The 2022-23 NBA Regular season came to a close on Sunday. Most fans’ focus shifts right over to the playoffs, but others shift over to who should win certain awards. More specifically, a lot of people think about who should be on each All-NBA team. Here are my picks for who should make each All-NBA Team.
*Keep in mind, both the new 65-game limit and the positionless teams do not go into effect until next year. However, I still put a 60-game minimum to be put on one of the teams.*
Guard: Ja Morant
Despite Morant having a lot of off-the-court issues this year, it should not take away from the fact that he was absolutely fantastic on the court. Morant averaged 26 Points Per Game (PPG), 8 Assists Per Game (APG), and had a 23.3 Player Efficiency Rating (PER). Last year there was a stigma around him that the team was better without him, but he proved everyone wrong this year, as the Grizzlies were 6.2 points better per 100 possessions with Morant on the court than off the court. Not many people are taking the Grizzlies seriously this year but do not be surprised if they make noise in the playoffs this year.
Guard: Jalen Brunson
This one might be surprising to some people. Despite not making the All-Star team this year, Brunson had an All-NBA caliber season. This year he averaged 24 PPG, 6 APG, and had a 21.2 PER. Even though these numbers are impressive, they do not show how impressive Brunson was as a whole. The Knicks were projected to be the 10th seed in the East, and they finished the fifth seed. Brunson is a main reason for this. Many people thought they overpaid for him over the summer, but he sure proved them wrong.
Forward: Julius Randle
The second Knick on the list. Randle took a huge step back in 2022 after having a breakout year in 2021. He got right back on track in 2023. Randle averaged 25 PPG, 10 Rebounds Per Game (RPG), and had a 20.4 PER. Brunson and Randle were quietly one of the best duos in the league this year. Their ceiling will not be too high in the playoffs but the first-round matchup vs. Cleveland will be fun to watch.
Forward: Lauri Markkanen
If you were to tell me this time last year that I would be picking Lauri Markkanen to be on one of my All-NBA Teams, I probably would have laughed in your face. He was a borderline role player for most of his career, but he exploded this year. Markannen averaged 26 PPG, 9 RPG, and had a 22.1 PER. The Jazz fell off big time at the end of the year and did not make the play-in tournament, but Markkanen was the only guy that was holding things together for them all season long.
Center: Domantas Sabonis
Similar to Markannen’s situation, if you told me that the Kings were going to be the third seed this year, I probably would have laughed in your face. The Kings had the highest offensive rating in the league by over a full point, which is bigger than the gap between second and fifth. Individually, Sabonis averaged 19 PPG, 12 RPG, and had a 23.5 PER. Many people doubt the Kings’ ceiling in the playoffs, and it will sure be interesting to see how they do against Golden State in Round 1.
Guard: Luka Dončić
It is probably a bit surprising to some that someone who puts up the numbers Luka did is the only 2nd Team All-NBA on my list. He averaged 32 PPG, 8 APG, and 9 RPG, and had a 28.7 PER. What is keeping him from being 1st Team All NBA? Simply the fact that if your team didn’t make the play-in tournament, you were not good enough to be 1st Team All NBA. While some may see this as unfair, you need to do the bare minimum and be one of the 20 teams to make it to the postseason. While this season is certainly not all on Luka, he will certainly have a lot of motivation over the offseason to turn it around next year.
Guard: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Many people in the past couple of years just saw Shai as a stat padder who did not make his teammates better (If I’m being honest, I was one of them). He averaged 31 PPG, and 6 APG, and had a 27.2 PER. Many people thought the Thunder were going to be the worst team in the league this year after their first-round pick Chet Holmgren injured his foot which caused him to be injured for the whole year. Shai then proceeded to have his best season and lead the Thunder to the play-in tournament. They probably will not make it past the play-in tournament, but don’t be surprised next year if they are good enough to win a playoff series.
Forward: Jimmy Butler
Butler very quietly had an awesome season for the Heat. He averaged 23 PPG, 6 RPG, and 5 APG, and had a 27.6 PER. I thought he was one of the bigger snubs from the All-Star Game. Even though the Heat dropped down from the first seed to the seventh seed from last year to this year, this season is not on him. Even though they will not be the favorites when to get past round one (whether they play the Celtics or the Bucks), you can never count out Playoff Jimmy, he always takes his game to the next level come playoff time.
Forward: Jaylen Brown
Let’s get one thing out of the way. Jaylen Brown played 61% of his minutes either as a small or power forward this year, and 39% as a shooting guard. Voters should be voting on what he has played in the past, but what played this year. (Can you tell I’m a Celtics fan who wants voters to vote him in as a forward where he has a better shot of making an All-NBA team?) Anyway, regardless of what you vote him in as he was filthy all season long. He averaged 27 PPG, and 7 RPG, and had a 19.1 PER. There were a ton of rumors over the offseason that the Celtics thought about trading Brown for Kevin Durant this past year. This regular season he showed everyone why they made a good decision, let’s see if he continues to prove the same point in the playoffs.
Center: Nikola Jokic
The guy who won the past two MVPs and will probably finish 2nd in MVP voting this year is my 2nd Team All NBA Center, (Can’t wait until next year when the teams are positionless). This year Jokic averaged 25 PPG, 12 RPG, 10 APG, and had a 31.5 PER. These are MVP-like numbers but his lack of defense, voter fatigue, and the fantastic season Embiid had is what is holding him back from getting the MVP three years in a row. The Nuggets are the 1st seed and most would argue they are a shoo-in for the second round but are not sure if they can get past that. It would sure be interesting to see if this offensive powerhouse of a team can make an NBA Finals run.
Guard: Donovan Mitchell
Mitchell was the most underrated player in the league for years before this season but is finally getting his flowers. He averaged 28 PPG, and 4 APG, and had a 22.9 PER. This all included multiple 40-point specials at the end of the season, and scoring 71 earlier in the season. Many people were wondering how he would adjust to a new team, and he has been straight-up fantastic. Mitchell and the Cavs will be facing the Knicks in Round 1. If they win this series, they will probably be facing the Bucks. Though the Bucks would most likely win that series, do not be surprised if the Cavs give them a run for their money.
Guard: De’Aaron Fox
After many people called Fox’s contract the worst in the league, he proved every single person who doubted him wrong this year. He averaged 25 PPG, and 6 APG, had a 21.8 PER, and of course, was the driving force behind the number-one offense in the league. They are not favored in round 1 against Golden State, but the Warriors have not been consistent all season long. Even though I understand why people might be cautious to pick the Kings, they have been consistently great all year long, and can certainly make some noise in the playoffs.
Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo
My pick for MVP is the first forward on this All-NBA Team. Despite not playing what would be the required 65 games for next season, he was still very clearly the best player on the best team. Giannis averaged 31 PPG, 12 RPG, and 6 APG, and had a 29.0 PER. He also was of course able to lead the Bucks to the best record in the league, all with his second option Khris Middleton only playing 33 games this season. The Bucks are the favorites to win the title this year, and there are not many arguments against them. It will sure be interesting to see them try to redeem themselves from losing in round two last year.
Forward: Jayson Tatum
Despite having a pretty tough February, Jayson Tatum had a 1st Team All NBA-caliber season. He averaged 30 PPG, and 9 RPG, and had a 23.7 PER. He did this all while leading the team to the 2nd best record, 2nd best offense, 3rd best defense, and best-net rating in the league. Many people think it will come down to the Celtics and the Bucks, but there is still a lot of basketball to be played between now and what would be the Eastern Conference Finals. Despite Tatum already proving he can do a lot in the playoffs, he still has even more to prove, and it is going to be great to see what he can do this time around.
Center: Joel Embiid
The MVP favorite is the final guy on this list. Despite not being my MVP, he still has just as good of a case as anyone out there. He averaged 33 PPG (led the league), 10 RPG, and had a 31.4 PER. He did this on top of leading his team to a Top 10 offense and defense, and the third-best net rating in the league. There is a lot that goes into MVP voting, but when you have a guy who leads the league in scoring, plays elite defense, and, impacts wins, it is hard to not at least consider him for MVP. His main knock has been he has not been able to get past the 2nd round, let’s see if he can change that this year.
These fifteen guys were the most deserving of All NBA in my opinion. They all had tremendous regular seasons and should be awarded for it. Even though this is something almost all the players care about, the thing they care about most is how they capitalize in the playoffs. It will be awesome to see how all these guys play for the next few weeks.
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