The NBA just released their decade ballot for the 2010s All-Decade Team.
It wasn’t an easy selection by any stretch – having to include some players coming in to the latter end of their careers, and others destined to be some of the best the NBA has seen.
The first team featured Steph Curry, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James and Kevin Druant.
The second team featured Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony and Anthony Davis.
The third team featured Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Paul George and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Was anyone snubbed? There’s always going to be players snubbed from a list as objective as this. So let’s discuss some of the names that could have made the list.
Lillard may feel the most hard done by not making the list – but that comes with the lack of playoff success he’s had in Portland. When you look at some of the fringe guard selections – Kobe and Dwayne Wade – they arguably were in their prime for more of the 2000s. But the difference is – they won championships. Lillard may have been a feature over LaMarcus Aldridge in my opinion, as he was a more productive player for most of their tenure together in Portland. The Trailblazers Western Conference Finals appearance has only risen Lillard’s stock even further – but the man on a team that continues to be slept on will just have to deal with another blow for now.
The Warrirors 3-time champion could have become a fourth this past season, if injuries didn’t exist in sport. Thompson and Durant bowed out during the Western Conference Finals – only to pave the way for Kawhi and the Raptors to win the hearts of NBA fans alike and succeed. Thompson has always suffered from being the third option on a team full of All-Stars, and this may have hurt his selection here too. It’s amazing to think such a pivotal player as Thompson hasn’t been selected for an All-NBA team in the past three seasons. An All-NBA snub this year cost him a super-max, but Klay will play on under the radar, as he has for most of his career.
Howard is one of two players in this list to make 4 All-NBA selections in the 2010s but get a snub for the list. What’s unfortunate for Howard has been his recent demise – bouncing between the Hawks, Hornets and Wizards has paved the way for a journeyman end to his career. But earlier in the decade, he was a force to be reckoned with. He was a standout for the Orlando Magic in their Eastern Conference playoff runs and continued to be an All-NBA selection later with the Lakers and Rockets, despite much playoff success with both teams. The league changed quickly for Howard, and his place in a 3 point dominated league became diminished over time.
It seems pretty bullish of me to suggest Kyrie might deserve a look in here after my slating of his performance as a Boston Celtic this past year. But Irving was instrumental in a Cleveland Cavaliers team that made three straight finals appearances between 2015-2017, and won a championship in between. He may go down as one of the hardest players to defend with his mesmerising handles and unpredictable movement. There’s no doubt if he performed better in Boston, and didn’t suffer a season ending injury the year before, he could have been within a shout. But he’ll be determined to rewrite history with his new dance partner, Kevin Durant, as Brooklyn Net for years to come.
Honourable mentions – Dirk Nowitzki/Tim Duncan
Both Duncan and Nowitzki share the spoils of having won an NBA championship before they retired. Duncan went out on top, and Nowitzki continued to be a valuable role player for the Mavericks into his decline. They were both first ballot 2000s players in my eyes – but their start to the 2010s decade is worth a look in. Two All-NBA selections each in the current decade is another supporting factor, too.