Six guards make the All-NBA Team each year.
There are more than six deserving candidates — Klay Thompson and Chris Paul didn’t make the final cut this year. It’s brutal to try to make the top six. As someone with a vote, and I think I can speak for others I know here, I sweat which six should make the cut. Personally, I poured over stats, went back and watched film, and talked to people around the league before casting my vote. Razor thin margins between top players having great seasons decide this in each voter’s mind.
John Wall made the cut. The Wizards’ point guard was All-NBA Third Team this season. But he told Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype on his podcast that he saw making third team as an insult.
I’m an all-around point guard. You want to know [what motivates me]? I made the All-NBA Third Team. I mean, a guy averaging 23 points, 11 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals and that’s All-NBA Third Team? I know there are a lot of great players in this league, a lot of great guards, but [only making] the All-NBA Third Team was pretty shocking to me. I just use all of that as motivation and fuel.”
The challenge for Wall — and everyone who wants to make an NBA team — is that this is a numbers game.
Second team was Isaiah Thomas and Stephen Curry. Most voters (93 out of 100) had Curry on their second team and with good reason — he remains the heart-and-soul of the best team in the NBA, plus he put up great numbers. Thomas had a monster year, led the Celtics to the No. 1 seed in the East, and Thomas has a great narrative that helps him. There were 19 voters who put Wall on the second team, 23 who did it for Thomas. You can make a case for Wall here, but Thomas has a compelling one as well. Wall and DeRozan rounded out the third team. (For the record, I had Wall on the third team, and also I had CP3 making the team over DeMar DeRozan.)
Players find motivation in all sorts of perceived insults. If being named one of the top 15 players in the world is an insult to Wall that fuels him, more power to him.