Well, here we are. The 2022 National Basketball Association has just about two weeks left in its regular season, which means that most of the storylines, including the All-NBA 2022 teams, have formed.
The Los Angeles Lakers have fallen out of the playoff picture while the Milwaukee Bucks reminded the Eastern Conference that they are still the team to beat, but today, the focus falls on the players that made the season possible.
Here is this writer’s All-NBA team selections for the 2022 season.
All-NBA 2022 Third Team
The Phoenix Suns’ starting point guard has aged as gracefully as almost any player in basketball history, helping to steady their offense and serve as a leader on defense. Paul’s injury absences forced him to fall down the list, but his 15.0-point, 10.8-assist average, the latter of which leads the league, is still elite.
The Atlanta Hawks’ star has been flat-out phenomenal this season; it is unfortunate that his team is only 38-37 and 10th in the Eastern Conference, but his line of 28.0 points and 9.6 assists is sensational. Young also has the fifth-best PER in the league, which is exceptional for a smaller, ground-bound guard.
DeRozan made a real push for MVP around the All-Star Game, though he has fallen off to an extent since then. He has been central to the Chicago Bulls’ drastic overall improvements, but he and his team’s terrible record against top opponents relegate him to the third team.
Butler has one of the less-impressive stat lines of all players on these lists, but he is the best player on a Miami Heat team leading the East. Miami is viewed as a fraudulent one-seed but has a chance to prove everyone wrong in the playoffs.
KAT has helped lead the Minnesota Timberwolves on a ridiculous post-All-Star Game surge, moving them to 43-33 and seventh in the West. Towns is shooting nearly 41% from outside while averaging 24.6 points and 9.8 rebounds, cementing him as one of the three best centers in the game.
All-NBA 2022 Second Team
Save it, Curry fans, the Davidson product is shooting a career-worst 38% from beyond the arc and is going to miss the final weeks of the season with an injury. Curry has still been spectacular at moments and helped lead the Golden State Warriors to the West’s third-best record, but he has not been his usual unstoppable self.
Luka has managed to make his way into the MVP conversation after he sat out a few games early in the season because of conditioning problems. His line of 28.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 8.5 assists has helped guide the Dallas Mavericks to the West’s fourth-best record, and they are going to be a tough out in the postseason.
Like others on this list, Durant has been hurt by injuries that forced him to miss time. The usually-clutch unicorn has also missed key opportunities against other star players this season, rendering his 29.7-point scoring average secondary to his team’s 40-36 record.
It is a real pain to have to put both Durant and LeBron in the second team after the heroics they have pulled in the later stages of their careers, especially LeBron; the “King” is leading the league in scoring with 30.1 points per night, but his Lakers team is only 31-44 and outside of the play-in seeding.
There is a strong chance that either Nikola Jokic or the first-team center win MVP this season, but because of the rules, one has to make the second team. Jokic is having one of the most incredible statistical seasons ever and has been playing without his two best teammates, but he gets a slight tick off for not elevating his team any higher than the six seed and being a bit of a late-game defensive worry— not a liability, just worry.
All-NBA 2022 First Team
Enough people have heard the stat that the Memphis Grizzlies are 18-2 when Morant does not play— while that may remove him from MVP consideration, he absolutely belongs on the All-NBA first-team list. Morant is one of the league’s most exciting players, has outstanding averages (27.6 points, 6.7 assists, 5.7 rebounds), embodies the culture in Memphis, and is the lifeblood of his squad.
Devin Booker is the best player on the best team in the NBA; he is averaging 26.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.9 assists and is among the best players in crunch time. He can score from nearly anywhere on the court, seems to always answer the call when pushed against a wall, and increased his production during Chris Paul’s absences, rightly earning him a spot as one of the two best guards in the league this year.
A once-hot take of a pick has become a prevailing opinion after Tatum helped his team around from 23-24 to 47-29, good for third in the East and one game off of first. The former Duke man also leads the league in defensive win shares in addition to his 27.1-point, 8.1-rebound, 4.3-assist average, and he deserves serious MVP consideration.
The best player in the league on both ends often flies under the radar for a multitude of reasons: he plays in small-market Milwaukee, plays fewer minutes than all other superstars, and seems to be able to sleepwalk his to 30-points double-doubles every night. Giannis does often take the opportunity to remind the world what he is capable of, most recently last night by dropping 40 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, and the game-saving block against Joel Embiid’s Philadelphia 76ers.
One of the two favorites for MVP is thriving without Ben Simmons and as the clear-dominant offensive option, although his role has been slightly impacted by the arrival of James Harden. Even still, Embiid has shown a new mastery of mid-range and low-post moves, plays with more intent and aggressiveness, and is an ever-present defensive weapon.