors were weighed a bit too heavily, I would’ve liked to find room on the Third Team for his teammate Kyle Lowry. Lowry’s box-score numbers weren’t nearly as splashy as Russell Westbrook‘s, but the Raptors guard was a more well-rounded, two-way contributor who was arguably more important than Siakam to the success of the No. 2 seed in the East.
It also would have been good to see Bucks wing Khris Middleton recognized for his career year with a spot on the Third Team, though I’d have a hard time removing Jimmy Butler – the Heat’s only All-NBA representative – or Ben Simmons, who was one of the league’s best defensive players this season.
Middleton’s candidacy raises an interesting question. His 10 Second Team votes and 52 Third Team votes earned him 82 overall points, which exceeded Simmons’ total (61) and Westbrook’s (56). Because Middleton received his votes primarily as a forward rather than a guard, he missed out on an All-NBA spot.
The positional aspect of the All-NBA vote has increasingly become something of a fly in the ointment as the league transitions into a more positionless style of game. Ball-dominant players like James, Luka Doncic, and Simmons could theoretically be considered either guards or forwards, as could wings like Butler and Middleton. Anthony Davis, meanwhile, could easily have been listed as a forward since he typically started alongside JaVale McGee in Los Angeles, but he was voted in as the First Team’s center.
Could it be time for the NBA to revamp All-NBA voting to allow media members to simply select the 15 best players in the league? After all, there’s already a precedent in the All-Rookie teams, which don’t require voters to list players by position. Even a half-measure like All-Star voting, which now breaks down players into two groups – guards and frontcourt players – could be an improvement.
We want to hear what you think. Did voters get it right with their 15 picks, or did you feel there were one or two glaring snubs? Going forward, would you like to see the league tweak the All-NBA format to loosen restrictions on positions or eliminate them entirely?
Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!