With the announcement of this season’s All-NBA teams, the players deemed currently best in their position have been revealed. This year, Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the regular season MVP, Joel Embiid, have been selected as members of the best starting five. The lineup of players holds, without a doubt, some of the finest talent the league has to offer.
But despite the great individual performance of all the selected players for the All-NBA teams, some of them have seen their season end earlier than they anticipated. That is why it is the perfect time to analyze the situation and define the next step in their careers.
Luka Doncic, the star that lost its smile:
Ever since his arrival in the best basketball league in the world, Luka Doncic has given solid arguments to be considered a generational talent, a kind of player that does not appear frequently and is destined for greatness if things go his way.
With only five seasons of experience under his belt, the Slovenian has managed to achieve tremendous feats such as becoming the tenth player with the most triple doubles in NBA history, leading a Mavs team that did not feature any other stars to a conference finals appearance, scoring over 9000 points or recording averages of over 27 points, almost nine rebounds and eight assists per game.
However, ever since being granted the help he had been asking for in the shape of a trade to acquire Kyrie Irving, things have stopped working out in Dallas. The Mark Cuban-owned franchise missed out on the Playoffs after posting a record of eight wins and 12 losses since the Australian’s signing. An extremely result considering that the team was speculated to have a chance to qualify as the fourth seed in the conference.
As for Luka’s future, it all depends on what Irving does once free agency hits. If the former Cleveland Cavaliers star decides to leave (some rumors link him to the Lakers), Luka Magic will be back to square one: the Mavericks roster is not precisely loaded with talent and, if he is left “on his own,” he will once again have to carry the offensive load by himself.
In that case, Doncic’s goal would probably be the regular season MVP he has been a candidate for the past three seasons (although the team’s record usually plays an important role in choosing the winner of the trophy). If Kyrie stays, both players would have to better adapt to each other to turn Dallas into a contender to win the championship.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two sides of a coin:
Despite both being eliminated from the title race, the current situation of SGA and the Greek are totally different. They may very well be the leaders of the most surprising team in the league and one of the biggest disappointments of the season respectively.
The Canadian has had a breakout year to define himself as the franchise cornerstone for the Thunder, leading them to the play-in in a season with very little initial expectations for Oklahoma and proving that they have as bright of a future as any other team in the NBA.
In contrast, the two-time MVP has been eliminated in the first round of the postseason by a Miami Heat squad who held just the seventh best record in the conference. Nobody can question Antetokounmpo’s performance on the court, but his conformism after being eliminated (giving a questionable speech on failure in a press conference) has been heavily criticized.
In the coming season, Shai will try to lift OKC to even greater heights, while Giannis will begin a redemption campaign as the leader of the Bucks, who will try to remain competitive at the top of their conference. Though, this time, the expectation for both players and their respective teams will be different.
Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum and the battle to reign in the east:
The Process and Tatum are the only two players from the announced first-team that remain in contention for this season’s championship. Currently, they happen to be facing each other to decide who will reach the conference finals.
As a result of Boston’s win in game six, the series is now tied with three wins a piece and a game left to be played in the TD Garden, which puts the Celtics in a great spot to potentially reach the finals for a second consecutive year.
However, the Sixers should not be counted out, as they already managed to steal games one and five of the series in Boston’s arena. They also have Joel Embiid, who has been outstanding in what could be “his year”. After winning the most valuable player award he had been chasing for many years, the Cameroonian is also looking to end his bad streak in the Playoffs, leading Philly to their first finals appearance since 2001, when they were led by the great Allen Iverson.
All-NBA second and third teams:
Like every other year, aside from the five protagonists that are part of the All-NBA first team, another ten players are selected as members of the second and third All-NBA teams. That way, they are widely considered the second and third best players in their positions throughout the season. The selections for the 2022-2023 season were the following:
All-NBA second team:
Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors.
Donovan Mitchell – Cleveland Cavaliers.
Jaylen Brown – Boston Celtics.
Jimmy Butler – Miami Heat.
Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets.
All-NBA third team:
De’ Aaron Fox – Sacramento Kings.
Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers.
LeBron James – Los Angeles Lakers.
Julius Randle – New York Knicks.
Domantas Sabonis – Sacramento Kings.
Main image: @celtics.