Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid was named to the All-NBA first team for the first time in his career as the league unveiled all three of its teams Wednesday night, while LeBron James extended his all-time record to 19 selections.
Embiid was joined on the first team by Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry headlines the second team with his ninth selection. He was joined by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler and Celtics forward Jaylen Brown.
James, who has now made an All-NBA team for 19 straight seasons, missing out only in his rookie year, led the third-team selections, along with a pair of Sacramento Kings — center Domantas Sabonis and guard De’Aaron Fox. They were joined by Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and New York Knicks forward Julius Randle.
For Embiid, who led the NBA in scoring for a second straight year, he’s now won the league’s MVP award and been named to an All-NBA first team for the first time. He’d finished second to Jokic in the MVP race in each of the past two seasons, and was a second-team All-NBA selection behind Jokic in three of the past four (and Anthony Davis in 2018) before finally breaking through this year.
It is the fifth straight first-team selection for Antetokounmpo, who averaged 31.1 points, 11.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists for the Bucks this season before Milwaukee was stunned in five games by the Heat in the first round. It is the second straight first-team selection — and third overall — for Tatum and fourth straight first-team honor for Doncic.
Antetokounmpo was the only player to be unanimously named to the first team.
Gilgeous-Alexander helped the Thunder reach the 8-9 play-in tournament game despite No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren missing the entire season and the Thunder having one of the NBA’s youngest squads in making the All-NBA team for the first time.
Doncic and Gilgeous-Alexander making the first team while missing the playoffs marks the first time multiple players have done so since Pete Maravich and Paul Westphal did back in 1977.
It was the fifth All-NBA selection for Jokic and Butler, the ninth time for Curry and seventh for Lillard, while it was the second for Randle and the first for Brown, Fox and Sabonis, the latter two having powered Sacramento to its first playoff appearance in 17 years.
Brown, meanwhile, was the big winner Wednesday night from a contractual standpoint, as by making All-NBA this season the Celtics star qualified to receive a five-year, $295 million supermax extension this summer, which would be the largest contract in NBA history if he was to sign it. Brown would have been eligible for a four-year, $189 million extension this offseason had he not made All-NBA.
His co-star on the Celtics also locked up a supermax extension for next summer, after Tatum has now made All-NBA each of the past two seasons. Tatum will be eligible to sign a five-year, $318 million extension in the summer of 2024, as no matter what happens next season he’ll have made All-NBA in two of the prior three seasons, which automatically makes him supermax eligible in the summer of 2024.
On the other end of the spectrum, Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant did not make any of the three All-NBA teams, and thus did not have his contract bump up by an extra $39 million, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Had Morant made any of the All-NBA teams, he would have bumped up to the 30 percent max salary, which would have made the five-year extension he signed this summer worth $233 million, rather than $194.3 million.
Other players who would have been supermax eligible that didn’t qualify by missing out on All-NBA honors are Raptors teammates Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, as well as Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, while both New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson and Cavaliers guard Darius Garland both missed out on having the higher extension number had they made All-NBA.
Sixers’ Joel Embiid earns first All-NBA first-team honor