April 16 is the final day of the regular season, so there’s close to a month left of basketball. That gives borderline All-NBA players to make a last case as playoff seeding gets figured out. Guys like Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook have chances to boost up their stats since they each missed a chunk of the season. Chris Paul’s a shoe in for at least one of the teams, but he could play his way into First Team. I’ll break down each team beginning with First.
No one can dispute Kevin Durant and LeBron James as First Team guys, and they are the only ones who are unanimous. Center will come down to Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah, and Noah should get the nod over Howard. Howard’s averaging 18 points, 12 rebounds and nearly two blocks while anchoring a top-10 in defensive efficiency. Noah and Howard are without question the best two all-around centers in the NBA. Guards will be tricky for each team especially since there are not many two guards who are deserving of All-NBA status. With the way James Harden has played over the last month, I think he has become sort of a lock as an All-NBA First Team guy. Aside from almost averaging 25-5-5 on the year (which has been done by Tracy McGrady, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant since 2000), Harden has been on a tear recently averaging 28.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, eight assists and 2.3 steals a game in March. Harden has been criticized because of his defensive effort, and rightfully so (even though he has played better on-ball defense lately), but he is one of the four or five most talented offensive players in the world. He does a wonderful job of drawing contact, and finding open teammates. I was a big believer in the Houston Rockets when the acquired Dwight Howard (I even predicted they would be a Finals team in October). The final spot on the roster is the most difficult one to pick. Stephen Curry, John Wall, Chris Paul, Goran Dragic all make great cases for a spot, and I’ll have to pick one, but Blake Griffin definitely deserves a First Team spot. Since you need a center, he can’t fill that role, and there’s just no possible way Griffin gets voted in over James and Durant, which is a shame considering Griffins have the third best season in the NBA. Chris Paul has played 46 games this year, and if he plays in the remaining Clippers games he’ll have played 63. Paul definitely has a stronger case than other injured West guards (Parker and Westbrook) since he has more games currently played. But Stephen Curry ranks third behind Westbrook and Paul in PER for point guards. He averages 23 points, 8.6 assists while shooting 40 percent from three this year. I do think Curry shoots too often, but Curry is one of the best players in the NBA and the way he has played this season, along with the injuries to his competition, deserves a First Team nod.
G- Stephen Curry
G- James Harden (HE USED TO PLAY WITH KEVIN DURANT AND RUSSELL WESTBROOK!)
F- Kevin Durant
Although the First Team had some problems, the second team has even more questions. It’s safe to say Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard are locks for second team, and then the loser of Chris Paul/Stephen Curry would also be a second team member. But what about the other guard position and other forward position? Paul George would be the obvious position for forward, right? George has been slumping for the last month or so. His PPG and shooting percentage have dropped each month this season! But George still plays great defense, and remains one of the best two-way players in the League. He should get the nod because of how great his team’s record is even though they are 8-7 in their last 15 games. If Melo can lead his team into the postseason, he has a big case for being a Second Team guy. After all, Melo has been fantastic this season. I just don’t see a world where the best player on the a top team in the East does not get First or Second Team All-NBA. George may have fell out of the MVP discussion, but he’s still a top-10 NBA player. Now as for the final guard I’m going to go with Goran Dragic. Dragic is without question the story of the year in the NBA, and he deserves recognition, especially after the All-Star game snub. Dragic closely wins over Westbrook, Wall, Parker and Lillard.
Man, the NBA has a ridiculous amount of talent. Only five spots remain and their might be 10 or 12 guys who deserve a spot. No matter how many games they missed, Westbrook and Parker are All-NBA guys. I really want John Wall to make a Team, but there’s no a talented guard quite like Westbrook and Parker makes the Spur engine go. The biggest question is at forward. Four players, but you only can pick two. Carmelo Anthony, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love and Dirk Nowitzki. Aldridge is the only player whose team is guaranteed to make the postseason. Love has some great numbers, and I know it’s a personal award, but it should be given to winning players. There’s no reason why ‘Melo cannot lead the Knicks into the postseason, and if he does he’ll definitely be a member of a Team. DeAndre Jordan makes a strong case for Third Team center. He leads the NBA in rebounding and averages 2.4 blocks a game, but Tim Duncan gets my vote.