The NBA has released its last awards of the 2012-13 season, doling out nods for the league’s All-NBA teams on Thursday afternoon.
Los Angeles was well represented as Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant lined the backcourt of the First Team, with Kevin Durant and league MVP LeBron James at the forwards. Tim Duncan, in a surprising but deserved (if inaccurate) vote, finishes that crew off with his first All-NBA nod at the center position. Which is weird, because this is the first time in years that Duncan (who moved over to play with Tiago Splitter in the San Antonio Spurs lineup this season) hasn’t been playing starting center on a routine basis.
New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Clippers forward Blake Griffin head up the forwards list on the Second Team, with Memphis defensive stalwart Marc Gasol at center. San Antonio’s Tony Parker and Oklahoma City guard head up that backcourt, in a voting pool lousy with brilliant All-NBA-worthy guards.
Los Angeles’ Dwight Howard (who received 17 first place votes at center) tops of the Third Team, with Golden State All-Star David Lee and Indiana all-around demon Paul George at the forwards. Miami’s Dwyane Wade and James Harden man the guard spots.
This sounds about right, really. David Lee as a forward on the third team seems slightly off because of his defensive woes, I would have gone with Zach Randolph or LaMarcus Aldridge in that instance, but Lee is a terrific player and this is not a terrible oversight. And it’s both unfortunate and encouraging that so many great NBA centers (Joakim Noah, Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert and technically Chris Bosh) could not make the top three teams because of the fine centers ranked above them.
As was the case with the Jordan Crawford (Jamal Crawford?) vote for Sixth Man of the Year, and Mike James’ (LeBron James?) vote for MVP, there were some drop-down menu selection screwups from the sportswriters. Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic is a darn good prospect and he’s already one of the league’s best rebounders, but he’s probably not yet worth the vote he received for one of these teams. Save for J.J. Hickson, even in a career year, also receiving a vote.
Beyond the screwups, is the nitpicking:
Kevin Durant, an MVP in just about any other year but this one, was left off the First Team by seventeen voters. Dirk Nowitzki is a legend who was quite good for about half of the NBA season, but he wasn’t amongst the top six NBA forwards this year, and he received a vote. Omer Asik and Carlos Boozer, even following a very good year for both, took in a few nods.
Otherwise, a fine list. The NBA could use a few more healthy knees to go around, but outside of that this league appears to be in terrific shape.
It seems like Nick Gilbert brings a lot of luck to the NBA Draft Lottery for the Cleveland Cavaliers. For the second time in three seasons as the franchise's lottery representative, the teenage son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has brought home the top pick in the draft. The Cavs, who finished the 2012-13 season with a 24-58 record, entered the lottery with the third-best chances of snagging the first selection at 15.6 percent.
The Orlando Magic, the league's worst team at 20-62, were forced to settle for the second pick. However, the biggest losers of the lottery were the Charlotte Bobcats (soon to be the Hornets), who dropped to the fourth spot after posting a 21-62 record, just one game better than the Magic. They were supplanted in the top three by the Washington Wizards, who entered the process with a 30 percent chance of jumping from the eighth pick into the trio of lottery spots.
While the Wizards will benefit the biggest boost of any team in the lottery, the Cavaliers are the clear winners of the event. In 2011, they won the top pick and selected Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, who earned his first All-Star selection this February in his second season. This June, Cleveland will have the chance to choose between Kentucky shot-blocker Nerlens Noel (currently rehabbing a torn ACL) and Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore. Given the presence of 2012 first-round pick Dion Waiters, the Cavs will likely opt for Noel, although that is merely an educated guess with the draft more than a month away.
While sitting at a desk festooned with a team logo is not typically considered a skill, Nick Gilbert has a strong argument for being the most effective lottery representative in NBA history. He's now been present for two lottery wins in three seasons, a record matched only by the time I won a Sega Genesis and Game Gear in consecutive raffles as a young child. Through it all, Gilbert has been extremely charismatic and likable. What's most impressive is that he has expressed that positivity despite being born with neurofibromatosis (NF), a nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow throughout the body at random. Gilbert has dealt with several rounds of chemotherapy, lost vision in one of his eyes, and lived through pain most of us will never have to experience. Yet, in 2011, his father referred to him as "the happiest and most optimistic person I know."
The Cavs sought out some extra good luck this year after Dan Gilbert organized a contest designed to find their luckiest fan. The winner, Roy Tate Moore, traveled with the Gilberts and the rest of the sizable Cavs entourage to the lottery and will partake in whatever festivities they have planned in the wake of this victory.
The rest of the lottery participants, apart from the very pleased Wizards, must now consider the true worth of their supposed good luck charms and ponder the cruelty of any organization that lets the fortunes of its members rest on the random bounces of a few ping-pong balls. Fans of those ill-fated teams can check the full 2013 draft order here.
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Spurs fan enters Internet lore forever
• Michael Jordan announces the Charlotte Bobcats will become the Hornets
• East finals preview: Can the Pacers knock off the Heat?
• Clippers not retaining Vinny Del Negro as coach
The annual event expands to six days and 10 teams in 2013, the Magic announced Thursday.
Armed with the second pick in the Draft, Orlando looks to move forward in its rebuilding effort. Follow all the news, rumors, and analysis in this StoryStream.
"14 or 15" of the NBA's general managers have told one writer that Indiana guard Victor Oladipo is their favorite player in the 2013 Draft.
A report indicates that Orlando will likely take either Trey Burke or Ben McLemore when it's on the clock on June 27th.
We've already profiled Trey Burke, but there are other point guards in the draft that show some promise. Who else could pique the Magic's interest?
Let us know by submitting a url: