For those of you who haven’t yet checked out my All-NBA first team, you can find the relevant article here. If you already have, read on.
The CYE All-NBA second team
G – Dwyane Wade
Here by virtue of a more rounded line than Gilbert Arenas, D-Wade can no longer be seen as a precocious youngster on his way to stardom. Having put up twenty-seven, six and seven despite facing double teams on an almost nightly basis, the man Shaq dubbed “Flash” has gone from being a vision of the future to a present power who may have been considered an MVP candidate were it not that he plays alongside a former winner of the award. With a wingspan just shy of 6’11”, he’s capable of causing havoc on defence, being one of the few stars of his generation to put in equal effort on both sides of the ball. Barring a mental major or physical breakdown, Wade should be featuring in all-league teams for some years to come.
G – Allen Iverson
You can question Iverson’s inclusion here if you consider Philadelphia’s poor showing this year to be his fault to some extent. However, to my mind, there’s little more A.I. could have done, and for that he deserves recognition. Despite taking a beating every time he steps on the floor, he averaged the best numbers of his career in his tenth year as a professional, and with little help from a disappointing Philly squad, he put up thirty-three points and seven dimes a night, noticeably better numbers than the thirty-one and five of his MVP year in ’00-’01.
F – Elton Brand
Had Nowitzki been listed as a forward-centre, I would have selected him as a five and given Brand a spot on the first team. However, since Dirk was only down as a forward, I was left having to decide which of the two players would make the cut, and, in my first two drafts, it was Elton who won out. Having given the matter further thought, however, I realised that most would opt for a seven-footer equipped to score from anywhere on the floor over a prototypical four. Nonetheless, E.B. has been an invaluable asset to the Clippers this year, scoring consistently from the block and holding down the paint at the other end equally well. If he improves upon his first-rate regular-season performance in the playoffs, I’ll regret not picking him for the first team even more.
F – Shawn Marion
I debated whether or not to give K.G. this spot, but his disturbing tendency to disappear in the fourth prompted me to instead add The Matrix to my All-NBA second team. Forwards standing 6’7’’ who average a double-double and shoot over fifty percent from the field are rarities, and Marion is every bit as good as his numbers would suggest. He’s not just about the buckets and boards either; Shawn finished the season twelfth in blocks per game (which is all the more impressive given that he’s shorter than a number of point guards) and fifth in steals, showing that he deserves consideration as one of the league’s greatest all-round contributors.
C – Shaquille O’Neal
You all know by now how much it hurts me to put Shaq anywhere but on the first team, but I’m sure you can appreciate why it had to be done this year. The good news is that I was apparently correct in assuming that he was treating the easy eighty-two as a warm-up for the postseason, with The Big Everything showing he still meant business with his domination of the bewildered Bulls in game one of their series. He may have forced me to place Yao ahead of him by averaging career lows in points, rebounds and assists this season, but there’s still nobody I’d choose ahead of him as the centrepiece of a playoff team.
Let me know how your rankings would have differed from mine by commenting below or by emailing me directly at [email protected]. I’ll be back with the third installation in my All-NBA series at some point on Thursday afternoon. Until then, take it easy.