Call me weird, call me corny, call me anything you want as long as it includes “All-NBA team purist”. For those of us who really care about NBA history, the All-NBA teams are one of the great ways to characterize who was good and how good they were in their era.
If you make an All-NBA team, by most metrics you’re at the bare minimum a top 20 player in the NBA at that time. Now of course things get weird with positions and what not but the vast majority of the time, the All-NBA teams are an integral part of determining relevance to a given NBA season.
Did you notice the word I used in the last sentence that is imperative to understanding the All-NBA teams? Look again. Okay, need help?
The answer is relevance.
The reason I use that word with such importance is because, who defined that season should be the ones rewarded with the NBA’s highest honour. All-Stars are cool and MVP ballots are a little too selective but All-NBA is the best way of determining who really mattered in a season.
That’s why for me, winning should be a key factor when it comes to the All-NBA teams.
It’s why last season there should’ve been no debate between Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns was awesome but the Timberwolves most certainly were not. Gobert’s Jazz though were in fact awesome and more relevant to the NBA that season.
Fun fact, every single NBA team has a leading scorer. Not just the good ones, the bad ones do too.
This single fact creates the single greatest divide between basketball fans and basketball teams.
Devin Booker and Zach LaVine had really good seasons this year in theory. In practice, literally not a single one of their games impacted the grand scheme of the 2019-20 NBA season.
Sure, they scored a bunch of points but really, if you really analyze what happened this season, how relevant were they? How many sentences, paragraphs, pages deep into the story of this season do you get before they get mentioned.
All-NBA guys should be first page mentions and not footnote after thoughts. You don’t make these teams as a technicality or a reference point, you make it as the meat and potatoes of what unfolded.
For this reason, there is no way Bradley Beal and/or Trae Young should be members of the All-NBA teams.
I know Twitter is going to blow up over that statement but hear me out. Can you honestly name a single game they played in this season that actually mattered?
I’m not talking about a January game in Washington against a playoff team. No, one single game that when you think of this NBA season, actually helps tell the story.
They played on bad teams with little help and that’s not their fault. Beal, Young, Booker, LaVine, Brandon Ingram and others are victims of circumstance and that sucks but guess what, we’ve seen these guys before.
You know what came of those guys? You don’t, because their seasons didn’t matter in the way we think they do in the moment.
Points are great, assists are fun, and numbers supposedly never lie. Yet, here I am five months removed from the NBA season and all those guys fail the one test that should actually matter when it comes to the All-NBA: do I remember any one game or moment?
Some teams are more important than others. Some games are more meaningful than others. This league is one where not all games are created equally.
The players who dominated on those stages deserve to make the All-NBA team because, that’s what you’ll actually remember.
They were relevant.