A Fan’s Take on the 2016-17 All-NBA Teams
The release of the All-NBA teams after the conclusion of the regular season always has the potential to stir up debates and discussions among NBA fans.
Below, I’m going to contribute to these debates and discussions myself with my personal opinions and criticisms of the latest All-NBA teams.
With only three All-NBA teams to announce and only five available spots on each team, the final committee selections are bound to be met with criticism and disapproval from some people. These unfavorable feelings toward the selections can stem from a variety of reasons. Maybe a player failed to make a team he was more deserving of, although at least he was selected. Or maybe a deserving player failed to make any team at all. These are both possibilities when there are so many people who care about the game and have their own views about it.
However, there are only so many people who can cast an official vote. Votes are cast by select members of the media. This leaves the rest of us as fans to take a guess or get our hopes up; unfortunately, we do not get a say in any official way. People just have to agree to disagree sometimes. This is partially what makes sports so fun, too.
The 2016-17 All-NBA teams were released in May 2017. To see the three selected teams on NBA.com, click here. To see my take on these three teams, keep reading.
All-NBA First Team
Official selections: Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
For the most part, I agreed with these selections. I liked that Westbrook, Harden, Leonard and James made the first team. Essentially, all four of these players were in the MVP race for 2017. I, myself, had all four of these guys making the first team. So far, so good.
However, what about Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics? He was also in the running for the MVP award. In fact, he finished fifth in the MVP voting, behind the four other guys I just mentioned.
Thomas was the unquestioned leader for a squad in serious contention to make an NBA Finals appearance. He led the team to the best regular-season record in the Eastern Conference, which secured the No. 1 seed in the East for the playoffs. He also established himself as the most clutch player in the league in the fourth quarter of games during the regular season.
Thomas was on a roll during the regular season. He was impressively putting up 40+ points and 50+ points in games, on his way to receiving his second-straight NBA All-Star selection. And all of this was coming from a guy who was the very last pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
I, personally, thought Thomas should have been part of this first group. For the record, I am a huge Anthony Davis fan; he’s one of my favorite players in the league. Davis is a phenomenal talent and a first-team selection on any given year. However, I thought Davis should have been a second-team selection in 2017, by default. There are only five spots and I felt that Thomas deserved the fifth and final spot this time around.
Before I move on, it should be noted that the NBA currently has rules in place that require voters to fill the five spots on each All-NBA team in a very specific way; they must select two guards, two forwards and one center. This could have very well been the defining factor of Thomas’ first-team absence.
Perhaps, the rules should be changed so that players are selected to each team solely on performance and deserving qualifications, rather than have limits based on what positions players play. Or, of course, each team could be expanded beyond just the five selections.
All-NBA Second Team
Official selections: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors), Stephen Curry (Golden State), Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz) and Isaiah Thomas (Boston Celtics)
Like the first team, I pretty much agreed with these selections, for the most part. Like Davis, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are first-team talents on any given year, but there just isn’t enough room for them in 2017. They both had to be second-team selections, by default.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is another one of my favorite players. After the great 2016-17 campaign he had, I definitely thought he deserved a spot on the second team. Rudy Gobert isn’t a bad choice either.
As mentioned earlier, I thought Thomas was a worthy first-team selection. I would have, instead, put Davis in this group. I also would not have minded seeing John Wall of the Washington Wizards or DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors making the second team in 2017. I thought both Wall and DeRozan could have been worthy picks here.
All-NBA Third Team
Official selections: Draymond Green (Golden State), DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers), Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls), John Wall (Washington Wizards) and DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
Although I felt Wall and DeRozan could have been on the second team, I thought these were all nice selections. I, personally, had Draymond Green and Jimmy Butler making this team. DeAndre Jordan is a worthy choice, too.
However, where is Kyrie Irving? The All-Star-caliber point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers has not only established himself as one of the best guards in the league but also as one of the best players in the league. Even with LeBron and Kevin Love on his team now, Irving is still a superstar.
Irving’s last All-NBA selection came in 2015; he made it onto the third team that year. That season, Irving’s outstanding scoring performances against two playoff-bound teams during the regular season surely won voters over. In January 2015, he dropped 55 points in a win over the Portland Trail Blazers; later in March, he dropped 57 points in another win against the San Antonio Spurs.
During the 2016-17 season, however, Irving continued to improve on his game by significantly increasing his number of assists. Irving has always been an elite scorer, but I took notice of the way he started to assist more this past season. I thought this improved element of his game should have given him more consideration from voters. After all, being able to assist is crucial for a player at his position.
In conclusion, I have just one more question to ask. Where is Paul George of the Indiana Pacers? That is all.