EVERY year the All-NBA selections are heavily scrutinized and debated over. This year will be no different as the field for the six guard spots is insanely tight with just two weeks left of the regular season. Let’s break down how the teams will likely look when the regular season is done and dusted.
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Outside Looking In
THERE are a few players in this bracket that deserve a shoutout like Donovan Mitchell, Jrue Holiday, Kemba Walker, C.J. McCollum and Devin Booker. There are only two cuts that are somewhat noteworthy though. Since John Wall went down Brad Beal has helped keep the Wizards afloat in the East averaging over 21 points a game. However, Washington only managed a 14-10 record which isn’t eye-popping considering their schedule.
KYLE Lowry is the real one who misses out though, through no fault of his own either. As the Raptors have rolled to the best season in franchise history a large part of Toronto’s success comes from their depth and due to their dominant bench, Lowry’s numbers have taken a hit. Averaging just 16.8 points (his lowest average since 2012-13) and 6.8 assists on the best team in your conference shouldn’t be a reason Lowry misses out. Given the absurd numbers some of the other guards are putting up this year though, Lowry just misses the cut.
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AS I see it there is absolutely no way in the world that James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard can be left off the All-NBA teams. Harden is the MVP. Period. Westbrook is close to averaging a triple-double again while steering this Thunder team to a top-4 seed in the tough Western Conference. And Lillard might be having the hottest stretch of any player since peak MVP Steph Curry from 2015-16.
THAT leaves five players in my eyes for the final three places on an All-NBA roster. Steph Curry, Victor Oladipo, DeMar DeRozan, Kyrie Irving and Chris Paul. Each player has their own pros and cons and some are more deserving than others.
Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
AFTER Curry went down again last night with a knee sprain there is a high chance the Warriors procced with caution moving forward. The former dual MVP has already missed big chunks of time this season and considering how banged up they are, the Warriors need healthy bodies now more than ever. They are still favourites to win it all and Curry has been at his unstoppable best when healthy this year. He just doesn’t have enough games on his resume.
Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
OLADIPO has proved to everyone that if given the chance he can thrive as ‘the guy’ for a team. Not only is he the runaway winner for the Most Improved award, his Pacers are on the verge of taking a top-4 seed in the East. Oladipo might even get some MVP votes this year if they pull it off, which is impressive when you look at his supporting cast. I think he is well deserving.
DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
SPEAKING of MVP votes, DeRozan has some coming his way after his role in the Raptors wins. Early in the new year, DeRozan took his game to another level and as a result, Toronto emerged as a serious threat out East. Adapting his game and boasting an improved three-point shot, the Raptors strung winning streak after winning streak together with DeMar good for a guaranteed 25+ points every night. With his team poised to win the East, it would be criminal to take DeRozan off this list.
Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics
THIS one is tricky. Earlier in the year, when Boston looked like world beaters their success was driven by Kyrie Irving. To end 2017 the Celtics looked like the ones to beat in the East as he emerged as the offensive catalyst, showcasing what he was capable of with a team of his own. A recent knee injury has not only derailed his success but the teams too as Boston has faltered slightly. If they can lock up 55+ wins and Irving gets back then maybe, but it doesn’t look likely.
Chris Paul, Houston Rockets
AFTER being an unlucky snub from the All-Star team Paul gets the final spot in the All-NBA team. Since the break, Houston has been on a tear and Paul’s play is a massive reason why. Harden is clearly the man, but Paul has tweaked his game to help the Rockets achieve a ton of success. Looming as the best team in the league, they are more than deserving of two All-NBA guards.
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HERE’S how I predict the All-NBA teams will look once the regular season wraps up.
All-NBA 1st Team: Damian Lillard, James Harden
All-NBA 2nd Team: Russell Westbrook, DeMar DeRozan
All-NBA 3rd Team: Chris Paul, Victor Oladipo
IF someone told me that I should have Westbrook on the first team and Lillard on the second I could understand that. Other than that I think this is a pretty fair projection of the best players from this season. In a few days, I will release an article on how I expect the forward positions to unfold as well. Expect more tight competition for those places too.
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