The All-NBA team looks at the future

Los Angeles is the home to two NBA teams. Yet when the league released the names of the players who made the cut to be selected to the 2023-24 Kia All-NBA team, LA barely got any love. 

No player from the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers played well enough to earn first-time honors. LA is supposed to be where the stars roam. Judging by the All-NBA balloting, that star power is not exclusive to the Los Angeles market. 

Despite not being available for much in the Clippers’ wipeout to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of this year’s playoffs, Kawhi Leonard made the All-NBA second team. Paul George? Nope. Nada. George was left off the ballots entirely. 

Los Angeles Clippers guard James Harden was left off the All-NBA team. File photo. Photo credit: Melinda Meijer/News4usonline

James Harden? Forget about it. The Clippers’ prolific scorer who averaged just a little more than 16 points a game, didn’t even get a wink. 

Leonard received just one first-place vote and managed to gather a total of 242 votes to make the second team. For the first time since the 2017-18 season when he played with the San Antonio Spurs, Leonard played in at least 68 games during the regulation. 

But he came up MIA in the postseason when the Clippers needed him most. Parity in the NBA is real. Just think about this for a moment. Leonard, George, Harden, and Russell Westbrook are all basic shoo-ins for the basketball Hall of Fame. 

Yet none of the four players could crack the first team on the All-NBA squad. This also applies to the Los Angeles Lakers and their tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Like the Clippers, the Lakers were bounced early in the postseason. There was nothing James nor Davis could do about this.  

That’s because the Lakers ran into the same machine in the Denver Nuggets that ousted the purple and gold in the Western Conference Finals last season. In a collective way with their respective teams faltering at the end of the regular season, it is not a surprise that either the Lakers or the Clippers would have a huge throng of representation for the NBA honors. 

As such, the NBA, directly and indirectly, has made a statement to both LA clubs: get better or the rest of the league is going to run right past you. The transfer of power, it appears, no longer rests along the coasts of Southern California. 

And as such, the All-NBA teams are a reflection of this new era whether people like it or not and whether they accept it or not. Star power in the league now rests in towns such as Denver, Minnesota, Indiana, and Boston. At least for this year. 

With James and Davis both getting a year older, the transfer of power has already begun. We started to see a little of it with the explosive arrival of Ja Morant. But now, the likes of Donovan Mitchell, Anthony Edwards, Jalen Brunson, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Nikola Jokic, are stating with their play that this is their time to shine. 

LeBron James (23) of the Los Angeles Lakers made the All-NBA Third Team. File photo/Photo credit: Mark Hammond/News4usonline

When the league released its 2023-24 Kia All-NBA team it reflected this reality as much. Davis received one first-place vote and generated a total of 230 votes to make the All-NBA second team. 

James, playing in his 20th season, played out of his mind, scoring 25.7 points and grabbing over seven rebounds per game during the regular season. James very well could have made the second team with his performance throughout the season. 

But voters picked Davis, Leonard, Edwards, Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns, and Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks ahead of him. James garnered one first-place vote and generated less overall votes than Davis and finished with 164 in the final tally. 

To look at the dynamic shift in the NBA all one has to do is look at the roster of the All-NBA team. Gilgeous-Alexander, who earned 99 first-place votes and tied Jokic with 435 total votes, led the Oklahoma City Thunder to the top of the Western Conference with the best record. 

Jokic just claimed his third MVP honors and led the Nuggets to the NBA championship in 2023. Voters gave Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum 65 first-place votes. Tatum, who is trying to lead his Celtics to a trip to the NBA Finals, received a total of 427 overall votes.

With Tatum leading the charge, Boston finished the regular season with the best overall record for a team and sat on top of the Eastern Conference. Dallas guard Luka Doncic has his Mavericks playing in the Western Conference finals, a scenario that could play out for years to come. Doncic received 98 first-place votes and an overall tally of 493 votes. 

While Jokic and Doncic continue to amaze with their overall game, the Greek Freak, better known as Giannis Antetokounmpo simply defies logic with the physical tools he has been blessed with. 

With 30 points and 11 rebounds per game, Antetokounmpo deserved the first-team place he was put on. Antetokounmpo received 473 total votes while garnering 88 votes for first place. Just a few years ago when George and Leonard arrived in Los Angeles and the teaming up of James and Davis, the NBA’s hierarchy belonged on the West Coast. 

That has now changed. 

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