Crimes and Misdemeanors: James Harden Unanimous, LeBron James Not

The All-NBA first, second and third teams were announced yesterday and the usual parties received shout outs plus monetary consequences: bonuses and/or the ability to get the supermax contract as a Designated Player. Just look at the All-Star team 2017 and then slide in most of the names on the All-NBA team. Paul George wasn’t on the All-NBA team however and neither was Gordon Hayward, both All-Stars. Hayward is a free agent and not making the All-NBA team keeps him from a $200 million payday which makes the Boston Celtics very happy. They now can negotiate with Hayward in good faith, not worried about trying to convince Hayward to turn down $50 million. The Celtics have said that Hayward is their #1 priority once summer comes.

Paul George’s Indiana career is pretty much over. He didn’t get an All-NBA nod so no huge payday making George stay in Indy. The qualifications to be a Designated Player is you have to be a member of the team that drafted you, All-NBA two out of the last three years, or All-NBA the year of contract extension, or league MVP, or Defensive Player of the Year. None of those apply so George may be a Celtic or Laker in the fall of 2017.

John Wall finally got his first All-NBA nod and can qualify for the supermax extension this summer and reap the benefits of his superlative season. Now that enormous never All-NBA chip he wore on his shoulder can be garbage can refuse.

Giannis Antetokounmpo made his first All-NBA appearance as did Isaiah Thomas. James Harden was the only player who received unanimous first place votes. LeBron James did not. Let that sink in. Someone did not give LeBron James a first place vote. This is not about who is the better player or who has had the better career. James wins that hands down. But James season was as dominant as Harden’s.

The Numbers:

LeBron played more minutes this year than he has played in four years. He had the highest field goal percentage in three years and the highest three point percentage in three years. His two point shooting was the second best of his career. He had a career high in defensive rebounding and total rebounding. He has never crossed the 8+ rebounding threshold in his fourteen year career. Except this year. He had a career high in assists. He had a three year high in scoring. His mid-range shooting, 10-16 feet, was the second best of his career.

He was the second best impact player in 2016-17, only Chris Paul was better (Real Plus-Minus). He was responsible for 19 wins by himself. James Harden was ranked twelfth among all NBA players and was responsible for 15 wins.

This is not to hate on James Harden. He deserved what he earned this year by sliding over to point guard and having a career high in assists and an offensive rating of 118. But LeBron James offensive rating was 119.

LeBron James is the oldest player on the 2017 All-NBA team, the only 30+ year old. It is a testament to his talent, training, exceptionalism and injury luck that he can be better than players five years younger than he is and he can be better than he was the year before. He does more than every other NBA player and delivers more, on track for his 7th NBA Finals in a row.

But it’s LeBron James. So, you know. There’s always some kind of shade thrown his way.


photo via llananba