The league has announced its 2018-19 All-NBA teams, and just like most years, there are players who deserve to be on the list but didn’t make it. Though the voters did a near-perfect job, there are those who question the inclusion of some and the exclusion of other, more deserving players.
In truth, the voters may have just missed out on one particular player who should have made the cut at the expense of another while the two others could have made an All-NBA Team but didn’t mainly because of the lack of slots available. Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors was dumbfounded that he wasn’t on any squad while the Portland Trail Blazers’ C.J. McCollum could have made a case for himself as well.
Here are the players who made the prestigious list:
First Team: G Stephen Curry, G James Harden, F Paul George, F Giannis Antetokounmpo, C Nikola Jokic
Second Team: G Damian Lillard, G Kyrie Irving, F Kawhi Leonard, F Kevin Durant, C Joel Embiid
Third Team: G Kemba Walker, G Russell Westbrook, F LeBron James, F Blake Griffin, C Rudy Gobert
3. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
2018-19 Key Stats: 25.9 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.6 steals, 2.4 blocks, 30.36 PER
Davis submitted numbers that deserved inclusion into any of the All-NBA Teams. Unfortunately, since he only played in 56 games, he was virtually eliminated from the discussion. That mostly had to do with his well-publicized trade demand from the New Orleans Pelicans more than games missed due to injuries.
Nevertheless, Davis had the third highest PER in the league behind Antetokounmpo and Harden as the three players’ production was separated by a few decimal points only. If Davis had played in at least 70 games and led his team to the playoffs, he definitely would have been in the running for MVP honors like the other two.
Interestingly, LeBron James made it to the Third Team even though he played in less games than Davis with only 55 appearances this season. But it was clearly the numbers game that eliminated Davis from the discussion as there are only three centers in total who can make it to the squads unlike forwards and guards who have six slots available.
2. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
2018-19 Key Stats: 24.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 blocks, 26.38 PER
Towns or Gobert is more of a toss-up on the All-NBA Third Team at the center position, but the deciding factor was likely the latter’s impact on his team making the playoffs. As the franchise player of the Minnesota Timberwolves, the seven-foot center had career highs in rebounds, assists, steals, and in 3-pointers made and attempted (shooting at a 40 percent clip) while playing in only 33.1 minutes per game. His 3-point shooting percentage is 29th in the entire league and the highest of any center.
He was also 15th in scoring, seventh in rebounding, ninth in blocks per game, and tied for seventh in double-doubles.
He is undoubtedly one of the best players in the game. The only reason why he didn’t get more votes is probably because his team didn’t win more games (36) and they missed the playoffs this season.
1. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
2018-19 Key Stats: 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 47.5 percent FGs, 35.1 percent 3-point FGs, 20.8 PER
His team missed the postseason this year, but that doesn’t mean Beal didn’t deserve to be on one of the All-NBA teams. In fact, Beal had the most votes of any of the snubs indicating that many of the voters believe that he should have been on one of the teams.
If there’s one player who could have been bumped off from the list, it’s probably Kyrie Irving in favor of Beal. Irving’s leadership skills (or lack, thereof) were the topic of discussion after the Celtics struggled in the middle of the season. Though his stats this season were spectacular as always, the fact that his team underachieved despite having a stacked roster means that his performance had largely been more for individual glory than team success.
While the Washington Wizards didn’t exactly play like playoff contenders this season, Beal wasn’t responsible for their downfall. More than anyone on their roster, it was the 6-foot-5 shooting guard who kept the team afloat with John Wall’s absence after he underwent season-ending surgery in January.
With Wall’s absence, Beal submitted career highs across the board particularly in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and minutes per game. Unlike Irving, his presence led his team to more wins than what could have been expected of the injury-riddled Wizards who won 32 games despite missing Dwight Howard for most of the season also.