In a surprise that reflects just how weak the current crop of centers are in today's NBA, the league announced that Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan has been named to the 2015-16 All-NBA First Team for the first time in his career. His teammate, guard Chris Paul, has been selected to the 2015-16 All-NBA Second Team. This is the fifth year in a row the Clippers have had at least two players make All-NBA Teams.
NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and forward LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers lead the 2015-16 All-NBA First Team. Curry is the only player to receive First Team votes on all 129 ballots, earning First Team honors for the second straight year. James (125 First Team votes) has been named to the First Team for the 10th time in 13 seasons, tying seven players for the second-most selections in NBA history.
Joining Curry (645 total points), Jordan, and James (637 points) are two players making their debuts on the All-NBA First Team: Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (627 points, 120 First Team votes) and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.
The All-NBA Second Team consists of forwards Kevin Durant of the Thunder and Draymond Green of the Warriors, center DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings and guards Chris Paul of the Clippers and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.
The All-NBA Third Team is composed of forwards Paul George of the Indiana Pacers and LaMarcus Aldridge of the Spurs, center Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons and guards Klay Thompson of the Warriors and Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors.
A member of the All-NBA Third Team last season, Jordan is just the third second round pick since 1992-93 to make an All-NBA First Team.
The Texas A and M product had another career-year, leading the NBA in field goal percentage (70.3) for the fourth season in a row while ranking second in rebounds (13.8 rpg) and blocks (2.3 bpg). He also averaged 12.7 points in 77 games (all starts) and became the first player in NBA history to shoot at least 70% from the field in multiple seasons while tying for fourth in the NBA in double-doubles with 49.
Jordan is an outstanding defender whose impact on the glass and as a menacing shotblocker are undisputed. But what is surprising is how a player with such limited offensive game can garner First Team recognition.
Offensively, Jordan is simply a role player. Although he is unselfish and a tremendous finisher at the rim (often from lob passes created by Paul), he still cannot create his own shot or a command a double-team in the post. When coupled with his ineptitude at the free throw line, he clearly is not a player that a team can run its offense through in half court sets.
No better evidence of these weaknesses were seen than in the Clippers' final playoff game this season, when stars Paul and Blake Griffin were out with injuries. In the Clippers' hour of need, the team turned to guards Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers for offense, rather than Jordan.
In another era, Jordan would not even make the All-NBA Third Team.
This is Paul’s third time making the All-NBA Second Team (2015, 2009). He was voted All-NBA First Team three times (2014, 2013, 2012).
Paul had another stellar season that saw him make his ninth straight All-Star appearance and also earn a spot on the NBA All-Defensive First Team for the fifth straight season. Paul was third in the NBA in steals (2.05 spg), fourth in assists (10.0 apg) and fourth in free throw percentage (.892), while averaging 19.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in 74 games (all starts). He had the best assist-to-turnover ratio (3.8) among players that appeared in at least 60 games.
Curry helped the Warriors (73-9) to the best record in NBA history and won the NBA MVP Award for the second year in a row, joining Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Steve Nash as the only guards to earn the honor in consecutive seasons.
Curry led the league in scoring (30.1 ppg), three-pointers made (an NBA-record 402), free throw percentage (90.8) and steals (2.14 spg), along with averaging 6.7 assists and a career-high 5.4 rebounds. He shot a career-high 50.4 percent from the field, the NBA’s highest mark among guards, and made 45.4 percent from three-point range, good for second in the league.
Curry became the seventh qualifying player in NBA history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from beyond the arc and 90 percent from the foul line.
James joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Bob Cousy, Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Bob Pettit and Jerry West as 10-time First Team selections, one behind the all-time record shared by Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone.
In 2015-16, James ranked fifth in the NBA in scoring (25.3 ppg), his league-record 12th straight season averaging at least 25.0 points. A three-time NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month this season, James added 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists (tied for eighth in the NBA) and shot 52.0 percent from the field to lead the Cavaliers to an East-best 57-25 record.
Westbrook averaged 23.5 points (tied for eighth in the NBA) and career highs of 10.4 assists (second in the NBA) and 7.8 rebounds, joining Oscar Robertson as the only players in league history to average at least 23 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for a season (Robertson did it four times).
The Thunder guard also recorded 18 triple-doubles, equaling the most in the NBA since Magic Johnson reached that total in 1981-82. Westbrook notched seven triple-doubles in March, the most by an NBA player in a calendar month since Michael Jordan had the same number in April 1989.
Leonard was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season, the first non-center back-to-back winner since Dennis Rodman in 1989-90 and 1990-91. Behind Leonard, the Spurs (67-15) produced their best regular season in team history and held opponents to league lows of 92.9 points per game and 96.6 points per 100 possessions. A first-time All-Star this season, Leonard averaged a career-high 21.2 points and ranked third in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage (44.3).
The All-NBA Teams were chosen by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. The media voted for All-NBA First, Second, and Third Teams by position with points awarded on a 5-3-1 basis. Voters were asked to select two guards, two forwards and one center for each team, choosing players at the position they play regularly.
Other players receiving votes, with point totals (First Team votes in parentheses): James Harden, Houston, 106; Paul Millsap, Atlanta, 84; Anthony Davis, New Orleans, 76 (1); Al Horford, Atlanta, 76 (2); Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota, 44; DeMar DeRozan, Toronto, 26; Hassan Whiteside, Miami, 24 (1); Isaiah Thomas, Boston, 20; Pau Gasol, Chicago, 16 (2); Jimmy Butler, Chicago, 12; Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas, 8; John Wall, Washington, 7; Kemba Walker, Charlotte, 6; Tim Duncan, San Antonio, 3; Gordon Hayward, Utah, 3; Dwight Howard, Houston, 3; Carmelo Anthony, New York, 2; Marc Gasol, Memphis, 2; Andrew Bogut, Golden State, 1; Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers, 1; Brook Lopez, Brooklyn, 1; Tony Parker, San Antonio, 1.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services