The All-NBA teams were announced on Thursday, and the first team is as follows: Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James and DeAndre Jordan.
One of those names is surprising. Jordan isn't the best player on his own team, and he finished eighth overall in All-NBA votes. The Los Angeles Clippers center made the cut because of a technicality.
From the NBA's press release:
Voters were asked to select two guards, two forwards and one center for each team, choosing players at the position they play regularly. Players who received votes at multiple positions were slotted at the position where they received the most votes.
The second sentence there is the important one, and it represents a change in how the league calculates these results. Draymond Green primarily plays forward, but he also regularly plays center and was arguably the best player at that position this year -- the Golden State Warriors' "death lineup" with Green in the middle outscored opponents by 47 points per 100 possessions in the regular season. Since Green received more votes as a forward than as a center, he was bumped from the first team to the second team.
In the grand scheme of things, this is not an enormous injustice. It is curious, though, given that the NBA took the center position off the All-Star ballot four years ago. Under last year's rules, Green would have made the first team simply because he got some votes at center. It seems strange to start being more stringent about positions here, while the league has been going the other direction for years.
The process is strange, and the result feels wrong. Jordan had the best season of his career, but Green's work for a team that won an NBA record 73 games was much more impressive.
Kevin Durant was also affected. If All-NBA had a backcourt-and-frontcourt format, like All-Star, then he would have made the first team over Green. Durant probably would have made it if voters could ignore positional designations entirely, like with the All-Rookie team. With modern stars like Durant and Green showing they can defend every position and make plays from all over the court, maybe that's the right way to go.