The award of All NBA first team honors is a heavy one. It could be considered stronger than the All Star honor, just because there are only 5 spots to give out. I will break down the best pick for each position for All NBA first team selection as we approach the end of the NBA regular season.
Kevin Love – PF – Minnesota Timberwolves
2013-2014 Stats: 25.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 4.4 APG, 2.4 3sPG
Kevin Love has had a monster year this season. Bouncing back from an injury riddled season last year, Love has been one of the best forwards this season. His passing has improved drastically, as shown by his 3 triple doubles. Unfortunately, there are two reasons that Love cannot be put on the first team. First, his team is not a playoff team and has not experienced anymore success than last season. Secondly, he plays the forward position. So does LeBron James and Kevin Durant. If they were to not be on the All NBA first team, then this list would not be very credible. Kevin Love is definitely the first choice for All NBA second team, though.
Blake Griffin-PF- Los Angeles Clippers
2013-2014 Stats: 24.1 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.1 SPG
Blake Griffin has finally grown into a top 5 power forward in the NBA. In fact, I would say he is the second best PF. Love is first. Unfortunately for them, All NBA first team does not specify into SF and PF, so these guys cannot get on the team with LeBron and Durant still in the league and playing ridiculously.
Chris Paul-PG-Los Angeles Clippers
2013-2014 Stats: 19.1 PG, 10.7 APG, 4.4 RPG, 2.5 SPG
Chris Paul has been the top PG in the league for the last few seasons, and that remains true this season. But the reason he is not the All NBA first team PG is because our prediction has had a more drastic effect on his team’s success (see our predictions below). Chris Paul still claims the top spot in PG power rankings, but the amazing play of Blake Griffin has lightened the load for CP3 this season along with his injuries.
Point Guard: Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors
2013-2014 Stats: 23.6 PPG, 8.5 APG, 4.3 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 4 triple doubles
Steph Curry has played out of his mind this season. Half of the splash brothers duo, Curry is carrying the Warriors. The Warriors have clinched the playoffs and most likely the 6th seed. His PER of 23.87 is good for 11th in the league, and his 4 triple doubles is tied for 1st. Curry has been a consistent weapon for GSW since being drafted. He boasts percentages of 42% from downtown and 47% from the field. It is hard finding another player that has been the sole driving force in his teams success. Damian Lillard has Lamarcus Aldridge, Chris Paul has Blake Griffin, and Tony Parker has everyone on his team. Curry should be looked at as the most versatile guard in the league right now, stretching his arsenal from passing to dead eye three shooting to solid field goal percentages. Golden State looks to face the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the Western conference playoffs, and a showdown between Curry and runner up Chris Paul should prove pretty exciting.
Shooting Guard: James Harden – Houston Rockets
2013-2014 Stats: 25.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 6.1 APG, 1.6 SPG
James Harden is the top shooting guard in the league right now. He has no competition in the category right now with Kobe Bryant out all season and Wade nagged by injuries. Harden has been the star Houston was looking for for so long. Paired with Dwight Howard, Harden has the Rockets looking at playoff success. The Rockets will most likely play the Trail Blazers in the first round. That is a very winnable game for Harden and his crew. Harden’s shooting percentages could be a bit better from downtown (he only posts a 37% rate) but overall he is a very dependable first scoring option and team star. Harden is a shoe in for this honor.
Forward: Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder
2013-2014 Stats: 31.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 3 triple doubles, League Leading Scorer
Kevin Durant has been the best player in the league this season. He most likely will take home MVP honors, and is the most obvious choice for All NBA first team. While it is tough not granting Love or Griffin a spot on this team, you cannot beat LeBron and KD in this category. Durant will team up with LeBron as the 2 forwards on the All NBA first team for the fifth time in the last five years. Durant leads the league with a PER of over 30 (30.22). At only age 25, expect Durant to be part of this team for quite a few more times.
Forward: LeBron James – Miami Heat
2013-2014 Stats: 27.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 6.4 APG, 1.6 SPG
4 time MVP LeBron has had a very LeBron like year this season. That explains in itself why LeBron deserves a spot on the All NBA team. LeBron is a close second behind Kevin Durant in PER rankings 29.45. He is shooting a ridiculous 56% on field goals this season.His 3 point shooting is not spectacular (38%), but that is excusable. His numbers are slightly below his career averages, but LeBron is not slowing down. An underdog to win the MVP for the first time since Derrick Rose took home the honors, LeBron has a lot to prove with his Heat team this postseason.
Center: Joakim Noah – Chicago Bulls
2013-2014 Stats: 12.5 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.5 BPG, 1.2 SPG, 4 triple doubles
Joakim Noah has been a huge surprise this season. Always thought to be a solid center with low scoring capabilities and pretty good passing skills, Noah has upped his game dramatically this season. His average of 5.3 APG is the highest among big men, and that number does not even begin to represent his impact on the court. Noah has 4 triple doubles so far this season, tied for first in the league alongside Steph Curry and Lance Stephenson. While his scoring is not what got him onto this list, it is definitely a useful part of his game, especially for Chicago. Noah hits 47% of his shots for the Bulls, which helps Chicago’s offense run fluidly. Overall, Noah and Durant may be the most deserving players on this team for these honors. Noah has really stepped up without Derrick Rose for the second straight year and has put himself out there as the teams leader.
All stats courtesy of espn.go.com
Don’t agree with the team predicted here? comment below with what you think should be the All NBA first team. Also, comment your thoughts on who should make the All NBA second team!