OKC Thunder 30 for 30 round table: Does Chris Paul get All-NBA nod?

Trae Young #24 of Team Giannis dribbles the ball while being guarded by OKC Thunder guard Chris Paul. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Trae Young #24 of Team Giannis dribbles the ball while being guarded by OKC Thunder guard Chris Paul. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Continuing the OKC Thunder 30 for 30 roundtable series finds our writers diving into All-NBA teams and what warrants making the elite cut of 15.

The Thunderous Intentions writing team continues the 30 for 30 roundtable series moving from individual awards into All-NBA selections. One OKC Thunder player is in the mix as the writing team ponders whether Chris Paul makes the cut.

The battle at the guard position this season is sure to solicit ample debate. Factoring into the selections is these picks are based on performance to date and could shift if the NBA returns to finish out the schedule. In that event, shifts could definitely occur, but the top six players are hard to deny.

With that, I give you question 11 from the series…

Q11: Who has the early lead for All-NBA teams and does OKC Thunder player guard CP3 make the cut?

Tamberlyn Richardson:

All-NBA by definition implies the 15 best players and on the top teams. Occasionally, a standout will make the third team but not a player on a lottery team (and bad lottery teams at that). In my world, there is no way Trae Young or Devin Booker deserves this elite nod. Similarly, Brandon Ingram is having a breakout season, but the Pelicans aren’t seeded. He’ll get shine in the Most Improved category but misses the mark here.

The first team will likely be unilaterally a wash for voters with only Doncic and Harden being interchangeable. Harden went through a bit of a rut post trade deadline but dominated early-season.  But, look at Luka’s effect on the Mavericks and who he has surrounding him. Yes, Kristaps Porzingis is a talent, but he returned from missing an entire season — and oh yeah all those triple-doubles!

Where things got tricky is the placement of Embiid and Jokic. Both deserve to make All-NBA and both are absolutely vital to their club’s success. Joker got the slight nod ahead of Embiid strictly due to games played.

The reigning champs get two nods based on the two players who’ve kept the Raptors in the mix despite all the injuries coupled with the expectation of a fall out once Kawhi left.  And, while Jimmy Butler is absolutely the straw that stirs the Heat drink it’s impossible to leave Bam off the squad.

The guards were by far the most difficult call. Ultimately my selection takes five defining traits into account:

  1. individual production
  2. two-way effort
  3. team seeding
  4. games played or missed due to injury
  5. how much the player affects their club winning.

Damian Lillard, for example, is a tough call since the Blazers aren’t seeded. Injuries are a factor but no more than the Raptors who continued to win (and why two of them make the cut). Plus, Chris Paul (like Lowry) makes my list by virtue of how many of the above five points he checks off.

Kemba Walker also makes the cut over Westbrook and Lillard by a slim margin because he checks off more of the five points.

To that end, if the NBA returns and finishes out the season the second and third teams could experience shifts and outright replacements. If the Blazers get the eight seed Dame makes my thrid team – it’s that simple.

An interesting side note is all the players who finished the All-Star Game make my cut.

First team:  Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Anthony Davis
Second teamJames Harden, Kyle LowryPascal Siakam, Bam Adebayo, Nikola Jokic
Third team: Chris Paul, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid

Shontelle Matano:

I believe Chris Paul deserves a spot in the All-NBA second team. He’s been outstanding with exceptional leadership and tremendous play every single night.

It was very difficult to choose two guards between Paul, Westbrook, and Lillard for the second team because they’re all having incredible individual seasons. But I definitely had to pick CP3 and elected to go with Westbrook, placing Lillard in the third team.

This was because of Westbrook’s added effort on the defensive end, bringing in more defensive rebounds and steals. Also for the third team, it was hard to choose whether to go with Trae Young or Kyle Lowry. Both are important to their teams but with Young having a sensational year and becoming an All-Star starter I selected him. But also taking nothing away from Lowry and the impressive things he has done with the Toronto Raptors.

First team: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Luka Doncic, James Harden
Second team: Anthony Davis, Pascal Siakam, Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook
Third team: Nikola Jokic, Bam Adebayo, Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard, Trae Young

Rylan Stiles:

Chris Paul absolutely deserves an All-NBA nod, but he is the lone member of the OKC Thunder who does. Paul has been amazing on and off the floor. You can make the case for his leadership and tone-setting attitude that units this team, and has put them in the position they are. However, this is not a sympathy vote.

Paul has been the best player in the clutch this season while averaging 17 points, seven assists, and five rebounds all while sharing the rock with two other ball-dominate point guards.

More from Thunderous Intentions

First team:  Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Nikola Jokic
Second team: Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, Pascal Siakam, Anthony Davis,  Joel Embiid
Third team: Chris Paul, Trae Young, Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo

Dustin McGowen:

This year, the OKC Thunder are similar to the LA Clippers of the 2018-2019 campaign in that their success is team-based. Unfortunately, this platoon structure will not yield any All-NBA selections. Here are my picks for All-NBA.

First Team: Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis
Second TeamBradley Beal, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Brandon Ingram, Joel Embiid
Third TeamDevin BookerPaul George, Trae Young, Damian Lillard, Nikola Jokic

Next. 30 x 30 roundtable Q10: Is SGA in mix for Most Improved?. dark

Friday the team returns to address All-Defense with plenty of fodder to debate. -NBA teams. Please let us know your selections for All-NBA first, second and third teams in the comments section.

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy day.