NBA Awards: Predicting Who Will Be All-NBA This Season
Well, the 2012-13 NBA season is winding down, meaning that coaches and sportswriters are casting their ballots for the NBA awards. Some, like the Most Valuable Player, are not up for debate, but others have some interesting contenders.
Here are the 15 men I have getting selected to All-NBA teams this year.
Advanced stats courtesy of Basketball-reference.com
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Tony Parker, Spurs: The aging Parker is again averaging more than seven assists a game and has cracked the top 10 in player efficiency rating for the second time in his career. He is fourth in the league this year in win shares per 48 and is shooting .526 from the field.
Stephen Curry, Warriors: It’s been almost two decades since the Warriors had a player make an All-NBA team. This should be the year they break that trend.
Curry is ninth in the NBA in win shares, ahead of Wade, D-Will and even Carmelo. He is leading the league in made threes by an incredibly wide margin and is seventh in the league in points per game. He’s also in the top dozen in total assists and top 20 in both total steals and effective field-goal percentage.
Third-Team Center: Tyson Chandler, Knicks
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Another year, another field-goal-percentage crown for Chandler. Though Chandler’s block numbers have again taken a hit, he is in the top 15 in total rebounds and win shares, and he leads all bigs in win shares per 48.
Paul George (blue) guarding Luol Deng
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Tim Duncan, Spurs: The old man does it again. Duncan is leading all fours in PER, with a 24.7 that’s good enough for fifth in the league. Duncan is third in the NBA in blocks per game and is one of only five players who are averaging eight or more defensive boards this season. He is also leading the league in defensive rating and is in the top 10 in win shares per 48 minutes.
Paul George, Pacers: George has more than filled the shoes of injured cornerman Danny Granger. He is leading the league in defensive win shares by a substantial margin and is third in the league in defensive rating. He’s also in the top 10 in steals while averaging a career-high 17.5 points per game.
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James Harden, Rockets: Harden is having a breakout year since being traded to Houston. Harden is currently fourth in the NBA in points and fifth in points per game. He has more win shares than any other guard except Chris Paul and is in the top 10 in the league in steals.
There’s certainly an argument for having James Harden ahead of Kobe Bryant on the All-NBA First Team, as Harden is besting Kobe in PER and win shares. However, Kobe bests Harden in several other important categories, such as total points and assists.
Russell Westbrook, Thunder: Westbrook is third among guards (Paul, Harden) in win shares. He’s also the only player to be in the top seven in both, with 585 assists and 1827 points.
Second-Team Center: Dwight Howard, Lakers
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Howard has had a lackadaisical season this year, but somehow he’s still leading the league in rebounds per game and is second in total rebounds as well as field-goal percentage. Howard is also pulling down 2.4 blocks a game. Despite the fact that Howard has been hurt and the Lakers can’t play D to save their lives, he’s somehow still 10th in the league in defensive win shares
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Carmelo Anthony, Knicks: Anthony is the third-best player in the NBA right now. He’s posting the best PER of his career and is leading the league in points per game by a hair. Unfortunately, he’s also the third-best cornerman in the league, meaning he falls to the second team.
Blake Griffin, Clippers: Griffin is one of only three players (LaMarcus Aldridge, David Lee) to be in the top 20 in both points and rebounds per game. Of those three, Griffin has the best player efficiency rating and is the only one of the three to be in the top 10 in win shares.
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Before I reveal my First Team selections, here's a look at the two forwards, two guards and a center who had a shot at being All-NBA, but just missed it.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Blazers: Aldridge is leading all 4s in points this season and is 17th in the league in rebounds per game. However, his PER and win-share numbers are down from his lone All-NBA Third Team selection in 2011.
David Lee, Warriors: Lee is leading all power forwards in rebounds and rebounds per game and is also in the top 15 in points per game.
Marc Gasol, Grizzlies: Gasol is the one man most responsible for the Grizzlies being where they are. He is leading all centers in total win shares. Gasol is also in the top 10 in both blocks and defensive rating.
Dwyane Wade, Heat: Some people would have Wade over Curry, but I wouldn’t. Curry has more points, more assists and more win shares. Though Wade is 11th in total points on the season, he’s only seventh among guards. He’s ninth among guards in win shares despite playing on the winningest team in the East.
Jrue Holiday, Sixers: Holiday is third in the league in total assists behind Chris Paul and Greivis Vasquez and also among the league leaders in steals. Holiday is averaging a career-high 18 points a game, good enough for 17th in the league.
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Chris Paul, Clippers: With Rajon Rondo hurt, Chris Paul is far-and-away the best point guard in the NBA. Paul is also in the top 20 in true shooting percentage. Paul is third in the NBA in both PER and win shares behind LeBron and KD. Paul is leading the league in steals per game and is second in the league in assists per game. Paul is also in the top 20 in the league in true shooting percentage.
Kobe Bryant, Lakers: Look for the ever-resilient Bryant to make his 11th All-NBA First Team. Bryant is second in the league in total points and seventh in win shares. He’s also 12th in the league in PER while laying in a career-high 6.1 assists per game.
First-Team Center: Brook Lopez, Nets
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Lopez is the only center in the league to average 18 or more points per game or to have a player efficiency rating over 24. He’s also seventh in the league in blocks and in the top 25 in win shares while shooting .522 from the field.
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LeBron James, Heat: LeBron is the runaway MVP favorite this season, making him a lock for the All-NBA First Team. He has a player efficiency rating that is three points better than anyone else's. He has more win shares than anyone else. He’s third in the league in points and fourth in points per game. He’s also in the top seven in assists and leading the league in made field goals.
Kevin Durant, Thunder: Kevin Durant is pretty clearly the second-best player in the NBA right now. Durant is second in PER, second in win shares (both to LeBron), second in defensive win shares (to Paul George) and a close second (to Carmelo Anthony) in points per game. Durant is leading the league in total points and is second in the league in true shooting percentage at .644