An Early Stab at 2014 All-NBA teams

7850330Last week, an early look at all-rookie teams was offered at gotbuckets.  With two weeks remaining in the NBA season and new RAPM available through 03/31 and 2-year APM through 03/28, offers a preliminary look at All-NBA teams.  The players chosen are largely based the RAPM and 2-year APM derived Wins Equivalents, SWAgR and SWAg, but some subjectivity is imparted, too.

1st Team

The SWAgR rankings work out pretty well for a reasonable All-NBA first team.  Lebron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Dirk Nowitzki ranked one through five.  Durant and LBJ are also 1 – 2 in SWAg, with Harden and Aldridge in the top 20.

Not much to say about that; those guys are pretty good. Nowitzki has experienced a resurgence this year, increasing his usage from last season and raising his true shooting percentage to levels not seen since the Mavericks championship run.  His shooting splits are 49 / 39 / 90 and Dallas is 6.5 pp100p better when he plays. Aldridge’s nightly 23 & 11 helped take Portland to a level that few expected this season.

2nd Team

SWAgR isn’t doing any disservices for this group either. I will diverge from it in a couple places, with the 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th and 12th ranked guys here.  Chris Paul ranks first in RAPM, but due to missed time from injuries, falls to this second group.  His teammate Blake Griffin joins him.  So do a duo of Warriors, with Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala pacing Golden State towards a 50-win season.  Rounding out this unit is Kevin Love, making nine of these first ten guys from the Western Conference.  The first four guys each rank top 20 in SWAg, too.

Can you believe that Clippers – Warriors is shaping us a first round playoff matchup?  Watching Chris Paul results in approximately twenty smiles per game, and Griffin has taken a big step forward this year on offense and defense.  Steph Curry is a monster; he’s made over 500 three pointers and counting in the last two seasons.  Iggy is second in defensive RAPM and resides among the favorites for gotbuckets DPOY.  Man, the Western Conference playoffs are going to be a blast.

3rd Team

Now we get to some Eastern Conference guys, including  Kyle Lowry, Paul George, and Joakim Noah, while Tim Duncan and Goran Dragic round out the squad.

Lowry ranks 11th in SWAgR and 23rd in 2-year SWAg, and represents the upstart Raptors, winners of 36 of their most recent 55 games.

Paul George was accidentally omitted from the upload of the March 31 RAPM update…Oops.  He is top twenty for SWAgR though, and 4th for 2-year SWAg, and despite their recent swoon has been the primary catalyst of a successful Pacers season.

Noah ranks 34th in SWAgR.  Despite losing Derrick Rose for the season and trading Luol Deng for nothing, the Bulls are surging towards home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.  He is posting career highs in usage, rebound rate, and assist rate while anchoring the NBA’s second-best defense.

It is very Spurs-y that San Antonio will win 65 games and I found room for one of their players on these three teams, and even at that, it was the third team.  Tim Duncan ranks 19th in SWAgR, despite 92 players with more minutes than him.

Dragic ranks 3rd in 2-year SWAg and 15th in SWAgR, guiding the surprise Suns towards a 50-win season.  He and Lowry are two of the best values in the NBA this season.

Honorable Mention

It’s hard picking the last five guys, hence so many more words for them than the first ten.

A few other guys deserving recognition:

The Western Confernce is overloaded with point guards. Ricky Rubio, Mike Conley and Damian Lillard rank 13th, 14th and 21st for SWAgR  This is particularly impressive for Lillard, considering he is in his second year in the NBA and the negative prior assigned to rookies in the @talkingpractice RAPM.  The unbiased 2-year APM ranks him 7th in SWAg (Conley is 6th).

Speaking of youngsters, Anthony Davis is having a hell of a season.  His inexperience and the Pelicans’ 27th ranked defense haven’t done his RAPM a ton of favors (73rd in SWAgR), but he is ridiculous.

With Nowitzki, Aldridge, Griffin, Love and Davis around, Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan fall prey to a crowded Western front court.  They rank 19th and 30th in SWAgR, respectively, while creeping up to 17th and 20th in 2-year SWAg.

Amir Johnson ranks 9th in SWAgR and 19th in SWAg.  The scoreboard just keeps loving him.

Manu Ginobili ranks 26th in SWAgR; I have to mention a second Spur somewhere, right?

David West, Roy Hibbert and George Hill deserve props for their strong seasons in Indiana. They provide the 13th, 23rd and 35th most SWAgR in the NBA. 

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