The NBA has released its last awards of the 2012-13 season, doling out nods for the league’s All-NBA teams on Thursday afternoon.
Los Angeles was well represented as Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant lined the backcourt of the First Team, with Kevin Durant and league MVP LeBron James at the forwards. Tim Duncan, in a surprising but deserved (if inaccurate) vote, finishes that crew off with his first All-NBA nod at the center position. Which is weird, because this is the first time in years that Duncan (who moved over to play with Tiago Splitter in the San Antonio Spurs lineup this season) hasn’t been playing starting center on a routine basis.
New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Clippers forward Blake Griffin head up the forwards list on the Second Team, with Memphis defensive stalwart Marc Gasol at center. San Antonio’s Tony Parker and Oklahoma City guard head up that backcourt, in a voting pool lousy with brilliant All-NBA-worthy guards.
Los Angeles’ Dwight Howard (who received 17 first place votes at center) tops of the Third Team, with Golden State All-Star David Lee and Indiana all-around demon Paul George at the forwards. Miami’s Dwyane Wade and James Harden man the guard spots.
This sounds about right, really. David Lee as a forward on the third team seems slightly off because of his defensive woes, I would have gone with Zach Randolph or LaMarcus Aldridge in that instance, but Lee is a terrific player and this is not a terrible oversight. And it’s both unfortunate and encouraging that so many great NBA centers (Joakim Noah, Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert and technically Chris Bosh) could not make the top three teams because of the fine centers ranked above them.
As was the case with the Jordan Crawford (Jamal Crawford?) vote for Sixth Man of the Year, and Mike James’ (LeBron James?) vote for MVP, there were some drop-down menu selection screwups from the sportswriters. Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic is a darn good prospect and he’s already one of the league’s best rebounders, but he’s probably not yet worth the vote he received for one of these teams. Save for J.J. Hickson, even in a career year, also receiving a vote.
Beyond the screwups, is the nitpicking:
Kevin Durant, an MVP in just about any other year but this one, was left off the First Team by seventeen voters. Dirk Nowitzki is a legend who was quite good for about half of the NBA season, but he wasn’t amongst the top six NBA forwards this year, and he received a vote. Omer Asik and Carlos Boozer, even following a very good year for both, took in a few nods.
Otherwise, a fine list. The NBA could use a few more healthy knees to go around, but outside of that this league appears to be in terrific shape.