Having two 7-foot big men dominate the NBA is pretty exciting. Unfortunately, it also comes with a unique and unfortunate problem.
Normally, the All-NBA teams only allow for one “center” in each lineup. In a season where the top two MVP candidates are both centers, that means one of them will gave to miss out on getting first-team honors.
As a solution, the NBA office decided to allow both players to be eligible on the voting ballot at the center and forward positions.
It is not the first year this loophole has been implemented, but it does seem more relevant now than ever with both of these bigs dominating at such an extreme level.
To some, however, the change isn’t a solution at all.
Speaking on his podcast, The Ringer’s Bill Simmons condemned the strategy by the league and called for a more permanent, official change to the All-NBA voting process.
Here's what he said:
“I am not bending the rules and putting Jokic and Embiid on the same All-NBA team. Jokic and Embiid are centers and it’s ridiculous to put one of them as a forward until they change the requirements. I'm not putting Jokic as a forward given how they tally the votes and all of a sudden he's still on the 2nd team. If I think Jokic is better than Embiid, I'm putting him on 1st team and Embiid on the 2nd team.”
Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid are both having spectacular seasons.
Jokic, 27, is in the 7th season of his career and continues to keep a broken and hobbled Nuggets team relevant in the West. Through 72 games this season, he’s averaging 26.8 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 8 assists per game on 58% shooting.
Embiid, meanwhile, is about to end the best stretch of his career. With averages of 30.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game, he has been an MVP candidate from the very beginning.
Whoever deserves the nod for All-NBA first-team is a matter that will not get unanimous agreement. Neither will the NBA’s response.
Going forward, we can expect some serious conversations on the process and how each position gets represented.