2023 All-NBA predictions: Picking all 3 teams, biggest snubs

Picking the 15 players who are the most deserving of becoming part of the illustrious 2023 All-NBA teams is a thankless task, especially when millions of dollars in real life money are on the line for players based on whether they make it or not. In today’s NBA, that task is even more difficult given how razor thin the margins are between the league’s 15-best players and those just outside it.

But life is full of difficult choices, and this is no different. There are definitely shoo-ins to make an All-NBA team, such as MVP candidates Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, and Luka Doncic. But other players that would have been shoo-ins in other seasons, such as Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard could end up missing the cut due to their injury woes.

Meanwhile, the presence of positions (which will be gone next season) on the All-NBA teams despite the increasingly positionless nature of basketball remains a point of contention for some, especially when it fails to reward the very best players who only lose out due to the depth of talent in their position.

With that said, here are the 15 players who are most deserving of making the 2023 All-NBA teams based off their sustained excellence throughout the 2022-23 regular season.

All-NBA First Team

C: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid’s inclusion on the All-NBA First Team will only mean one thing: he has finally won his coveted MVP award after two years of finishing second to Nikola Jokic.

If there ever was a time for the Sixers big man to win the MVP, it’s this year, regardless of narrative. Embiid took his scoring game to new heights this season (33.2 points on a career-best 65.5 percent true shooting) without sacrificing anything on the defensive end. Some of his NBA peers, such as Draymond Green (who is one of the most credible individuals on the planet to pass judgment) even view him as the most difficult player in the league to defend.

Throughout the 2022-23 season, Embiid showed that he has been a cut above the rest, and he should be rewarded with the first All-NBA First Team distinction of his career.

PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

The best player on the team that finished with the best record in the NBA, Giannis Antetokounmpo remains quite the nightmare to deal with for teams on either end of the floor.

Antetokounmpo suffered a bit of slippage when it comes to efficiency, and he wasn’t able to take care of the basketball as well as he has done in recent years. Moreover, his defensive output hasn’t quite been as stellar as his Defensive Player of the Year-caliber past.

Even then, the Bucks star unquestionably remains as one of the five-best players in the NBA, a force of nature that’s impossible to stop.

SF: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum may not be the most stellar pull-up threat, but his three-level scoring mastery remains quite the puzzle to deal with for even the best perimeter defenders.

Averaging 30.1 points for a team that finished with one of the best net ratings of all time, Tatum is well worth his weight in gold.

SG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder have made the play-in tournament, and it’s thanks in large part to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s breakout into one of the craftiest scoring guards in the league. It’s rare for players to take on a heavier offensive workload and become even more efficient, but that’s exactly what SGA did throughout the 2022-23 campaign.

If Gilgeous-Alexander manages to weaponize the three-point shot that he sort of mothballed this past season even further, then he could very well elevate his game to even loftier heights. He’s only 24, after all.

PG: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

The Mavs’ 2022-23 season has been a colossal failure, but it’s difficult to blame Luka Doncic too much for his team’s collapse. In 66 games, Doncic averaged 32 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 8.0 dimes a night, doing everything in his power to keep the Mavs’ heliocentric offense humming amid his teammates’ inconsistencies. The Mavs will definitely have to address their defensive woes to keep the Slovenian wunderkind happy for the long haul.

All-NBA Second Team

C: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets 

Make no mistake about it, Nikola Jokic is very much worth an All-NBA First Team selection, perhaps over Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, if the NBA permitted voters to choose without the positional restrictions. For a player who averaged 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 9.8 assists on 63.2 percent shooting from the field to not make the All-NBA First Team is borderline criminal.

(Jokic needed just 12 assists to become the third player in league history to average a triple-double.)

Even then, the Nuggets star should not feel any shame in finishing second to someone who’s been as great as Joel Embiid was this past season.

PF: Julius Randle, New York Knicks

By virtue of per-game production, Julius Randle may end up losing out to the likes of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and LeBron James. But Randle’s ability to deliver All-Star production for the Knicks on a nightly basis certainly played a huge part in them finishing with 47 wins on the season.

Randle missed just five games, with all of those coming late in the year after he suffered an ankle injury. Before that, he played in 77 straight games, averaging 25 and 10 for the resurgent Knicks, which makes him a very deserving All-NBA Second Team selection like he was back in 2021.

SF: Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

It was a bit surprising to see Jaylen Brown having to plead his case for an All-NBA selection, but his resume speaks for itself. He averaged 27 for a Celtics squad that’s not lacking in weapons, proving himself as a piece worth keeping even as he finds himself as the subject of trade rumors aplenty.

This All-NBA Second Team selection will also do wonders for Brown’s next contract, as he will become eligible for an eye-popping five-year, $290 million deal if he earns this distinction. And from the looks of it, there’s no good reason for him not to make it.

SG: Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers

The addition of Donovan Mitchell has done wonders for the Cavs, as they will now be making the playoffs for the first time since LeBron James left town. Averaging a career-best 28.3 points per night on career-best efficiency, Mitchell has given the young Cavs some much-needed security, specifically on offense, as the 26-year old two guard, who’s a lock to show up on almost any given night, is able to relieve Darius Garland and Evan Mobley of pressure on that end of the floor.

And he scored 71 points too, which definitely counts for something.

PG: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

Speaking of players who scored 71 points, Damian Lillard’s 2022-23 campaign is unfortunately diminished by the fact that his Blazers, once again, have missed the playoffs. Make no mistake, however, for Lillard is still as good as it gets, averaging 32.2 points per game on a career-best 64.5 percent true shooting.

It was definitely close between Lillard and Gilgeous-Alexander for who was more deserving of an All-NBA First Team nod, but in the end, SGA wins out because he played more games and his team made the play-in tournament.

All-NBA Third Team

C: Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings

Domantas Sabonis has arguably been the Kings’ most important player, a nightly triple-double threat who’s responsible for commandeering the Beam Team’s league-best offense.

PF: Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz

Lauri Markkanen has truly been impressive in his first season as the go-to-guy, averaging 25.5 points and 8.6 rebounds for a Jazz team that no one really expected to be competitive this season. Markkanen has certainly done enough to hold off the other players who, despite being more impactful on a per-game basis, have missed too many games.

SF: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

There’s no way that LeBron James misses his first All-NBA team since his rookie season in a year where he broke the NBA’s all-time scoring record, no?

His inclusion certainly calls the exclusions of Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard into question, but it’s certainly looking like the narrative will be on James’ side, especially with the Lakers turning their season around after such a horrid start.

PG: De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings

Statistically the most clutch player in the league, the Kings wouldn’t have achieved anywhere near what they did without Fox’s fourth quarter takeovers. Fox also played in 73 games, making him one of the more durable players on this list.

PG: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry remains an otherworldly offensive force, and he’s one of the main reasons why the Warriors haven’t completely faltered despite their putrid record on the road. Sure, he played in just 56 games, but there’s hardly been anyone more valuable to his team than the best shooter of all time.

Honorable mentions/biggest snubs: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers; Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns; Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers; Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies; Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

Kawhi Leonard has definitely been playing at an All-NBA level for the majority of the season, but he didn’t exactly begin the season on the right foot, and he has also missed a ton of games for a Clippers squad that needed his contributions badly.

Meanwhile, Kevin Durant didn’t even cross the 50-game mark, so as well as he has played throughout the season, it’s fair to reward those who have managed to stay healthier for their teams. (Even LeBron James ended up playing in more games than KD did.)

Ja Morant may not find himself in the good graces of voters after his off-court troubles, while the Lakers may not be deserving of multiple All-NBA selections given their team performance, so Anthony Davis finds himself on the outside looking in.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler may be the toughest omission, given how efficient he has been despite the Heat’s collective trouble in putting the ball through the hoop.

The post 2023 All-NBA predictions: Picking all 3 teams, biggest snubs appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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