All-NBA voting needs to be revamped

by Marc Narducci | May 31, 2022
All-NBA voting needs to be revamped

The NBA should change the way it votes for the All-NBA teams. First off, the NBA has two guards, two forwards and a center selected for each of the three All-NBA teams.

We keep being told that the NBA is about positionless basketball, yet the media who vote for the teams, are told to vote for players by position.

This has caused considerable controversy, especially in Philadelphia, where Joel Embiid was second in the MVP voting for the second year in a row to Nikola Jokic of Denver. In both seasons, Jokic was the first-team center and Embiid was the second-team center.

So the second-best player in the estimate of the voters couldn’t make it to the first team.

This year gave yet another example of a voting procedure in dire need of change.

The teams were selected by a global panel of 100 voters, consisting of sportswriters and broadcasters.

A first-place vote was worth five points. A second-place vote was worth three and a third-place vote was worth one. 

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo was the only player who received all 100 first-place votes for a total of 500 points.

Here were the total point totals of the All-NBA players

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First Team
F Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee, 500
G Luka Doncic, Dallas, 476
C Nikola Jokic, Denver, 476
G Devin Booker, Phoenix, 460
F Jayson Tatum, Boston, 390

Second Team
C Joel Embiid, Sixers, 414
G Ja Morant, Memphis, 301
F Kevin Durant, Brooklyn, 276
G Stephen Curry, Golden State, 274
F DeMar DeRozan, Chicago, 184

Third Team
C Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota, 174
F LeBron James, LA Lakers, 169
G Chris Paul, Phoenix, 174
G Trae Young, Atlanta, 110
F Pascal Siakam, Toronto, 63

Notice something about the math? Embiid had more total points (414) than Jayson Tatum (390), who made the first team. Yet Tatum had more votes at forward. Embiid, for instance, had 57 total first-place votes, 12 at the center and 45 at forward.

 So the 12 first-place votes at the center, while adding to his overall point total, don’t count as a forward, which is why Embiid didn’t get selected to the first team.

This is to take nothing away from Tatum, who is one of the true young stars in the NBA, the MVP of the Eastern Conference finals, but it also shows the absurdity of the process.

If the NBA picked the top five, then Embiid would have earned the spot.
Then there is another issue.

Several players receive bonuses based on the number of All-NBA selections they earn. So the sportswriters and broadcasters are helping determine if a player can earn even more financial gain.

Should those covering the league be put in the position to impact a player’s contract?

This was voted on in the collective bargaining agreement, so the players signed off on it, but it puts both the voters and the players in a tenuous situation.

It seems that both the All-Star voting and end-of-the-season voting should not include positions. For All-NBA, just pick the 15 best players. For All-Star voting, just pick the top five to be the starters.

When the NBA runner-up for two straight seasons can’t earn first-team All-NBA honors, then this is a system that appears to be broken and needs plenty of fixing.
Image courtesy of Getty Images 


Author: Marc Narducci

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