Basketball

Overtime Heroics 2022 All-NBA Third Team

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As of Sunday, April 10th, another regular season is in the books. From another wild trade deadline to ongoing injury stories across the league, the NBA didn’t disappoint in excitement this season.

Preseason title favorites like the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers now find themselves in the Play-In Tournament or out of post-season contention at all, while surprise teams filled with youth pushed their way into playoff contention like the No. 2 seed Memphis Grizzlies and the No. 8 seed Cleveland Cavaliers.

However, as is the case for each NBA season, individual awards come hand-in-hand with team success – whether the players like to admit it or not. Team success does, however, play a big role in how individual awards are determined, even if they act as nothing more than a tie-breaker between two players with similar resumes.

For the sake of these All-NBA selections, we will be operating under the same rules the NBA All-Star game has adopted: two guards and three forwards per team. There are no true positions like point guard, shooting guard, etc., and the center position has been eliminated entirely.

Let’s get into it.

All-NBA First Team | All-NBA Second Team

Honorable Mentions

James HardenFred VanVleetLaMelo BallDonovan MitchellJaren Jackson Jr.

All-NBA Third Team

G | Trae Young – Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young led the league in total points and assists for the entire season – only the second time in NBA history a player has done this (Nate “Tiny” Archibald in 1972-73). It’s also the first time that this feat has ever been accomplished at both the collegiate and professional levels by the same player.

At 28.4 points and 9.7 assists per game, Young led his Hawks into the postseason by earning the No. 9 seed in the East. In any other traditional season, Atlanta would have missed the playoffs entirely – partially why Young lands on the third team despite his historic season. Regardless, “Ice” Trae continues to prove his place amongst the best guards in the league despite being only 23 years old.

G | Ja Morant – Memphis Grizzlies

At one point midway through the season, Morant had a legitimate case for the Most Valuable Player and Most Improved Player awards. He averaged career-highs in points (27.4), rebounds (5.7), steals (1.2), and 3-point percentage (.344) to go along with 6.7 assists per game. The only blemish on his resume is the 25 games missed due to injury.

Morant led the Grizzlies to a 56-26 record and shocked the entire sports world by leading his young, up-and-coming Grizzlies squad to the No. 2 seed out West at age 22 in his third season in the league. It’s safe to say that this won’t be the last time Morant appears on a post-season awards list.

F | DeMar DeRozan – Chicago Bulls

In what some called the worst free-agent signing of the off-season DeRozan silenced all the doubters by putting himself in the MVP conversation early and often. In his 13th season in the league, DeRozan put up a career-high 27.9 points per game, shot over 50% for the second time in his career, and became one of the most clutch players in the entire league.

He led the Bulls to a record of 46-26, good for the No. 6 seed in the East, and looks to continue his historic run against the reigning champion No. 3 seed Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs. This season, DeRozan broke Wilt Chamberlain’s record for consecutive games with 35+ points and 50% or better shooting. Anytime a player can put their production head to head against Chamberlain, they’re doing something right.

F | LeBron James – Los Angeles Lakers

Like a fine wine, James seems to keep getting better as time goes on. In his 19th season in the league, LeBron James became the oldest player to ever average 30+ points for an entire season. This comes 16 years after James set the all-time record for the youngest player to average 30+ points for a season back in 2005-06.

Unfortunately, James’ Lakers quickly devolved from overwhelming preseason title favorites to fighting for their playoff lives down the stretch as James and his All-Star teammate Anthony Davis continued to miss games due to injury. Despite averaging 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists, James played in only 56 games and led his squad to a 33-49 record, falling one spot outside of the Play-In Tournament.

F | Rudy Gobert – Utah Jazz

Gobert quietly put up an exemplary season that NBA fans have grown accustomed to seeing from the 7-3 Frenchman. He averaged 15.6 points per game and led the NBA with a career-high 14.7 rebounds per game. He also led the NBA in field goal percentage (.713), 2-point field goal percentage (.718), and effective field goal percentage (.713).

Gobert helped to lead the Jazz to the No. 5 seed in the west with a 49-33 record, giving them another chance at a post-season run. The only thing keeping Gobert outside of the first two All-NBA teams has nothing to do with his own performance and everything to do with the production displayed by those ahead of him on the list.

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