With the 2014 NBA Finals set to commence on June 5, the league released its All-NBA teams for the 2013-14 season on Wednesday, honoring its top players for their fantastic regular-season campaigns.
According to Bleacher Report's Howard Beck, the first team is headlined by MVP Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat superstar LeBron James and three other deserving talents:
All-NBA teams: 1st: Durant, LBJ, Noah, Harden, CP3 2d: Griffin, Love, Howard, Curry, Parker 3d: George, Aldridge, Jefferson, Dragic, Lillard— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) June 4, 2014
The bulk of the selections for all three teams (including Durant, James and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul) were quite obvious, but a few names definitely jump off the page.
Among them is Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, who entered elite company in franchise history by being named to the first team, per Bulls radio producer Jeff Mangurten:
Joakim Noah is the fourth Bull (Jordan, Pippen, Rose) to make the All-NBA first team.— Jeff Mangurten (@JeffGurt) June 4, 2014
Noah enjoyed his best NBA season with averages of 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.5 blocks per game. He kept the Bulls competitive without Derrick Rose in the fold, so he clearly earned the honor.
Dynamic Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard found his way onto the All-NBA third team one season after being named Rookie of the Year. Lillard had lofty goals entering the season, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, but he accomplished them all:
Before the season, @Dame_Lillard told me his goals were playoffs, All-Star nod and All-NBA team. Some of you laughed. Check. Check. Check.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 4, 2014
Also, Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic reached new levels of success this season. Many considered him to be an All-Star snub, but he got the last laugh as he was named to the All-NBA third team as well.
There will always be arguments amongst fans regarding players who should have made it or players who don't deserve to be on one of the All-NBA teams, but the voters seemed to do a respectable job.
That didn't stop former RealGM columnist Jarrod Rudolph from complaining about the exclusion of New York Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony, however:
What is the biggest surprise regarding the 2013-14 All-NBA teams?
An All-NBA nod would have just been one more accolade added to an already long list for a guy like Melo. Someone like Dragic, on the other hand, has never gotten this type of recognition and may never receive it again.
The NBA's top stars earned their spots on the All-NBA teams, but it is fun to see players who aren't touted quite as much right alongside them.
Now that players like Noah, Lillard and Dragic are being mentioned in the same breath as Durant, LeBron and Paul, perhaps they will get their due credit from fans and observers moving forward.
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