Jayson Tatum finally got the recognition he thought he deserved for a couple of seasons now, getting elected to the 2022 All-NBA First Team thanks to a terrific performance with the Boston Celtics that went from 0 to 100 during the campaign thanks to him and Jaylen Brown.
The young forward made it to the first one, accompanied by other young players that, just like him, are taking over the league. The NBA announced the three squads that received this honor, putting together three very talented teams:
All-NBA First Team: Luka Doncic, Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic
All-NBA Second Team: Steph Curry, Ja Morant, DeMar DeRozan, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid
All-NBA Third Team: Chris Paul, Trae Young, LeBron James, Pascal Siakam, Karl-Anthony Towns
Just like Charles Barkley didn't agree with LeBron James being on the 3rd team and Kevin Durant on the 2nd, Tatum also had an issue with Joel Embiid not being on the All-NBA First Team, asking the league to make some changes in that regard so the MVP winner and the runner-up can be on the same team:
“I do think it should probably be positionless. Joel Embiid was second in MVP voting (behind Nikola Jokić) and he was second-team,” Tatum said, via MassLive. “That doesn’t really make too much sense. It should be the 15 best players. Obviously with some guys in their contract years and supermax deals involved. That’s tough. I’m sure that’s tough on the voters as well.”
This was a controversial lineup for many, considering that both Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid had incredible seasons. However, the way teams are constructed makes it hard for both of them to make it to the first team. As Joe Vardon of The Athletic explains:
The reason — both Jokic and Embiid are centers. The NBA gives voters the leeway to vote for either Jokic or Embiid as a forward, so both can be on the first team, but also assigns positions to every player on the teams (two guards, two forwards, one center).
Perhaps the league can make more changes on this so that if the MVP and the runner-up play the same position, they can be on the same team. At the end of the day, a squad with Jokic and Embiid on the court would be fun to watch. Tatum wants to see this change soon, so other players don't feel disrespected by voters.