The absolute best players are the All-NBA players. They get picked outside of the influence of fan voting, and there are only 15 spots a year. It is a more elite club than just being an All-Star. The way All-Stars are picked seems completely random at times, and some injury replacements are not the equals of the players they replace. The year A.C. Green was voted in as an All-Star over Karl Malone, well, that season Green wasn't called All-NBA, but Karl Malone was selected to be on the All-NBA 1st team. If you want to be called a legit franchise player you want to be on this list. And if you want to be called a legit franchise, that can make noise in the playoffs, you need to have a guy on your team be good enough to make this list.
After the jump, the complete list and some analysis.
Here is the complete list of players who made it since the 2000-2001 season.
|2000-01 to 2010-11||Draft Spot and Rookie Yr|
|Al Horford||1||1||3||31.4||77 of 81|
|Allen Iverson||5||1||1||40.1||74 of 76|
|Amare Stoudemire||5||1||9||31.3||71 of 82|
|Andrew Bogut||1||1||1||28.6||77 of 82|
|Baron Davis||1||1||3||18.6||0 of 82|
|Ben Wallace||5||3||61||5.8||0 of 34|
|Brandon Roy||2||1||6||35.4||55 of 57|
|Carlos Boozer||1||2||34||25.3||54 of 81|
|Carmelo Anthony||4||1||3||36.5||82 of 82|
|Chauncey Billups||3||1||3||27.7||70 of 80|
|Chris Bosh||1||1||4||33.5||63 for 75|
|Chris Paul||3||1||4||36.0||78 for 78|
|Chris Webber||3||1||1||32.1||76 for 76|
|David Robinson||1||1||1||36.6||81 of 82|
|Deron Williams||2||1||3||28.8||47 of 80|
|Derrick Rose||1||1||1||37.0||80 of 81|
|Dikembe Mutombo||2||1||4||38.3||71 of 71|
|Dirk Nowitzki||11||1||9||20.4||24 of 47||*|
|Dwight Howard||6||1||1||32.6||82 of 82|
|Dwyane Wade||5||1||5||34.9||56 of 61|
|Elton Brand||1||1||1||37.0||80 of 81|
|Gary Payton||2||1||2||27.4||82 of 82|
|Gilbert Arenas||3||2||30||24.6||30 of 47|
|Jamal Mashburn||1||1||4||36.7||73 of 79|
|Jason Kidd||4||1||2||33.8||79 of 79|
|Jermaine O'Neal||3||1||17||10.2||0 of 45|
|Joe Johnson||1||1||10||24.9||60 of 77|
|Karl Malone||1||1||13||30.6||76 for 81|
|Kevin Durant||2||1||2||34.6||80 for 80|
|Kevin Garnett||7||1||5||28.7||43 for 80|
|Kobe Bryant||11||1||13||15.5||6 for 71|
|LaMarcus Aldridge||1||1||2||22.1||22 for 63|
|LeBron James||7||1||1||39.5||79 for 79|
|Manu Ginobili||2||2||57||20.7||5 for 69|
|Michael Redd||1||2||43||5.8||0 for 6|
|Pau Gasol||3||1||3||36.7||79 for 82|
|Paul Pierce||4||1||10||34.0||47 for 48||*|
|Peja Stojakovic||1||1||14||21.4||1 for 48||*|
|Ray Allen||2||1||5||30.9||81 for 82|
|Ron Artest||1||1||16||31.1||63 for 72|
|Russell Westbrook||1||1||4||32.5||65 for 82|
|Sam Cassell||1||1||24||17.0||6 for 66|
|Shaquille O'Neal||7||1||1||37.9||81 for 81|
|Shawn Marion||2||1||9||24.7||38 for 51|
|Stephon Marbury||1||1||4||34.7||64 for 67|
|Steve Nash||7||1||15||10.5||2 for 65|
|Tim Duncan||10||1||1||39.1||82 for 82|
|Tony Parker||1||1||28||29.4||72 for 77|
|Tracy McGrady||7||1||9||18.4||17 for 64|
|Vince Carter||1||1||5||35.2||49 for 50||*|
|Yao Ming||5||1||1||29.0||72 for 82|
|Zach Randolph||1||1||19||5.8||0 for 41|
* = lockout shortened season that had only 50 total regular season games
also Ben Wallace was undrafted, so I put him in at the 3rd round pick 61
Of interest would be the number of Top 5 picks. Top 5 picks comprise only 31 of the 52 total guys on this list. That's only 59.6% of the total group. However, we should note that Top 5 picks comprise 102 of 165 total All-NBA Spots, which is a much more robust 61.8%. In simpler terms, that means if there was only 10 spots, 6 would be taken by Top 5 draft picks, leaving only 4 for the rest of lottery guys, rest of the first round guys, rest of the second round guys, and rest for the undrafted guys.
Overall, the average draft spot is Round 1, pick 10. There were a number of guys who only played 20 or less minutes per game in their rookie seasons who would end up making an All-NBA 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team in the last few seasons. They were: Baron Davis, Ben Wallace, Dirk Nowitzki, Jermaine O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Manu Ginobili, Michael Redd, Sam Cassell, Steve Nash, Tracy McGrady, and Zach Randolph.
Only one guy drafted in the Top 5 who didn't play at least half a game in their rookie seasons made it to the All-NBA team, Baron Davis. Rookie seasons can only tell us so much, but we need to look deeper into their second, third, and so forth seasons.
Playing time doesn't equate success. But usually if you are drafted high there is a reason for it. That reason sometimes is: you are a good basketball player. If you are good, you should get playing time. There is a very high correlation between playing time and production. (Is it that the guys who play more are better producers? Or is it that the guys who play more have more time to produce? Or is it a combination of the two?)
Draft position alone doesn't equate success either -- the player has to work hard and be motivated. Two great examples are #13 picks: Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant. They were almost non-lotto picks but became Top 20 all-time players because of their drive. Ben Wallace went undrafted. Gilbert went in the second round. And we all know there are countless lotto busts every year.
That said, a majority of All-NBA team members were Top 5 picks (59.6% of all players, 61.8% of all All-NBA Team Spots). And a vast majority were Top 14 picks (78.8% of all players, 89.1% of all All-NBA Team Spots). Right now the Jazz have a handful of Top 14 picks, and may just add two more next season.
Is one of them a future All-NBA Team member? Will they be with the Jazz, or will they flourish elsewhere like Billups, Jermaine O'Neal, Arenas, and Zach Randolph did? The point remains though -- very few teams are legit contenders without some level of All-NBA Team recognition. The Detroit Pistons that was billed as a group of non-Stars still had Billups and Ben Wallace, and between them they comprised 8 All-NBA 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team selections since 2000-01. Of course, our team can't even get guys into the Dunk Contest right now. Playing time, roster moves, and luck factor into who gets onto this list.
All of that said, this is a list of the best of the best players in the NBA this millennium. If we want to have a guy on this list at some point we may have to identify the players who seem to make it, and groom them towards on-court greatness. (Better coaching? More playing time? Less emphasis on passing? More emphasis on running plays for them? A roster change up? All of the above? Something else?)
If you don't have an All-NBA Team member leading your club, your club isn't a serious playoff participant, let alone contender. And I want the Jazz to do just that. I don't think Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson (as much as our current team depends on them today, and as much as we personally love them as fans) will ever be an All-NBA player. It's cruel to suggest it, but I think that as long as they are the Top 2 guys on our team we'll never be a serious playoff participant. I'm not saying trade em, or cut em, or kill em. I'm merely looking at the bigger picture. They'd are great teammates, and great players. They just aren't All-NBA. And that's what the Jazz need to be relevant again.