The NBA recently unveiled the All-NBA teams for the 2022-23 season, and one player, in particular, many believed got snubbed. Ja Morant finished the season averaging 26.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 8.1 assists per game while shooting 46.6% from the field and 30.7% from three. After the multiple controversies that he went through during the season, some speculated that this was the reason why Morant was left off the list. As a result of Morant missing an All-NBA selection, he will now no longer be eligible for a supermax contract.
The All-NBA First Team consisted of Shai Gilheous-Alexander, Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid. All of these players had incredible seasons, and even if Morant had stayed out of the headlines for a full season and played all 82 games, he likely still would not have beaten out any of these players for a spot on the first team.
The All-NBA Second Team was awarded to Stephen Curry, Donovan Mitchell, Jaylen Brown, Jimmy Butler, and Nikola Jokic. There is a case that could be made that Morant could have made the second team over Mitchell. In the 61 games that he participated in Morant averaged 26.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 8.1 assists per game. In comparison, Mitchell averaged 28.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game in the 68 games he played in.
When comparing their 36-minute stats, the case gets even stronger for Morant who averaged 29.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 9.1 assists per 36 minutes while Mitchell averaged 28.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists.
While a case could be made for Morant to get a spot over Mitchell, this should not be considered a snub. Mitchell played in more games and had a higher offensive rating and a lower defensive rating. Along with this, it could easily be argued that he had a much larger impact on his team than Morant. The Grizzlies played very well when he was forced to take his leave of absence from the team.
The All-NBA Third Team roster was filled up by De’Aaron Fox, Damian Lillard, LeBron James, Julius Randle, and Domantas Sobonis. Once again, it could be argued that Morant could have been named to the third team over either Lillard or Fox, however, both players who made the team were well-qualified. While Lillard did not play in as many games as Morant and was shut down for the year once the Portland Trail Blazers were eliminated from playoff contention, Lillard averaged some of the best stats in the league this season with 32.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game. He also tied the record for most single-game points this season with Donovan Mitchell at 71 points.
Morant had stronger per-game stats than Fox, however, Fox played in eleven more games than Morant and was arguably the most impactful player on what was the league’s best offense this season.
While there was a case for Morant to be named to an All-NBA team this season, he was by no means snubbed. If he had been able to participate in more games this season or put together a slightly stronger stat line, his spot on an All-NBA team would have been undeniable. However, it appears that the voters got things right this year.
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