Every year, it is tough to make the All-NBA team, and it’s an honor for the best of the best for a reason. It separates the elite from the very good, and this year it is more competitive than ever. The toughest position is guard, as there are several elite guards this season all with good cases to make it. To figure it out, everything comes into play, numbers, analytics, eye test, surrounding team, and injuries. After combining all of that, here is my prediction on how the list will play out.
G – Victor Oladipo
G – James Harden
F – LeBron James
F – Anthony Davis
C – Joel Embiid
Let’s start with the obvious. James Harden will be the MVP this season, as he is leading the league in scoring with 31.1 points per game along with 8.8 assists and 5.1 rebounds per season. He is a lock for the first-team guard. LeBron is the other lock at the forward spot. James is still the best player in the game, even though he had a rough stretch and the team has been good but not great like past seasons.
Still, he is averaging 27.9 and eight and is a lock for one of the forward spots. Here is where it gets tricky. Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Demar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, and Victor Oladipo all have a shot. Give me the undergod with Oladipo. Oladipo has quietly led the Pacers to the third-best record in the east at 39-28, and with Oladipo on the floor, they are playing like an elite team with him on the court. However, without him, they are a mess. For the season, they are averaging 23.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and he is a great defender. He is second among guards in real plus/minus, according to ESPN, and he’s got my vote.
The other forward spot goes to Davis. Since Cousins has gone down, Davis has played at an MVP level. People left the Pelicans for dead, and Davis has them at the four seed at 38-28. He just had a triple-double with blocks. For the season, Davis is averaging 28 points, 11 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Just ridiculous. Davis has risen his game recently, and that is why he passed for Giannis for the other forward spot.
For center, I am going with Joel Embiid. Embiid is the front-runner for defensive player of the year, and he is doing that while averaging 23.4 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.7 blocks per game. He has only played 54 games, but he is playing back to backs now and should finish with about 70 games played. That is enough for the guy who is second among all centers in real plus/minus.
G – Steph Curry
G – Chris Paul
F – Giannis Antetokumpo
F – Kevin Durant
C – Nikola Jokic
Curry is the question mark here. When he has played, he has played an at MVP level, but he re-hurt his ankle, and it is unclear how much more time he will mess. Curry has only played in 50 games this season, and if he misses more time, then take him off the list. For now, he deserves it; he has been that good. His efficiency has been all time with a 67.5 true shooting percentage. This season, he is averaging 26.3 points, 6.2 assists, and 5.1 rebounds, and he has been the best point guard when healthy. Then there is Chris Paul, who, like Curry, has missed time with injuries, but when he has played, he has been elite. He has played 48 games this season and should play 64 this season. That is enough for the point guard who leads all guard in real plus-minus and is an elite defender and playmaker.
In the forward spots, Giannis is a lock. His team is struggling right now, but his dominance this year has been unreal. He is a defensive player of the year candidate, who is averaging 28 points and 10 rebounds per game. Giannis can still make the first team with a strong finish; he is second team at worst.
Then there is Durant, who is also a lock for either second or third team forward. He has become an elite defender and is averaging a career-high 1.9 blocks. To go along with that with 26.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 5.3 assists on 52 percent shooting. If Curry misses time and Durant raises his game, he still has a shot for the first team.
At center, I am going with the Joker, who has been on a triple-double spree. Jokic is the most unique big man in the game with his passing ability. For the season he is averaging 17.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists per game on 49 percent shooting. Jokic leads all centers in real plus-minus.
G – Damian Lillard
G – Russell Westbrook
F – Paul George
F – Draymond Green
C – Karl Anthony Towns
The third team may be the toughest to choose, as there will be some snubs from all the list. First, there is Lillard, who has been an absolute tear recently, and so is his team. Portland is 40-26 and the third seed in the West, mainly due to Lillard. For the season, Lillard is averaging 26.3 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game. He has played too well to be left off this list.
The other guard spot is tougher. I would have picked Jimmy Butler, but it looks like he will miss too much time due to injury. Then there is Kyrie Irving, but he is hurt now and not a great defender. Toronto has guards Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan, but the team is so deep that both of those players don’t play heavy minutes, and that is a factor. I will go with Russell Westbrook. Westbrook may average a triple-double this season again, and if he does that, he cant be left off. This season he is averaging 25.3 points, 10.1 assists, and 9.6 rebounds per game. The only thing that can hurt him is if the Thunder misses the playoffs.
At the forward spots, Paul George should be a safe bet. He still has a case for defensive player of the year, and he is doing that while averaging 22 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. At the other forward spot, I am going with Draymond Green. He is still the best defensive player of the year when he wants to be and is averaging 11.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.4 assists, and he is one of the complete players in the game. Green is fifth in real plus-minus among power forwards.
At center, there is Karl Anthony-Towns, who has risen his game with the absence of the Jimmy Butler injury. His defense has improved this year, and his offense is still elite. Towns is averaging 20.5 points and 12.2 rebounds on 54 percent shooting for the season. He is third among centers in real plus/minus.
Just missed the cut: Kyrie Irving, Demar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Otto Porter Jr., Jimmy Butler, and Al Horford.