San Antonio Spurs: LaMarcus Aldridge left off of All-NBA Team
By Andrew Ites
Despite leading the San Antonio Spurs to an unlikely playoff appearance with strong individual statistics, LaMarcus Aldridge was left off of this year’s All-NBA team.
Even with the addition of DeMar DeRozan last summer, LaMarcus Aldridge was the unquestioned leader of this San Antonio Spurs squad for the second year in a row.
After Pop endlessly praised Aldridge during the 2017-18 season where he dragged a Kawhi Leonard-less Spurs team to the postseason and made second-team All-NBA, he followed it up with another strong year to lead San Antonio to their 22nd consecutive playoff appearance this season.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for him to earn All-NBA recognition for the sixth time in his career.
LaMarcus did receive two second-team votes along with 11 third-team nominations (with one of those votes coming from Bill Simmons), but he ultimately fell short of earning an All-NBA spot.
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The frontcourt spots were instead filled by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, and Nikola Jokic on the first team; Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leondard, and Joel Embiid on the second team; while LeBron James, Blake Griffin, and Rudy Gobert took up the frontcourt spots on the third team.
Aldridge’s argument over some of these frontcourt players would be based on his durability as he played 81 of 82 games this season, whereas LeBron James only played 55 and Kawhi Leonard played just 60 games.
LeBron and Kawhi’s per game statistics and advanced numbers were certainly stronger than Aldridge’s, but the fact that LaMarcus only missed one game all year long (a blowout loss in Golden State) should’ve factored in to the voter’s minds more than it did.
The criteria for All-NBA voting is pretty vague and most voters choose to go with the 15 best players in the league as long as they played a decent amount of games, where the cutoff is usually around 50. In that case, it’s hard to argue that Aldridge is a superior player to Kawhi or LeBron.
If LaMarcus hadn’t gotten off to such a slow start to the season this fall, he may have had a better case to be chosen over those players who missed so much time.
Aldridge had a true shooting percentage of under 50% during October and November when his midrange jumpers simply weren’t falling. For the rest of the season, he never had a month with a true shooting percentage under 53% and he finished the season incredibly strong averaging over 21 points and 10 rebounds in both March and April.
A majority of the voters decided that late push that vaulted the Spurs into the playoffs wasn’t enough to jump established players like Kawhi and LeBron.
With Derrick White narrowly missing an All-Defensive Team nod and DeMar DeRozan only receiving three All-NBA votes, it looks like San Antonio will be passed over for all of the individual accolades this season.
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However, this dynasty wasn’t built on individual awards and the Spurs will keep chugging along as they have for over two decades.