Jayson Tatum thinks Embiid should be All-NBA First Team


How is it that the player who comes in second in the MVP voting isn’t among the five players voted first team All-NBA? Mind-boggling, right?

You’re not the only one.

Joel Embiid, who won the NBA scoring title and notched the first NBA season averaging 30 points and 11 rebounds per game in 32 years, finished second to Denver’s Nikola Jokic in the MVP voting. You could make a serious argument that Embiid was robbed by the MVP voters.

In the All-NBA voting, Embiid was named first team on 57 of the 100 ballots, and received 414 total points, both fifth-most in the league. Top five equals first team, right?

Apparently not. Due to a voting technicality, Embiid was supplanted by Boston’s Jayson Tatum. Some voters had Embiid as a center, some moved him to power forward, likely to give both Embiid and Jokic first-team votes. Noah Levick does a great job of explaining the math here

But how does the player who is at worst the second-best player in a particular season left off the first team? Here’s the thing: not even Tatum understands why he’s on the first team and Embiid isn’t.

“There should just be some rules in place,” Tatum said when asked if the voting process needs to be revised. “Maybe you should have to play a certain amount of games, or maybe you’re on a playoff team.

“I do think it should be positionless. Joel Embiid was second in the MVP voting and made second-team. Doesn’t really make too much sense. I think it should be, like, the 15 best players.”

I see no lies here. The best five players should be the All-NBA first team, regardless of position. If that ends up being five guards, fine. Five centers? Five centers. It’s not as though the league is assembling these players to play in any future games. 

Meanwhile, for the second straight season, the second-best player in the NBA is looking up at the All-NBA first team.

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