Wednesday , May , 02 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Calling the Squads: All-NBA Teams

The tradition of naming an All-NBA Team has been around for as many seasons as the NBA itself, dating all the way back to the 1946-47 season. I found this interesting. Not surprising, or intriguing – don’t confuse the words. It was just interesting, that’s all. In 1946 the league was called the BAA, Basketball Association of America, and a dude named Stan Miasek was on the All-NBA First team that season. If you don’t think that’s interesting for the sheer oddity of it considered in the context of today’s NBA, you probably aren’t as easily entertained as I am.

Calling the Squads: All-NBA Teams

The tradition of this writer prediction the players selected to the All-NBA Teams has only been around since about last year, not quite the same sparkling history, but hell, I’m more entertaining than Stan Miasek.

All-NBA First Team

Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
After calling him the MVP for two years in a row (I was in denial for the first one), endlessly heaping praise on him for just as long, and essentially calling him the most dominant player of the era, it should come as no surprise I think Nash should be a unanimous pick for All-NBA First Team. I don’t believe in the strict ‘by position’ way of setting up the NBA Teams, but simply comparing Nash to any other point guard, you won’t find a more consummate play maker and floor general.

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
So long as Kobe doesn’t ever wake up one morning with his knees caps on backwards, we might as well reserve him a permanent spot on this list for the next few years. Sure, the scoring average is down from last year’s, but it’s not like a league leading 31 points per is real shabby, and not to mention higher assists and rebounds totals. Beyond that, Bryant’s late season explosion was possibly some of the best basketball we’ve ever seen from him.

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
If you listened to enough of the criticism thrown at LeBron this season, you might think he doesn’t belong on the first team. You would be wrong. I’ll be the first to say LeBron hasn’t seemed to keep up with the level of improvement that we saw in his first two seasons, but as I’ve been saying since the beginning of his career, that isn’t a reason to get impatient and turn on him. The truth is LeBron has put up numbers comparable to any other guard in the league and has got the Cavs more poised for a deep playoff run them they ever have before. LeBron remains in an elite class and he deserves to be recognized for it.

Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
Dirk has had what many have called an MVP season, even though he isn’t the MVP. My criticisms of Nowitzki put aside, I have no grounds for saying Dirk is anything but a great player with unique and near unstoppable offensive talents. He continues to be one of the toughest match ups in the league and has only become more aggressive and assertive with each season. His struggles and the struggles of his team in the playoffs may be troubling, but in the regular season Dirk was the best player on the best team and that’s reason enough to put him on first team.

Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
While I like to off handedly joke at the idea of giving someone a permanent spot here, Duncan is about as close as it comes, having made one of the All-NBA Teams every year of his career, in addition to his All-Defense selections. Last season, however, I came to the conclusion after much arduous deliberation that he shouldn’t have been selected, simply due to some injuries that slowed him. Fully healthy this season Duncan has regained his old form, dominating the defensive end and once again becoming the Spurs consistently effective go-to option on offense. You don’t have to talk about him much, just remember he’s still one of the premier players in this league.

All-NBA Second Team

Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards
A late season injury cut Gilbert’s year short and derailed any chances the the Wizards had at a playoff run. Not to be forgotten, however, is how well Arenas played during the season when he was healthy. Mid-way through the season Arenas had to be considered right up there with Kobe and Nash for MVP candidates. There was a point when it looked like Arenas could lead the league in scoring and have the Wizards much higher up in the standings then where they ended up, injury stopped all that, but his early season efforts are not to be dismissed.

Allen Iverson, Denver Nuggets
Every year when I start thinking about who I want to stack where on these teams my immediate reaction is to want to put Allen Iverson on first team, it seems he starts off there on every first draft, and then gets bumped down when I scrutinize the issue further. There’s little to complain about in his game and his numbers in scoring and assist are always top ten, but I struggle to put him above a Kobe or LeBron as those two have carried their teams somewhere, whereas Iverson struggled to take Philly anywhere and only reached success in Denver with another superstar. Iverson is great, but so many worthy guards leave even some great players on second team.

Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
While we’re here, might as well get Carmelo in also. Anthony was leading the league in scoring for a solid portion of the season, finishing second only to Kobe Bryant in points per game with an impressive 28.4 average. ‘Melo has built up an offensive arsenal that puts him among the elite pure scorers in the league and is only rivaled by the best of the best. Some short comings in other parts of his game keep him off first team, but his level of scoring alone puts him above others at his position.

Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
I’ve not been real big on the Raptors this season, having trouble believing the young team could do damage in the playoffs, but I’ve always been big on Chris Bosh. Coming out of a draft class that includes LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony, Bosh perhaps hasn’t always gotten the attention he deserves, but I’ve been saying this guy is superstar material for a while and I think people are beginning to realize that. Bosh has led Toronto to a playoff season behind his 22 points, 11 rebound averages and he’s quickly made himself into one of the best forwards in the game.

Marcus Camby, Denver Nuggets
I could go a lot of different ways on this one, but wanting to pick a true center, and excluding Shaq and Yao for games missed due to injury, I had to go with the Defensive Player of the Year. Camby has been a huge plus for the Nuggets, providing just about the only solid consistent defense they get on that team. And again, in terms of pure center willing to play his role in the middle of shutting down the lane from penetrators and low post opponents, it doesn’t get better than Marcus Camby.

Let me hear what you think.

Of all discussions to be had by hoops fans I’ve always thought the All-NBA Teams were one of the best, only because they can shake down so many different ways. Whether you want to agree, disagree, or just post some thoughts, hit the comment box down below to let me know what you think.