All-NBA Teams, Playoffs Edition: Where Does Roy Hibbert Rank?

Jared JohnsonFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2013

All-NBA Teams, Playoffs Edition: Where Does Roy Hibbert Rank?

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    Making an All-NBA Team is one of the top honors an NBA player can receive. If a player makes one of the three teams, he knows he played at a very high level during the regular season.

    But during the playoffs, when playing at a high level matters the most, the only individual award given out is the NBA Finals MVP. Many players, such as Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers, have stepped their games up at the most important time of the year. So why not create a new set of All-NBA Teams based solely on playoff performance?

    To make one of the three teams, a player must be on a 2013 playoff team. Precedence will be given to players on teams who have advanced further in the playoffs, for two reasons: First, these players have provided a larger sample size for their statistics, and second, these players have lifted their teams to more victories. This does not necessarily disqualify players who were knocked out in the first round, however.

    Like the regular season All-NBA Teams, players will be classified as guards, forwards, and centers, as opposed to more specific position distinctions (e.g. point guard, small forward, etc.). ESPN.com's player profiles will have the final say on whether a player is a guard, forward, or center.

    Note: All stats are updated through Friday, May 31, and collected via Basketball Reference, unless otherwise indicated.

    Honorable mentions: David West, Kawhi Leonard, George Hill, Joakim Noah, James Harden

First-Team Guard: Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

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    Regular season per-game stats: 20.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.8 steals, 23.0 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: All-NBA Second Team

    Playoff stats: 23.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 0.1 blocks, 1.2 steals, 24.1 PER

    It's taken a while for Tony Parker to get the respect he deserves as one of the top point guards in the game. Despite a steady increase in production for the past four seasons, he has consistently been ignored in favor of players such as Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook, to name a few.

    Perhaps this is because of the Spurs' low-key approach to the media. Maybe it's because he has been overshadowed by the best power forward in NBA history and the best head coach in today's game, or maybe it's because people hate him for his divorce from Eva Longoria.

    Whatever the reason is, Tony Parker has finally made a name for himself this postseason. He shined brightest in the Spurs' sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies, in which he averaged 24.5 points per game and 9.5 assists per game on 53 percent shooting. All of this came while being guarded by Mike Conley or Tony Allen, both All-Defensive selections this year.

    Parker's stellar postseason has even prompted some high praise from ESPN analyst Jalen Rose's Twitter account:

    Hate it or love it...Parker IS the 3rd best player in the ENTIRE NBA. Period. Behind only LBJ & KD.

    — JALEN ROSE (@JalenRose) May 28, 2013

    Whether or not you agree with Rose, he made his point: Tony Parker is a superstar.

First-Team Guard: Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Regular season per-game stats: 14.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 0.3 blocks, 2.2 steals, 18.3 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: Did not make an All-NBA Team

    Playoff stats: 17.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 0.3 blocks, 1.7 steals, 19.0 PER

    Mike Conley was a defensive pest all year long, as evidenced by his inclusion on the All-Defensive Second Team.

    But in the playoffs, it was Conley's offense that rose to the occasion in guiding the Memphis Grizzlies to an unprecedented Western Conference Finals berth. The 25-year-old point guard showed off his steadily improving jump shot and a floater with either hand that drove defenders crazy.

    His accuracy from the field this postseason wasn't the greatest (38.4 percent), but Conley showed much more aggression in getting to the rim, averaging 6.2 free throws per game. That represented a sharp increase from the unimpressive 3.5 free throw attempts per game he averaged during the regular season.

    Jamal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers, a first-round opponent of Conley's, even went as far as to say Conley had reached Tony Parker's level, in a 5-on-5 discussion for ESPN.com. Crawford made these comments when the Spurs were only up 1-0 on the Grizzlies, but it is still a testament to Conley's improving game.

First-Team Forward: LeBron James, Miami Heat

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    Regular season per-game stats: 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 0.9 blocks, 1.7 steals, 31.6 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: All-NBA First Team

    Playoff stats: 25.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.5 steals, 27.8 PER

    What's left to say about LeBron James? He's the best player in the game right now by a wide margin, and not even the the biggest LeBron hater can deny it.

    That said, LeBron and the Heat haven't been quite as dominant as many expected them to be in this postseason.

    He hasn't had one of those "beast mode" games yet, like he had last year in Game 4 of the conference semifinals (40 points, 18 rebounds, 9 assists) and in Game 6 of the conference finals (45 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists). His 16-point third quarter in a winning effort against the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 was mind-boggling to watch, but he wasn't able to keep up that effort for the whole game.

    The Heat plowed through the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round in four games, but the Chicago Bulls gave them some tough games in the second round. Now, the Pacers are giving the Heat all they can handle in the conference finals, despite a 17-win disparity in the two teams' regular-season records.

    If the Heat do advance, LeBron will have to face a hungry and rested San Antonio squad in the NBA Finals. I don't doubt LeBron's ability to turn it on, but the way he is playing right now, beating the Spurs will be no easy task.

First-Team Forward: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

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    Regular season per-game stats: 17.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 2.7 blocks, 24.4 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: All-NBA First Team

    Playoff stats: 17.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.7 blocks, 20.3 PER

    Tim Duncan's stellar play at an advanced age doesn't just defy Father Time.

    I think Duncan might be Father Time himself.

    I can just picture him growing out that beard as he hibernates in his house each offseason, wearing a robe while holding a scythe and an hourglass. And he probably plays Dungeons and Dragons with some of his nerd posse for days on end.

    All jokes aside, Duncan has had himself quite the postseason. His stats are slightly worse than his regular season ones, but we'll give him a pass on that, considering the big men he's been facing. In the first round, it was Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. In the second round, it was Andrew Bogut and the physical Carl Landry. And in the conference finals, it was Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Yeah, I think it's safe to say that he deserves the 10 days of rest he's getting right now.

    If he wins his fifth championship this year, Duncan's resume will sure look a lot more impressive, especially considering how many years there were between his first championship (1999) and this year's.

    But Duncan doesn't care about his age-defying exploits or his personal resume. After Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, Duncan commented, according to an ESPN article, "I'm just here to play, man. I'm not worried about how old I am or whatever it may be; I'm very focused on having another opportunity to make it to the championship and try to win one."

First-Team Center: Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers

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    Regular season per-game stats: 11.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 2.6 blocks, 0.5 steals, 17.3 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: Did not make an All-NBA Team

    Playoff stats: 16.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.1 blocks, 0.2 steals, 21.6 PER

    Roy Hibbert wasn't even close to making the All-NBA First Team during the regular season. According to NBA.com, Hibbert got 9 points in the voting. The fewest points anyone on the first team had was 392 points (Tim Duncan).

    But that was regular season Roy. Postseason Roy is an entirely different beast, capable of breaking down any defender in the post with a mixed bag of moves and put-backs, as his Game 4 highlights against the Miami Heat will show.

    Thanks to his 7'2" frame, getting a shot off has never been a problem. But Hibbert has finally found a soft touch underneath the basket that has helped his scoring numbers and efficiency take off.

    Some may argue for Marc Gasol for this spot, and they have a point. But Marc's team came up small in the Western Conference Finals, whereas the Pacers have come to play against the Heat.

    Roy's 22.6 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per game on 55 percent shooting against the defending champions don't hurt, either.

Second-Team Guard: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

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    Regular season per-game stats: 22.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 0.2 blocks, 1.6 steals, 21.3 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: Did not make an All-NBA Team

    Playoff stats: 23.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 8.4 assists, 0.2 blocks, 1.7 steals, 20.7 PER

    The more talented member of the "Splash Brothers," Stephen Curry had himself a breakout postseason. An ankle injury (compounded with the defense of Danny Green) during the series against the Spurs put a damper on his effectiveness at the end of the Warriors' postseason run, but he still proved that he is certainly capable of being an All-Star next year, which many will consider a year overdue.

    While Curry's shooting gets most of the headlines, his passing was extremely impressive in the playoffs, as evidenced by his 8.4 assists. He mastered a nice one-handed hook pass which he used when he sensed a trap coming from the defense. Many times, the ball accurately found its way to a teammate for a wide-open jump shot.

    Hopefully, Curry's ankle will be back at the level it was before the injury by the start of next season. If so, look for Curry to go for his own three-pointer record, IF he can stay healthy.

Second-Team Guard: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Regular season per-game stats: 16.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, 9.7 assists, 0.1 blocks, 2.4 steals, 26.4 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: All-NBA First Team

    Playoff stats: 22.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 0.0 blocks, 1.8 steals, 29.3 PER

    We have arrived at the first "one-and-done" player from this postseason. And, spoiler alert: Chris Paul is the only player on this list from a team that lost in the first round.

    Even though the Clippers fell flat against the Grizzlies, losing four straight after winning Games 1 and 2, it wasn't Paul's fault. He picked up his scoring and his efficiency as his teammates failed to show up. In the series, the Clippers' second-leading scorer (after Paul, of course) was a hobbled Blake Griffin, who averaged just 13.2 points per game. That simply is not going to cut it.

    In the end, though, it is difficult to reward a player too much for losing, no matter how well he plays. And that is why you find Paul here, despite his immense talent and spectacular stats.

Second-Team Forward: Paul George, Indiana Pacers

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    Regular season per-game stats: 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 0.6 blocks, 1.8 steals, 16.8 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: All-NBA Third Team

    Playoff stats: 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 0.5 blocks, 1.3 steals, 17.0 PER

    Paul George is one of those guys whose stats aren't a great indicator of how well he is playing, mostly because he plays fantastic defense that doesn't show up in the box score. George was an All-Defensive Second Team selection from the regular season, and has kept the effort up in the playoffs, despite being matched up against superstars like Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.

    Make no mistake, though, George is not a superstar...yet. He needs to develop more consistency on the offensive end of the court, and be more careful with the basketball. He averaged 4.5 turnovers per game in the series against the New York Knicks and is averaging 4.6 per game in the series against the Heat.

    If the Pacers happen to come back against the Heat, and George is consistent with his shot and careful with the basketball against the Spurs in the finals, well then, we may already have the NBA's next superstar on our hands.

Second-Team Forward: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Regular season per-game stats: 28.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.3 blocks, 1.4 steals, 28.3 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: All-NBA First Team

    Playoff stats: 30.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.1 blocks, 1.3 steals, 26.2 PER

    Poor Kevin Durant. His Oklahoma City Thunder looked like the class of the West heading into the playoffs, but a meniscus tear to sidekick point guard Russell Westbrook in Game 2 of the first round doomed the Thunder.

    The Thunder had enough to finish off the Houston Rockets in six games, but the fierce defense of the Grizzlies was too much for the one-dimensional Oklahoma City attack. For all the criticism Westbrook draws for his erratic play, he is still a star that provides the Thunder with a second creator to take pressure off of Durant.

    Against Memphis, Durant scored well in Games 1 and 2 (35.5 points per game), but his efficiency dropped off a cliff in Games 3 through 5, especially during crunch time. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Kevin Durant made a combined 4 out of 22 shots for 9 points in the fourth quarter and overtime of Games 3 through 5.

    If Westbrook can come back at 100 percent at the beginning of next season, look for Durant to return to his normal, clutch self.

Second-Team Center: Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Regular season per-game stats: 14.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.7 blocks, 1.0 steals, 19.5 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: All-NBA Second Team

    Playoff stats: 17.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.2 blocks, 0.9 steals, 19.5 PER

    Marc Gasol might be the most versatile big man in the NBA. It's not every day that you get a Defensive Player of the Year who is fantastic on the offensive end, but that is Gasol.

    He scores with his back to the basket, he scores facing up, and he can shoot the mid-range jumper (even though he doesn't really jump). And did I mention that he led all post players in assists during the regular season?

    In a battle of unathletic yet supremely skilled big men in the Western Conference Finals, however, Gasol was outplayed by 37-year-old Tim Duncan. Gasol shot just 39.7 percent from the field, which ended up being one of the killers for the Grizzlies, who needed all the offense they could get. It was an unfortunate end to a nice playoff run by Gasol and Grizzlies.

    But, looking to the future: Will Marc Gasol have a better career than his brother Pau? It's certainly something that bears watching in the coming seasons.

Third-Team Guard: Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs

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    Regular season per-game stats: 11.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 0.2 blocks, 1.3 steals, 19.0 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: Did not make an All-NBA Team

    Playoff stats: 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 0.4 blocks, 1.4 steals, 19.1 PER

    Manu Ginobili has caught some flak for his inconsistent shooting this postseason, and rightfully so. The 35-year-old combo guard has shot only 38.3 percent from the field, 32.4 percent from three-point range, and 71.2 percent from the line, all sizable dips from his regular-season averages.

    But does that mean he's playing badly? Absolutely not. Ginobili has stepped up as an elite playmaker for the Spurs when Tony Parker sits on the bench. Ginobili's per 36 minute averages? 16.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 7.5 assists. Many of his assists have been of the "nutmeg" variety, where he passes the ball between his opponent's legs.

    Ginobili has also been a clutch performer, thanks to his willingness to make the big play and not get rattled by pressure situations. Most notable was his game-winning three pointer against the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the conference semifinals.

    If Ginobili can pick up his shooting efficiency while still playing his dazzling brand of all-around basketball, the Spurs will be a tough team to beat in the NBA Finals.

Third-Team Guard: Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

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    Regular season per-game stats: 21.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 0.8 blocks, 1.9 steals, 24.0 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: All-NBA Third Team

    Playoff stats: 13.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 0.9 blocks, 1.6 steals, 17.7 PER

    Dwyane Wade is here almost by default. Many of the best guards in the NBA right now are either injured (including him), did not make the playoffs or got knocked out of the playoffs too early to be considered.

    Wade's bone bruises on his knee have visibly limited his effectiveness on the court the entire postseason. An article by the New York Times' Steve Greenberg noted before Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals that Dwyane Wade had gone nine consecutive games without scoring 20 points. Since then, Wade has played two games in which he has scored 16 and 10 points, respectively. So the streak is alive at 11. All this, after a season in which he averaged over 21 points per game.

    But, despite his struggles, Wade is still well above-average as an NBA guard, with his ability to contribute in areas besides scoring.

    Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra commented on Wade's persistent attitude in a USA Today article during the Bulls series:

    "He's not making excuses for himself. He just finds a way to impact the game whether it is in the box score or not. It's great to see him respond like that."

Third-Team Forward: Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

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    Regular season per-game stats: 28.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.5 blocks, 0.8 steals, 24.8 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: All-NBA Second Team

    Playoff stats: 28.8 points per game, 6.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.2 blocks, 1.1 steals, 20.5 PER

    Like Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony suffered from a serious lack of offensive help this postseason, after getting solid amount during the regular season. Sixth man of the year J.R. Smith couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, shooting 33.1 percent from the field, and Jason Kidd was somehow much worse than Smith.

    Anthony had to force up dozens of contested shots due to all the extra defensive attention he got from the Boston Celtics in Round 1 and the Pacers in Round 2. However, the Celtics and Pacers do deserve a lot of credit for make life so difficult on Anthony and his teammates.

    The end of this season is definitely one to forget for Anthony, and for the Knicks' sake, I hope he comes back looking to prove to the world that this postseason was a fluke.

Third-Team Forward: Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Regular season per-game stats: 15.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.4 blocks, 0.8 steals, 17.9 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: Did not make an All-NBA Team

    Playoff stats: 17.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.5 blocks, 0.7 steals, 17.8 PER

    The Western Conference Finals were not kind to Zach Randolph. In the Grizzlies' sweep at the expense of the San Antonio Spurs, Randolph averaged just 11.0 points per game on 30.2 percent shooting, thanks to the Spurs' scrambling defense and Randolph's general frigidity from the field.

    As a whole, however, Randolph was respectable this postseason. He bullied Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka in the first two rounds of the playoffs, but just didn't have it in Round 3.

    Due to Randolph's immense struggles late in the playoffs, many are saying that the Grizzlies should trade him. D.J. Foster from ClipperBlog mentioned in an ESPN 5-on-5 discussion that Randolph should be traded, because his backup, Ed Davis, is an up-and-coming player than earns less than one-fifth as much money as Randolph. I would tend to agree with Foster; it's time to cut the cord.

Third-Team Center: Chris Bosh, Miami Heat

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    Regular season per-game stats: 16.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.4 blocks, 0.9 steals, 20.0 PER

    Regular season acknowledgement: Did not make an All-NBA Team

    Playoff stats: 13.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.5 blocks, 0.6 steals, 17.4 PER

    Like Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh has not played up to his usual standards this postseason, but unlike Wade, he doesn't have a serious injury to use as an excuse. Sure, he exited Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a tweaked ankle, but he was playing by the next quarter.

    It's one thing to have a shot that isn't falling, which Bosh is dealing with right now. But it's another thing to get taken to school on defense (see the Roy Hibbert slide) and stop rebounding the ball, as Bosh is only averaging 3.6 rebounds per game in the series against the Indiana Pacers.

    Luckily for Bosh, most of the other centers at a comparable skill level to him (Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Kevin Garnett) were knocked out of the playoffs too early to beat Bosh out for this spot.

    Bosh is obviously an incredibly skilled big man. For the Heat's sake, let's hope that he works things out and gets back to the star level that everybody knows he can play at.