NBA MVP Joel Embiid headlined the All-NBA first team that was announced Wednesday.
The 76ers center is joined by Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Mavericks guard Luka Dončić.
Absent from the first team is Nuggets center and MVP runner-up Nikola Jokić. All-NBA teams are based on position; only one center makes the first-team cut, and that honor goes to Embiid. Jokić made the second team alongside Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, Heat forward Jimmy Butler, Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell.
Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Knicks forward Julius Randle, Lakers forward LeBron James and Kings center Domantas Sabonis made the third team. The All-NBA selection was the 19th for James in 20 NBA seasons.
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 10, 2023
New All-NBA rules next season
The new collective bargaining agreement eliminates positions from All-NBA consideration, allowing voters to select their top five players for each team regardless of position. Jokić would almost certainly make the first team under these conditions, but the CBA won't take effect until next season. New CBA rules will also require players to play a minimum of 65 games to be eligible for any seasonlong honor.
A first for Embiid
Embiid earned first-team honors after averaging a league-high 33.1 points alongside 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.7 blocks per game. He shot 54.8% from the field and 33% from 3-point distance while leading Philadelphia to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The first-team selection is his first after he made four previous All-NBA second teams. Like Jokić this season, Embiid would likely have made a previous first team under the new CBA.
Antetokounmpo is only unanimous pick
Antetokounmpo is first-team All-NBA for the fifth time. He's also made the second team twice. He's the only unanimous first-team selection. Embiid's votes were split with fellow MVP finalist Jokić. Antetokounmpo averaged a career-high 33.1 points this season alongside 11.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 0.8 blocks and 0.8 steals per game while shooting 55.3% from the field. He led the Bucks to the NBA's best regular season record before they were upset in the first round of the playoffs. His 63-game season would make him ineligible for consideration under the new CBA.
Tatum earned his second straight first-team honor after being named to the third team in 2020. He averaged 30.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists this season, all career-highs. He also tallied 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks per game while shooting 46.6% from the field and 35% from 3-point distance. His Celtics trail Embiid's 76ers, 3-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. With the selection, Tatum became eligible for a five-year, $318 million supermax contract next offseason. Teammate Brown is eligible for a five-year, $295 million contract this summer with his inclusion on the second team.
Gilgeous-Alexander made his first All-NBA team of any kind after earning his first All-Star bid in his fifth NBA season. The versatile Thunder guard averaged a career-high 31.4 points alongside 5.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 51% from the field and 34.5% from 3-point distance. He's also a defensive force who tallied 1.6 steals and 1 block per game, both career highs. A young Thunder team made a surprise run to the NBA play-in.
Dončić earned his fourth All-NBA selection in his fifth season, all of them first-team honors. He averaged a career-high 32.4 points alongside 8.6 rebounds, 8 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 49.6% from the field and 34.2% from 3-point distance. After advancing to the Western Conference finals last year, Dončić's Mavericks missed the playoffs this season for the first time since his 2018-19 rookie campaign.
Mitchell, Ja Morant not happy with All-NBA teams
Mitchell, who thrived in his first season with the Cavaliers, was seemingly irked with not making the first team.
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) May 10, 2023
While sharing the backcourt with All-Star Darius Garland, Mitchell averaged a career-high 28.3 points alongside 4.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 48.4% from the field and 38.6% from 3-point distance as Cleveland earned the No. 4 seed in the East.
Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, meanwhile, reacted to not making any of the teams.
He averaged 26.2 points, 8.1 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals while shooting 46.6% from the field and 30.7% from 3-point distance. The Grizzlies earned the No. 2 seed in the West before losing to the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. He was limited to 61 games played thanks in part to an NBA suspension after a string of off-court incidents.