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Tatum, Embiid Expose Flaws In NBA Voting; Where Spurs' Murray Finished

The league award voting system reached a low-point after Joel Embiid was second in MVP voting, but landed on the All-NBA Second-Team.

There is always must anticipation and debate surrounding the annual NBA season awards. Perhaps the 2021-22 season inspired more discussion with Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid being the top MVP candidates while both being centers.  

Many suggested that Jokic and Embiid could simply be voted for the All-NBA First-Team despite both being centers by having Embiid split votes as a forward. Ultimately, it was Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo that made it as forwards while Embiid landed as a member of the All-NBA Second-Team. 

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers
Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers

The All-NBA First-Team is supposed to consist of the five best players during a given season. For a player like Embiid to finish second in MVP voting results but ultimately end up not being honored as one of the five best players in the NBA shows a disconnect. 

Tatum, who ended up being on the All-NBA First-Team over Emiid, is quite familiar with the discrepancies that can take place with voting results. Being left off an All-NBA Team last season caused Tatum to miss out on a $32.6 million boost due to not being eligible for the supermax.

“What’s the saying? A day late and a dollar short,” Tatum said. “It wasn’t really being incentivized by the money (last year). I just kind of felt disrespected. I’m just thankful (this season). First-Team All-NBA, that’s a big deal, so I am grateful for that.”

Technically, the voting is set up in a way where Embiid could have been voted as a forward to also make the All-NBA First-Team next to Jokic. However, many of the voters did not approach it that way — complicating the process overall. 

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs
Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs

“I do think it should be positionless,” Tatum said. “Joel Embiid was second in MVP voting and he made second team? It doesn’t really make too much sense.”

As teams deploy increasingly smaller lineup combinations, the NBA has shifted toward being increasingly positionless. At some point, the process for award voting should reflect as such. 

The San Antonio Spurs did not encounter an issue with the candidacy of their players this season. Dejounte Murray received the most consideration and received a total of one vote for All-NBA Third-Team with no other player receiving a vote.