With the Eastern and Western Conference finals underway, the NBA released its three All-NBA teams:
2016-17 All-NBA First Team
- James Harden, G, Houston
- Russell Westbrook, G, Oklahoma City
- LeBron James, F, Cleveland
- Kawhi Leonard, F, San Antonio
- Anthony Davis, C, New Orleans
2016-17 All-NBA Second Team
- Stephen Curry, G, Golden State
- Isaiah Thomas, G, Boston
- Kevin Durant, F, Golden State
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Milwaukee
- Rudy Gobert, C, Utah
2016-17 All-NBA Third Team
- John Wall, G, Washington
- DeMar DeRozan, G, Toronto
- Jimmy Butler, F, Chicago
- Draymond Green, F, Golden State
- DeAndre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers
Some of these rankings were deserved while others were highly questionable. Either way, these rankings could have drastic effects on the future of several players in the NBA.
Paul George, F, Indiana
Despite all of the phenomenal players present on the All-NBA teams, one of the noticeable absentees was Pacers forward Paul George. In 75 games this season, George averaged 23.7 points per game and shot over 46 percent from the floor. He also averaged over six rebounds per game and around six assists per game. Although he averaged .2 points per game less than Third Team member Jimmy Butler, he still averaged more rebounds and assists per game and arguably should have replaced Butler on the All-NBA Third Team.
Due to his potential snub, George can potentially miss out on a five year $210 million dollar contract with Indiana when he becomes a free agent in 2018. According to the Designated Player Extension, a part of the new collective bargaining agreement, every NBA team has the ability to offer their current players more money than any other team in order to encourage them not to switch teams. In this case, the Pacers could have offered George $75 million more than any other team in 2018 if he made an All-NBA team either this season or next season.
With George not qualifying for this extension this season, it is more likely that he will be traded during the offseason since the Pacers cannot offer him that extra $75 million unless he makes an All-NBA team next season. If the Pacers want to keep him for another season and he does not make an All-NBA team next season, it is very likely that George will leave for greener pastures and the Pacers will get nothing in return. It is now very possible that he will be on the trading block and could potentially go to Boston or Los Angeles in exchange for a top two pick in the upcoming NBA draft.
Gordon Hayward, F, Utah
Similarly to Paul George, Hayward’s inability to make an All-NBA team makes him likely to become an unrestricted free agent. The only difference is that he is eligible to enter free agency this offseason instead of next season. Hayward averaged 21.9 points per game along with 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Unfortunately for him, that was not good enough to make one of the three teams which makes him ineligible to receive a $200 million contract this offseason.
Hayward and the Utah Jazz had a phenomenal season including a playoff series victory over the Los Angeles Clippers before getting swept by the Golden State Warriors. This Jazz team is very solid but lacks another complementary superstar that will allow them to effectively compete with the Warriors and Spurs in the Western Conference. With Utah’s inability to attract top tier free agents, it will probably take awhile to develop the talent required to become championship contenders which can cause Hayward to leave. Hayward might want to leave this offseason for a team like the Boston Celtics who is currently closer to being a title competitor than the Jazz.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Milwaukee
Back in 2016, the Milwaukee Bucks signed Antetokounmpo to a four year deal worth $100 million. Yesterday, Antetokounmpo was named to the All-NBA second team for the first time in his career. Antetokounmpo averaged 22.9 points per game along with 8.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists. He led the Bucks to the six seed in the Eastern Conference and Milwaukee’s first playoff berth since the 2014-2015 season. The four year deal actually saved the Bucks a lot of money in the short term and allows them to potentially target some expensive free agents over the summer. Barring any injuries, Antetokounmpo will probably be an All-NBA team member for a long period of time and will be able to sign a $200 million contract with the Bucks in the future which boosts the Bucks’ chances of keeping him for a long time.
Antetokounmpo’s commitment towards the Bucks bodes very well for the franchise’s young core alongside Jabari Parker, Khris Middleton, Thon Maker and Malcolm Brogdon. If the Bucks’ young talent is able to progress and develop, then they could potentially dominate the Eastern Conference in the post-Lebron era several years down the road. Until then, the Bucks’ talent and youth will lead them to multiple playoff berths but they need to add several scorers off the bench and another superstar if they want to immediately enter title contention.