Chris Paul

2021/2022 All-NBA Teams Announced

The 2021/22 All-NBA teams have officially been announced by the NBA. For the fourth straight season, Bucks All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was unanimously selected to the All-NBA First Team by a voter panel of 100 media members. Antetokounmpo, 27, is making his sixth All-NBA team overall.

Antetokounmpo, reigning MVP Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, and Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic received the most votes. Suns All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker and Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid rounded out the list of top five vote-getters. Because the All-NBA teams, unlike the All-Star squads, require just one center per team, Embiid was relegated to an All-NBA Second Team placing.

Below is a list of the three All-NBA teams. Vote tallies are listed in parentheses next to player names. Five points were awarded to players for a First Team Vote, three points netted for a Second Team vote, and one for a Third Team vote. Antetokounmpo earned a perfect 500 points.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Jazz center Rudy Gobert and shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, Heat center Bam Adebayo and small forward Jimmy Butler, Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown, Bucks guards Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, Grizzlies shooting guard Desmond Bane, Suns small forward Mikal Bridges, Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray, and Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet all received All-NBA votes. Surprisingly, Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who played in just 29 games this season, also received a single vote.

As we previously outlined, the All-NBA selections come with significant financial ramifications. As a result of being named to All-NBA teams, Booker and Towns have become eligible for super-max extensions that would begin in 2024/25. If they’re signed this offseason, those deals would be for four years and would start at 35% of the ’24/25 cap. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN (via Twitter), they currently project to be worth $211MM apiece.

Young’s five-year contract extension, which was signed last August and will go into effect in 2022/23, will now be worth 30% of next season’s cap instead of 25% by virtue of his All-NBA selection. Based on a projected $122MM cap, that means it’ll be worth about $212MM instead of $177MM.

Jokic had already met the super-max requirements prior to this announcement, since he won last year’s MVP award — he’s eligible to sign a five-year, super-max extension this offseason and has said he plans to do so. Doncic, who signed a maximum-salary contract extension last summer, also previously met the super-max criteria by earning All-NBA nods in 2020 and 2021.

Notable players who are not eligible this offseason for super-max deals include Morant and Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine. As Marks tweets, Morant needs to make the All-NBA team again in 2023 to qualify for a starting salary worth 30% of the cap (instead of 25%) on his next deal.

LaVine, a free agent this offseason, would have been eligible to earn up to 35% of next season’s cap from the Bulls if he had made an All-NBA team, but will instead be able to earn no more than 30% of the ’22/23 cap on his next contract.

With their inclusions, Morant, Booker, and Young are making their All-NBA team debuts. Meanwhile, on the other side of the NBA aging curve, two 37-year-old veterans further cemented their Hall of Fame credentials during the 2021/22 season. James made his 18th All-NBA team, while Paul was named to his 11th All-NBA team.

Suns Notes: Paul, Ayton, Booker, Johnson

The Suns‘ season ended in embarrassing fashion on Sunday night in Game 7 at home vs. Dallas, falling behind by 30 points by halftime and trailing by as many as 46 in the second half before losing by a score of 123-90. After yet another Game 7 loss for Chris Paul, the 37-year-old point guard made it clear he has every intention of returning to Phoenix next season and trying to right the ship.

“You play long enough and you don’t win, every time you lose, they’re going to say it was your best chance,” Paul said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “But I think for me, us, it’s we’ll be right back next year. I’ll tell you that much. I’m not retiring tomorrow, thank God. Hopefully, I’m healthy coming back. But I’m (going to) keep playing.”

Paul had a poor showing on Sunday, recording just 10 points and four assists and failing to score his first field goal until the Suns were down by 40 points. He played through a left quad injury that limited his mobility, sources tell ESPN’s McMenamin and Marc J. Spears (Twitter link).

In his post-game comments to reporters, Suns head coach Monty Williams took responsibility for the Suns’ sluggish performance and for the loss, but Paul said the blame should fall on his own shoulders.

“I think we just came out and just didn’t have enough,” Paul said, according to McMenamin. “I think Mont said that’s on him, but I think that’s on me, as the point guard, the leader of the team. To come out and make sure you’re getting the right shots and all that.”

Paul has a $28.4MM guaranteed salary for next season, followed by a partially guaranteed $30.8MM salary in ’23/24 and a non-guaranteed $30MM salary in ’24/25.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • Suns center Deandre Ayton was pulled early in the third quarter on Sunday and didn’t return to the game after exchanging words with Williams on the sidelines, according to McMenamin, who notes that the former No. 1 overall pick logged just 17 minutes, the third-fewest minutes he has played in a game since entering the league.
  • Asked after the game about the reason for Ayton’s limited playing time, Williams curtly responded, “It’s internal.” It’s an ominous ending to the season for Ayton, who will be a restricted free agent this summer and will likely be seeking a maximum-salary contract or something close to it.
  • Ayton’s upcoming free agency will be the primary focus for the Suns this summer, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) details in his offseason preview. With Ayton up for a new deal and Devin Booker and Cameron Johnson both eligible for extensions, Phoenix’s roster could start to get very expensive, Marks observes.
  • In his own preview of the Suns’ offseason, Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype also examines potential new contracts for Ayton, Booker, and Johnson.
  • The Suns could have used injured forward Dario Saric in their series vs. Dallas, suggests John Hollinger of The Athletic, writing that the team was ultimately undone by its lack of perimeter lineups to counteract the Mavericks’ “space ball” approach. Dallas often employed lineups with five capable three-point shooters, reducing the defensive impact of Suns centers Ayton and JaVale McGee.

Nikola Jokic Repeats As Most Valuable Player

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has won his second straight Most Valuable Player Award, topping the SixersJoel Embiid and the BucksGiannis Antetokounmpo by a comfortable margin, the NBA announced in a press release.

Jokic received 65 first-place votes and 875 total points, putting him well ahead of Embiid, who finished second with 26 first-place votes and 706 points. Antetokounmpo came in third with nine first-place votes and 595 points.

Nobody else received a first-place vote, but Suns guard Devin Booker was fourth with 216 points and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic was fifth at 146 points. With 100 total voters, the balloting system awarded 10 points for a first-place vote, seven points for second, five points for third, three points for fourth and one point for fifth.

Other players receiving votes were the Celtics‘ Jayson Tatum (43 points), the GrizzliesJa Morant (10), the Warriors‘ Stephen Curry (4), the SunsChris Paul (2), the BullsDeMar DeRozan (1), the LakersLeBron James (1) and the NetsKevin Durant (1).

Jokic is the 13th player to win MVP honors in back-to-back seasons. He averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists in 74 games and helped the Nuggets earn the sixth seed in the West despite the absence of Jamal Murray and  Michael Porter Jr. Jokic was named Western Conference Player of the Month twice this season and reached the All-Star Game for the fourth straight year.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported on Monday that Jokic would win the award.

Pacific Notes: Thompson, Wiseman, CP3, Johnson, Covington

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he and the team’s training staff feel good about Klay Thompson‘s health status, and that fatigue isn’t a factor in Thompson’s shooting slump, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link). Thompson has shot 11-for-38 from the field in the first two games against Memphis, including 5-of-22 from deep and 0-of-2 from the line, but he did hit a crucial go-ahead three-pointer late in Game 1.

Kerr also said that no matter how far the Warriors advance in the playoffs, they won’t consider playing James Wiseman, who was ruled out for the season at the end of March (Twitter link via Marc J. Spears of Andscape). Wiseman had a couple of knee surgeries over the past 13 months and experienced some setbacks in his rehab.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic details how Suns star Chris Paul has been dominating the playoffs. Paul, who turned 37 today, is averaging ridiculous numbers through eight games: 22.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 9.9 assists (against 1.6 turnovers) and 1.6 steals on .580/.333/.970 shooting. He’s shooting 67.4% on twos. That is not a typo. Paul’s been arguably the best player in the postseason to this point, says Hollinger. (Side note: Paul has seven turnovers in the first half of Game 3 against the Mavericks, which is in progress. That figure represents a career-high for a half, Dwain Price of Mavs.com tweets. The Suns currently trail 51-44.)
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams has been working with Cameron Johnson on his post play recently, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic relays. “Just teaching him how to use his strength a little bit,” Williams said. “He’s got some tools down there. Just talking to him about balance and footwork and stuff like that.” Johnson is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer. He was a finalist for the Sixth Man of the Year award, which went to Tyler Herro.
  • Robert Covington‘s newly-inked two-year, $24MM extension with the Clippers is fully guaranteed, with no option in the second year, reports Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (via Twitter).

Pacific Notes: Paul, Booker, Bazemore, Iguodala

As a Hall-of-Fame point guard, Mavericks coach Jason Kidd understands the challenge that Chris Paul presents, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Paul, who will turn 37 this week, is coming off one of the best playoff games of his career, making all 14 of his shots from the field and scoring 33 points Thursday as the Suns closed out the Pelicans.

“He’s perfected the point guard position,” Kidd said. “As you get more reps and you see different defenses, you start to understand what you have to do, and he knows how to move the pieces to get that advantage. When you talk about IQ, it’s off the charts and his competitiveness is off the charts and his will is off the charts. All the things that are off the charts, you’ve just got to make it tough on him.”

Dallas will counter with All-Star point guard Luka Doncic, who was also dominant in the first round after returning from a strained calf. Doncic indicated that the Mavs will try to be physical with Paul, but there’s no set way to contain him.

“It’s hard to slow him down,” Doncic said. “Like you saw in the last game, he didn’t miss. That was pretty crazy.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns were fined $25K for not disclosing Devin Booker‘s status for Game 6 against New Orleans in “an accurate and timely manner,” according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Booker missed three games in the series with a strained right hamstring before returning on Thursday.
  • In an interview with TMZ Sports, Lakers swingman Kent Bazemore defended LeBron James against his critics and said he would like to re-sign with the team in free agency. Bazemore only played 39 games after signing with L.A. last summer, but he said there’s something special about playing for the team. “What I’ll say is nothing ain’t much better than being a Laker, right?” Bazemore said. “So, getting to see (Kobe Bryant‘s) numbers on the wall every day I went to practice was good inspiration for me. … There’s nothing like it, man. It’s a storied franchise.”
  • Warriors forward Andre Iguodala has been ruled out of the first two games of the team’s second-round series vs. Memphis, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Iguodala is dealing with a cervical disc injury in his neck.

Western Notes: Zubac, Ayton, Paul, McLaughlin

The Clippers are expecting Ivica Zubac to take another step forward offensively next season, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. Los Angeles owns a $7.5MM team option in Zubac’s contract for 2022/23, which requires a decision to be made by June 29.

“You have to give a lot of credit to Zu and Isaiah (Hartenstein),” president Lawrence Frank said. “Sometimes we take it for granted because Zu … at his age, to have the experience to anchor a top defense, and you look at his rim protection, rebounding. But I think offensively, he’ll make another jump.”

Zubac, 24, averaged 10.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 24.4 minutes per game this season, starting in all 76 of his contests. He’ll also be eligible to sign a four-year extension worth up to about $61MM with the Clippers this summer, Swanson notes.

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

  • Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic explores whether the real Deandre Ayton has showed up against the Pelicans this series. Ayton has seen plenty of highs and lows through three games. He most recently finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds in the Suns’ Game 3 victory on Friday. Game 4 is currently in progress.
  • In a separate story for the Arizona Republic, Somers examines a simple-but-effective winning formula: Let Chris Paul take over down the stretch. Paul scored 19 points in the fourth quarter of Game 3, helping seal the 114-111 victory for the Suns.
  • Timberwolves guard Jordan McLaughlin rewarded himself and the team by staying prepared ahead of Game 4, Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune writes. McLaughlin has seen inconsistent playing time this season, but he made the most of his opportunity on Saturday. The 26-year-old scored 16 points (4-of-4 from deep) in 14 minutes off the bench. “It’s always what he does,” teammate Karl-Anthony Towns said of McLaughlin. “Consummate professional. Every day he steps on the court he makes an impact. It’s normal, it’s routine. We need someone like him, someone who comes off the bench and dominates the game.”

Pacific Notes: DiVincenzo, Paul, Hartenstein, Curry

Kings guard Donte DiVincenzo has played better in Sacramento than he did earlier this season in Milwaukee. However, he said he’s not thinking about how his recent play may boost his value entering restricted free agency, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

“I don’t go into any game thinking about my contract,” DiVincenzo said. “I go into every game trying to be the hardest-playing player and the best teammate I can be. Wherever the chips fall at the end of the year, that’s where they fall, but when I go into the game, I’m not thinking about my contract. I’m not thinking about the situation. I’m just trying to either win that game, or, like I said, as long as I’m a good teammate and I play with the most energy I possibly can, good things will happen for me.”

DiVincenzo has knocked down 36.6% of his three-point attempts since joining the Kings and is averaging 3.4 assists per game, which would be a career high. Sacramento will have to extend a $6.6MM qualifying offer to the 25-year-old this offseason to officially make him a restricted free agent. The team would then have the ability to match any offer sheet he signs with another club.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Chris Paul‘s thumb injury may have had some silver linings for the Suns, who watched other players step up in Paul’s absence and should have a fresher version of their All-Star point guard entering the postseason. Still, Paul is relieved that his time in the sidelines didn’t last any longer than a month. “I’m just happy that’s behind me. I go to a dark place a lot of times when I can’t play,” Paul told Mark Medina of NBA.com. “Some people like to play basketball. I need to play. This is my happy place.”
  • Isaiah Hartenstein, who signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Clippers in 2021, has become the team’s secret weapon, says Ethan Fuller of BasketballNews.com. While he still has work to do on the defensive end, Hartenstein’s passing and interior scoring have proven valuable this season, Fuller explains. The veteran center could be in line for a raise as a free agent this summer.
  • Warriors guard Jordan Poole has played some of his best basketball of the season since Stephen Curry went down with a foot injury, averaging 28.1 PPG in those seven games. Seerat Sohi of The Ringer takes a closer look at the recent play from Poole, who will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.

And-Ones: Jerebko, Canaan, China, Teammate Award, Future Rankings

While some former NBA players have left Russian teams following the invasion into Ukraine, Jonas Jerebko is resuming his career there. The ex-NBA big man signed with CSKA Moscow, the team tweets. That didn’t sit well with the Swedish National Team, who suspended him, according to Johnny Askounis of EuroHoops.net“Unfortunately, we are forced to state that there are no conditions for Jonas Jerebko to play for the Sweden basketball national team,” a Swedish Basketball Federation press release stated in part. Jerebko played for four NBA teams.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Another Russian team, Unics Kazan, has mutually parted ways with guard Isaiah Canaan, according to a EuroHoops.net story. Canaan is joining Turkey’s Galatasaray, EuroHoops tweets. Canaan appeared in 235 NBA games, most recently during the 2018/19 campaign.
  • Chinese TV has resumed broadcasts of NBA games, Sopan Deb of the New York Times reports. China had boycotted NBA broadcasts since 2019, when former Houston executive Daryl Morey tweeted support for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. China Central Television, its state-run TV network, broadcasted Tuesday night’s matchup between the Clippers and Jazz, which kicked off a full return of the league to China’s airwaves.
  • The 12 finalists for the league’s Teammate of the Year award have been announced, the NBA announced (via Twitter). DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Jeff Green , Udonis Haslem, Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Jaren Jackson Jr., Kevin Love, Boban Marjanovic, Chris Paul, Fred VanVleet and Grant Williams are the contenders. The annual honor recognizes the player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team.
  • The Grizzlies top the list on ESPN’s Future Power Rankings, according to Kevin Pelton, Bobby Marks, Andre’ Snellings, and Tim Bontemps (Insider link). They’re followed by the Heat and Suns. The Kings sit at the bottom of the pile.

Suns Notes: Booker, Paul, Johnson, Williams

When asked at a recent Suns press conference if he should be considered in the 2022 MVP debate, Phoenix All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker had a pretty concise response, per Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link).

“Yes,” Booker said simply. And for good reason.

After All-Star Suns point guard Chris Paul recently sat out Phoenix’s first 15 games following the All-Star break due to a thumb injury, Booker emerged as the team’s leader and the Suns barely missed a beat. Booker has an argument to be a fringe MVP contender, as potentially the best player on the best team in the NBA.

The 6’5″ wing averaged 30.3 PPG across his 11 contests played during Paul’s absence, and the Suns went 8-3 in those games. For the year, the three-time All-Star is averaging 26.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG and 5.0 APG, on .462/.375/.870 shooting. The 25-year-old is the leading scorer for the team that has already clinched the best record in the NBA (60-14 and counting) and will retain its home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

There’s more out of Phoenix:

  • Chris Paul expressed his excitement upon returning to the Suns following his 15 games spent on the sideline as he rehabilitated from his right thumb fracture, per Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. “I’ve been playing pickup like 3-on-3, 2-on-2, (but) 5-on-5 is totally different, especially when your first game back in Denver,” Paul said. The 12-time All-Star scored 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor and logged a game-most 13 dimes in a 140-130 Suns win over the Nuggets on Thursday. “I still have a little ways to go, but it was good to get out there and play,” Paul said. “We missed him,” Booker added.
  • Cameron Johnson‘s right quad contusion will sideline him for a 12th consecutive game today, but he’s nearing a return to the floor for Phoenix, writes Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Phoenix head coach Monty Williams revealed that Johnson had no limitations in the club’s most recent practice. “He did everything today. He looked pretty good as far as getting up and down the floor,” Williams said. “He’s not in a situation or a in a position to say he’s playing in the next couple of days. Still got to wait and see how his body responds to days like today.” 
  • The Suns believe head coach Williams deserves 2022 Coach of the Year honors, per Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. “It shouldn’t even be close,” Chris Paul opined. “No disrespect to all those other coaches and what they’re doing, but what are you watching if this man doesn’t get Coach of the Year?” Phoenix has weathered its fair share of extended injuries absences to key players like Paul and Deandre Ayton, and has remained head-and-shoulders the best team in the league by record. Williams, of course, guided the Suns to their first NBA Finals appearance since 1993 during his second season with the team last year. “He should’ve had it last year,” small forward Mikal Bridges said. “We won’t go there, but we’re the best team by far right now, record-wise. Yeah, it should be a no-brainer.”

Chris Paul Returns From Thumb Injury

6:40pm: Paul is playing on Thursday, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets.


2:09pm: Suns point guard Chris Paul is listed as probable to return for Thursday’s game at Denver, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Paul has missed the past 15 games with a fractured right thumb; the team went 11-4 in his absence. At 59-14, the Suns hold the best record in the NBA.

They lead the No. 2 seed Grizzlies by nine games with only nine games to play, so one more victory by Phoenix will clinch the No. 1 seed and home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Paul, 36, was named an All-Star for the 12th time this season. Through 58 games (33 MPG), he’s averaging 14.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 10.7 APG, and 1.9 SPG on .487/.330/.843 shooting. His 10.7 assists per game leads the league, and if it holds up it will be his fifth assists title.

It was reported on Monday that Paul was nearing a return to action. He was given a six-to-eight week recovery timetable when he initially suffered the fracture on February 20, but it seems he will return in less than five weeks, which is pretty remarkable given his advanced age (by sports standards).

Cameron Payne has been starting in Paul’s stead and is likely to head back to the bench. He’s played well of late since returning from a right wrist injury, averaging 14.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 9.5 APG on .421/.339/.783 shooting in March (11 games, 30.5 MPG).