The annual All-NBA teams were announced on Wednesday, and with it came everyone’s favorite time on NBA Twitter: Pointing out who got snubbed.
Among the reporters, bloggers and fans was one of the biggest snubs himself, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. Despite career highs in points (30.5) and assists (6.1) per game, Beal found himself still waiting to hear his name called for his first career All-NBA team.
He didn’t seem very amused by the situation:
Beal likely wasn’t alone in wondering why he didn’t even make the third team despite a strong year. Here’s who else seems to fall in the snub category.
Note: Please don’t take this as an argument that, say, every player listed here deserves to be in over a certain third-teamer or two. We’re just noting which players might have reason to believe they were snubbed.
Here is the list of players to average more than 30 points per game and not make any All-NBA team since the league introduced a third team in 1988:
• Bradley Beal
Yup, that’s the list. The Wizards veteran didn’t even make the All-Star team, despite the fact that he ended up leading the Eastern Conference in scoring and finished second in the entire league behind James Harden.
The counterargument is obvious here. The Wizards were bad. No one expected them to make the playoffs this year and the Wizards emphatically followed through on that expectation by 25-47. However, go ahead and try to imagine where the Wizards would have finished without Beal dropping 30 every other night on pretty efficient shooting.
It sure wouldn’t have been in the bubble.
If Beal is an egregious snub, then the Atlanta Hawks sophomore should qualify as a standard one. Like Beal, Young dominated on offense with 29.6 points and 9.3 assists per game. Also like Beal, Young did this all for a very bad team in the Hawks, even worse than the Wizards at 20-47.
Young at least made an All-Star team unlike Beal, though him missing out on an All-NBA selection could look pretty foolish if we look back on the rise of a promising Hawks core some day. For his part, Young was at least a little more accepting of his snub than Beal:
Gotta Grind Harder. ❄️💯
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) September 16, 2020
Rookie of the Year Ja Morant, on the other hand, had something to say about Beal and Young both not making the list.
The big thing for Young to work on will be his defense, which has been notoriously bad through his first two years in the league.
It sure seems like the Phoenix Suns star could be grouped with Beal and Young as an elite scorer with defensive limitations on a very bad team, though the only thing separating him from an All-NBA selection might have been the decision to not count the bubble games.
Booker’s eight-game run in Orlando in which he led the Suns to an 8-0 record was a star-making performance, but at least he got first-team All-Bubble recognition.
OK, yes, this snub sure looks fine now that we’ve seen the Milwaukee Bucks get bounced from the playoffs while looking like a fundamentally flawed team.
But the All-NBA teams are supposed to cover the regular season, and the Bucks were absurdly good then. The Los Angeles Lakers’ pair of LeBron James and Anthony Davis both made the first team, but the Bucks’ lone representation was Giannis Antetokounmpo, also on the first team.
Middleton has long been Antetkounmpo’s sidekick, and the Bucks’ NBA-best 56-17 record was partially thanks to a year in which Middleton posted career highs in points, assists and rebounds per game plus field goal and free throw percentage while throwing in his usual strong defense. You’d think that growth would count for something.
You could probably slot someone like Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns or Domantas Sabonis in here as well, but the main point of this section is to note that at least one more center should have been selected.
Nikola Jokic and Rudy Gobert — the best offensive and defensive centers in the league — were deserving picks for the second and third team, but the first team was notably lacking in a position that has been increasingly marginalized in the modern NBA.
The nominal center of the first team is Davis, but that seems like a very silly designation considering the Lakers star went out of his way to not play center this season. He reportedly pushed his team to make sure he would have a true big man playing alongside him for the season, and that’s what happened.
JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard ended up starting all but one game this season, and averaged 35.5 minutes per game together. That changed in the playoffs against the small ball Houston Rockets, but, again, this is a regular-season award, and Davis simply wasn’t a center during the regular season.
For reference, here are this year’s All-NBA selections:
All-NBA First Team:
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
James Harden, Houston Rockets
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
All-NBA Second Team
Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
All-NBA Third Team
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets
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