The fun part about NBA awards season is the arguments. But this year, while the championship race seems wide open and ripe for plenty of debate, most of the regular season awards were no-brainers. LeBron for MVP? Easy. Dwight Howard for Defensive Player of the Year? Easy. Tyreke Evans for Rookie of the Year? Easy. (OK, not really; the fans in Milwaukee and the Bay Area will have a chip on their shoulders for the next decade over that one.)
So it’s only according to form that the All-NBA First Team, which was unveiled earlier today, is a pretty clear statement on who are the five best players in the NBA today, leaving little room for argument.
LeBron and Dwight were unanimous picks, getting all 122 possible First Team votes, and they’re joined by Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant. Kobe was near unanimous with 119 First Team votes, while KD had 107 and Wade got 81.
Steve Nash, Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki and Amar’e Stoudemire make up the Second Team, with Nash getting the most First Team votes (24) among that group.
Joe Johnson, Brandon Roy, Pau Gasol, Tim Duncan and Andrew Bogut make up the Third Team.
There weren’t really any surprises for me until that third group. I think Bogut was rightfully the third-best center in the League this year, I’m just surprised he got due credit. I was expecting somebody like Al Horford to get that spot. And with B-Roy missing so much time with injuries, I thought Derrick Rose or Jason Kidd would get his spot.
Other notes from the votes:
* Among players who didn’t crack the final 15, Chris Bosh had the most votes with 80 total. The next-highest, Rajon Rondo, was far behind with 47.
* People love J-Kidd. Back in February he was thrown onto the West All-Stars as an alternate over Aaron Brooks and Monta Ellis, yesterday he got one All-Defensive First Team vote, and Kidd got more All-NBA votes than D-Rose. I love Kidd, too, but that’s why I figured he would get a spot on the Third Team; even if he wasn’t one of the six best guards in the League, he always has voters in his corner. On that same note, Kevin Garnett got one All-NBA vote.
* Chris Paul played 45 games, his team missed the playoffs, and yet he still got more votes than Manu Ginobili (75 games).
* I’m surprised Zach Randolph got a lot more votes than Josh Smith, Paul Pierce and Gerald Wallace. Not complaining, just surprised.
* Notables who didn’t get a single vote: Ray Allen, Stephen Jackson, Joakim Noah, Antawn Jamison, Shaquille O’Neal, Monta Ellis, Aaron Brooks, Ron Artest, Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Andre Iguodala, LaMarcus Aldridge, Russell Westbrook, Hedo Turkoglu and Caron Butler. Not saying they should have gotten a vote, though.
* No rookies got a vote.
* Nobody from the Pistons, Warriors, Rockets, Wolves, Sixers, Kings or Wizards got a vote.