Kevin Durant made his first All-NBA team in 2010. After LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh joined forces on the Heat that summer, Durant tweeted:
Now everybody wanna play for the heat and the Lakers? Let's go back to being competitive and going at these peoples!
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) July 16, 2010
The tweet went viral in 2016, when Durant – who had made five more All-NBA teams – signed with the already-loaded Warriors.
Durant later clarified: He wasn’t criticizing LeBron, Wade and Bosh for teaming up. Durant was criticizing Penny Hardaway, a former star who was trying to latch on with the Heat.
In the last month, Durant has welcomed LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin to the Nets.
Durant – who’s now up to nine All-NBA teams – formed a pop-up super-team with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn two years ago. DeAndre Jordan joined them. The Nets then formed a star trio by trading for James Harden earlier this season. Recently, Brooklyn has added Aldridge and Griffin after buyouts.
This team is loaded.
By individual achievement, at least.
The Nets are the first team in NBA history with six players who’ve already made multiple All-NBA teams. Durant (nine), Harden (seven), Griffin (five), Aldridge (five), Jordan (three) and Irving (two) have combined for 31 All-NBA appearances.
Only the 2004 Lakers (38 between Karl Malone, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton and Kobe Bryant) and 2011 Celtics (32 between Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jermaine O’Neal and Ray Allen) had more All-NBA selections in prior seasons:
This doesn’t guarantee team success, though.
None of the four teams with at least 30 All-NBA selections have won a championship.
Among the 13 teams with more than 25 All-NBA selections, just two have won a title. However, Elgin Baylor’s 10 All-NBA selections count toward the 1972 Lakers’ total even though he retired early in the season. That leaves only last year’s Lakers, who had 27 All-NBA selections between LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo.
A key reason these teams rarely win the title: By the time players accumulate so many individual honors, they’re often past their primes. See Aldridge, Griffin and Jordan.
This is more about name recognition than playing ability. Durant, Harden and Irving are genuine present-day stars. But Aldridge, Griffin and Jordan are receiving outsized attention based on the past. Joe Harris – who has never sniffed an All-Star team, let alone an All-NBA team – is Brooklyn’s fourth-best player.
Jordan, Aldridge and Griffin might have their moments. But many role players have that capability. Jordan, Aldridge and Griffin don’t make the Nets particularly fearsome in 2021.
Durant, Harden and Irving do, though.
After relinquishing so much depth in the Harden trade, Brooklyn is doing well to replenish with Griffin and Aldridge. It’s also worth appreciating the historic assemblage of players who’ve had great careers.
Just don’t twist the Nets’ roster into more than it is.