Because why not, we watched a lot of basketball this year.
F LeBron James
F Dirk Nowitzki
C Dwight Howard
G Dwyane Wade
G Chris Paul
Nowitzki edges Kevin Durant for being a bit more productive (.212 WS/48 vs. .189), with only a little less usage (28.2 vs. 30.6), playing for a slightly better team that was clearly not good without him (2-7 in games he missed). I’m not sure what turned voters off Wade, who was better than Kobe Bryant in pretty much every meaningful statistical category. The old fallback of team success doesn’t apply here either, since the Heat were better than the Lakers, and Wade actually had worse teammates than Bryant. Paul’s 3rd-team selection is yet another slap in the face after finishing 13th (!) in MVP voting. What more do voters want a point guard to do? Are the Hornets not on League Pass?
F Kevin Durant
F Pau Gasol
G Kobe Bryant
G Derrick Rose
He took a small step back from his breakout last year, but barring injury, there’s probably nothing that can stop Durant from attaining a string of 1st-team selections in the near future. Gasol quietly put up more Win Shares (14.7) than any player not named LeBron this year, and even though he logged more numbers at Center this year, we’ll slot him at the other forward spot for the sake of symmetry with the actual selections. Nene was as vital to his team as any candidate for this spot, but was the only one who actually had his team playing like a contender at any point this year. He also paced the league in eFG% while placing top-10 in Offensive Rating and WS/48. I know Rose won MVP, and I still don’t really have a problem with that–no candidate was overwhelmingly convincing. But there are 2 spots for guards on the first team, and can we really say that Rose was a better player over the course of the season than Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade? On this year’s evidence, he’s proven himself as an elite player, but those 2 guys have become the standard of excellence for efficient guard play. Rose isn’t quite there yet.
F LaMarcus Aldridge
F Kevin Love
C Al Horford
G Manu Ginobili
G Russell Westbrook
Aldridge’s career year statistically, coupled with the job he did carrying Portland to a playoff berth in the competitive West, cement his place here. It’s strange leaving a player of Zach Randolph’s calibre off the team, especially given the tear he’s currently on, but this is a regular-season honor and Love’s regular season was nothing short of historic, even if his team was horrendous. Horford stands out among a strong group of candidates by having the most complete season–Amar’e Stoudemire was very average outside of his scoring, and his .565 TS% was actually his lowest in 7 years, while Tim Duncan, Tyson Chandler, and Andrew Bynum were all effective but tasked with much less responsibility. Westbrook and Ginobili have little competition for their spots; the next top vote-getters at guard were Rajon Rondo and Tony Parker.
Honorable Mentions: Paul Pierce, Zach Randolph, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh, Steve Nash
Funniest Names Found Among the Actual Players Receiving Notes: Andrea Bargnani, Luol Deng, Kendrick Perkins
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