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All-NBA First Team Picks: Doncic Over Curry, DeRozan; Could LeBron Make It?

It's hard to narrow down the league's most talented players to a list of five, but we took a crack at it with our All-NBA First Team picks for the 2021-2022 season.

As the 2021-22 NBA season comes to a close, it's time to shift focus to the playoffs. But before that, there are a number of regular season awards that need to be discussed, including the Most Valuable Player, Coach of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player and others.

Although it's hard to narrow down the league's most talented players to a list of five, DallasBasketball.com took a crack at it by making our All-NBA First Team picks with the reasoning behind those picks. Luka Doncic has worked his way into MVP talks, so has he all but assured himself a First Team spot at this point? Have the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls stumbled enough recently to knock Steph Curry and DeMar DeRozan down to the Second Team? Should LeBron James get any consideration for what he's done statistically at age 37?

Let's talk about it.

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Dalton Trigg: There is so much special talent in the NBA that it’s hard to narrow it down to just five guys, but if the season ended today, my All-NBA First Team would be:

  • Ja Morant
  • Luka Doncic
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Nikola Jokic
  • Joel Embiid

As much talk as there has been about Doncic playing well enough to enter the MVP race, I don’t there’s a realistic shot of him winning it unless voters take into consideration his head-to-head matchups against all of the other candidates. However, I do think he’s played well for a long enough period of time to make his third-consecutive First-Team appearance. If we’re being honest, Doncic had already passed up Steph Curry and DeMar DeRozan on the list before the Warriors and Bulls’ recent struggles. But with Curry out for pretty much the remainder of the regular season and Chicago fading, Doncic’s chances have only increased.

Kirk Henderson: This is really difficult for me because when I look at MVP candidates, I immediately start thinking about All-NBA teams. And right now, I believe the top three MVP candidates each deserve a spot on the First Team, but it depends on how flexible the league is with positions. In the end, I'm going with the same list of guys Dalton took:

  • Ja Morant
  • Luka Doncic
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Nikola Jokic
  • Joel Embiid

I don't like knocking Kevin Durant down to second team, but there's just no room. I also happen to think that for as good as Ja and Luka have been, there is a wide gap between those two and Giannis, Jokic, or Embiid in terms of impact. To some degree, the guards on the First Team feel like a war of attrition with someone like Chris Paul or Devin Booker deserving some love, but both of them being on the same team feels like it could cancel out their impact in this kind of thing. DeRozan's faded just enough as well to be left off the first team. But when we're talking about guys at this level, it's such a splitting hairs situation.

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Lance Roberson: When will the NBA allow voters to select the top 15 players for All-NBA teams instead of placing positional restrictions? Unfortunately, we don't have the answer to that, but until then, here is my All-NBA First Team:

  • Ja Morant
  • Luka Doncic
  • LeBron James
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Nikola Jokic

Firstly, I feel weird not having Stephen Curry on my first team. However, due to a positional lock, I had to make the tough decision. Ja Morant and Luka Doncic have played more games and have ascended while Curry's production dipped before suffering his foot injury.

Placing LeBron James on my first team is another internal debate that caused me to wince. Although his team stinks and the idea of him pushing for Russell Westbrook warrants criticism, James is leading the NBA in points per game, and despite playing 10 fewer games than Curry, trails by only 12 points in total points for the season. Finally, the last point in my case for a player on a losing team to make the first team: James has a higher true shooting percentage than Curry.

The next two on my list with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic are no-brainer locks for first team. Admittedly, Joel Embiid deserves an honorable mention for the first team, but I believe Jokic is also MVP, which caused the Philadelphia 76ers center to slide to the second team.

Grant Afseth:

  • Ja Morant
  • Luka Doncic
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Nikola Jokic
  • Joel Embiid

When evaluating the top-five MVP candidates at this current stage of the race, these are the five names that are most commonly going to be mentioned. There's probably been too many missed games from Kevin Durant to qualify. LeBron James' Lakers have underachieved too much in the win column for him to grab a spot on First-Team.

Stephen Curry was a serious MVP candidate early in the season, but his mid-season slump coupled with him now being sidelined due to injury diminishes his appeal for being one of the two best guards in the NBA this season. With Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid both being front-runners for MVP right now, getting them both on the First-Team makes a lot of sense.