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The Most All-NBA First Team Selection Per Franchise: Lakers Are First, Nobody Is Even Close

The Most All-NBA First Team Selection Per Franchise: Lakers Are First, Nobody Is Even Close

The 2022 All-NBA squad was announced month ago and it appears that the next generation of superstars is ready to become familiar faces on the team. With rising stars like Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, and Luka Doncic making an appearance on the All-NBA First Team, it shows that the NBA is in good hands when some of our favorite veterans are ready to retire.

The All-NBA First Team features players that are considered the best of the best at their position. Each list includes two guards, two forwards, and one center. That means that some great players might have been pushed to a Second Team or Third Team if there was a lot of talent. Look at Joel Embiid in the last few years, who was an MVP contender, but finished All-Second Team because MVP Nikola Jokic took the lone center position.

Voting has now allowed some of these players to be chosen at a forward or center, but at the end of the day, making First Team is difficult. Since the All-NBA squad started in the late 40s, only five positions have been awarded to players. Two teams have never seen a player with their jersey named All-NBA First Team, while some others have proven they have some of the best players of all time in their franchise.

Let’s take a look at the most All-NBA First Team appearances by each team.

Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors - 0

Neither the Hornets nor the Pacers have had a player make All-NBA First Team. The Hornets have six players that have received All-NBA recognition with Glen Rice receiving Second Team honors in 1997. With that said, only two players have received All-NBA honors since 2000. As for the Pacers, Reggie Miller was a three-time All-NBA Third Team selection during his heyday. Others like Jermaine O’Neal and Paul George were also snubbed from the First Team list. As for the Raptors, the highest any player has gone is the Second Team, which was won by Kawhi Leonard, DeMar DeRozan, Pascal Siakam, and Vince Carter.

Memphis Grizzlies - 1

1 - Marc Gasol (2015)

The Grizzlies have the least amount of All-NBA appearances in league history. When Ja Morant was named to the All-NBA Team, he became just the third player in franchise history to be rewarded that honor. As for Gasol, he averaged 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. Gasol was also a top defensive player, helping Memphis rank near the top in defensive efficiency.

Brooklyn Nets - 2

2 - Jason Kidd (2002, 2004)

Despite the acquisitions of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden, only one player has ever received All-NBA First Team honors. No Net has been named since 2004 when Jason Kidd won his second honor. When Kidd joined the Nets, he helped the team make the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, while also playing like the best two-way point guard in the league. Assuming the Nets can stay healthy, or play games in Irving’s case, there could be some possibilities of some players joining Kidd on this list next year.

Portland Trail Blazers - 3

1 - Damian Lillard (2018)

1 - Clyde Drexler (1992)

1 - Bill Walton (1978)

The Trail Blazers have never had a multi-recipient of First Team honors in team history. In the last 30 years, one player has been named to the list and that was Damian Lillard in 2018. In 1992, Drexler had a magnificent season as he led the Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals. As for Walton, he not only made the NBA Finals but also won the championship and was named Finals MVP.

Minnesota Timberwolves - 3

3 - Kevin Garnett (2000, 2003, 2004)

There has been only one player to ever receive All-NBA First Team in franchise history. The last player in nearly 20 years was Kevin Garnett, who won the MVP Award in 2004 and nearly led the T-Wolves to the NBA Finals. Kevin Love and Karl-Anthony Towns have been unable to make that jump to the top-5, but both have made All-NBA Third Teams.

New Orleans Pelicans - 4

3 - Anthony Davis (2015, 2017, 2018)

1 - Chris Paul (2008)

When the Lakers traded away all of their draft capital to the Pelicans back in 2019, there was a reason. Davis was a three-time All-NBA First Team honoree that was leading a team in New Orleans by himself. Another player that knows all about that is Chris Paul, who had the team on the cusp of making their first Conference Finals in franchise history in 2008 before the Spurs won Game 7.

Washington Wizards - 5

3 - Elvin Hayes (1975, 1977, 1979)

1 - Wes Unseld (1969)

1 - Earl Monroe (1969)

The duo of Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld helped the Wizards win an NBA championship back in the 70s and remain two of the greatest players in team history. It has been 43 years since a member of the Wizards has been named to the First Team. Not even John Wall or Gilbert Arenas has secured that honor. With all eyes on the return of Bradley Beal, he might be the team’s only hope shortly.

Denver Nuggets - 5

3 - Nikola Jokic (2019, 2021, 2022)

2 - David Thompson (1977, 1978)

So far, Nikola Jokic is making a case as the greatest Denver Nugget in team history. Jokic has plenty of great seasons left in him, but has already surpassed David Thompson for the most All-NBA First Team recognitions and is the defending back-to-back MVP of the NBA. Jokic has put up triple-double numbers as a center, which was unheard of during Thompson’s era.

Los Angeles Clippers - 6

3 - Chris Paul (2012-2014)

1 - Kawhi Leonard (2021)

1 - DeAndre Jordan (2016)

Before Chris Paul joined the Clippers, no player had ever made the First Team. Then, he did it three years in a row. The creation of “Lob City '' was a phenomenon in Los Angeles, one that helped center DeAndre Jordan make a First Team. Last year, Kawhi Leonard was playing like an MVP. Had he not gotten hurt, the Clippers might have made their first NBA Finals in team history.

Dallas Mavericks - 7

4 - Dirk Nowitzki (2005-2007, 2009)

3 - Luka Doncic (2020-2022)

Only two players have ever made the First Team. One of them is the record holder for every statistical category in franchise history. The other is the player that might end up breaking all of those records one day. In his fourth season, Luka Doncic nearly had many First Team selections as the great Dirk Nowitzki. Assuming he stays in Dallas, he is going to break nearly every record that Nowitzki has.

9 - Detroit Pistons

3 - Isiah Thomas (1984-1986)

2 - Dave Bing (1968, 1971)

1 - Grant Hill (1997)

1 - Gene Shue (1960)

1 - George Yardley (1958)

1 - Larry Foust (1955)

It has been 36 years since a member of the Pistons made First Team. That’s right. The dynasty run of Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace, and Rasheed Wallace never saw any of those All-Stars make the First Team. That team was built around each other as all of these players were very good, but not superstars. That title belongs to Isiah Thomas, who headed the “Bad Boy” Pistons in the 80s that helped the team make three straight NBA Finals.

New York Knicks - 9

4 - Walt Frazier (1970, 1972, 1974, 1975)

1 - Patrick Ewing (1990)

1 - Willis Reed (1970)

1 - Harry Gallatin (1954)

Only one player has ever made First Team more than once in Knicks’ history. That was Walt Frazier back in the 70s. The last Knick to earn First Team status was Patrick Ewing in 1990, which was 32 years ago. The Knicks had one stud in Carmelo Anthony, who led the league in scoring, but that was not enough to get him on the First Team. In the end, you would have expected more from the city of New York.

Orlando Magic - 9

5 - Dwight Howard (2008-2012)

2 - Tracy McGrady (2002, 2003)

2 - Penny Hardaway (1995, 1996)

When Shaquille O’Neal started playing for the Magic, he was an All-Star in his rookie year. With that said, he never made the First Team with Orlando. Instead, he made the Third Team twice and the Second Team once. As for Penny Hardaway, in two of his career three appearances on the All-NBA Team were on the First Team. The best was Dwight Howard, who was potentially the league’s best overall center from 2008 to 2012. Outside of a scoring championship from Tracy McGrady, it was Howard who led Orlando to the NBA Finals.

Cleveland Cavaliers - 9

8 - LeBron James (2006, 2008-2010, 2015-2018)

1 - Mark Price (1993)

Before LeBron James, the Cavaliers were not a brand. The team had always flirted with being competitive but never had that true top-5 player. LeBron James was that to the franchise, making up eight of the team’s nine total appearances. James accomplished this as a younger player and then did it again four years in a row when it came back for a second stint.

Atlanta Hawks - 10

9 - Bob Pettit (1956-1964)

1 - Dominique Wilkins (1986)

The Hawks have not seen a player make the First Team in 36 years. Since the Bob Pettit era, only one player, Dominique Wilkins, has made the First Team. During that era, Pettit made the First Team every season from 1956 to 1964. Nine of the 10 appearances belong to Pettit, While Pettit doesn’t need anyone to back him up for being a great player, it goes to show how great Pettit was compared to the rest.

Miami Heat - 10

4 - LeBron James (2011-2014)

2 - Dwyane Wade (2009, 2010)

2 - Shaquille O’Neal (2005, 2006)

1 - Alonzo Mourning (1999)

1 - Tim Hardaway (1997)

Before LeBron James joined the Heat in 2010, the Heat were near the bottom of these rankings. Then, James made the First Team four straight years from 2011 to 2014, making the NBA Finals in each season. That helped the Heat vault to the middle tier. In the 2000s, the Heat had a great tandem of Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal that keep the Heat a regular in the conversation. Wade was tandem with James during those years, but he never made the First Team with James. In the end, the Heat have some players on paper in Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro who could one day join some elite company on this list.

Milwaukee Bucks - 11

4 - Giannis Antetokounmpo (2019-2022)

4 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1971-1974)

1 - Sidney Moncrief (1983)

1 - Marques Johnson (1979)

1 - Bob Pettit (1955)

What Giannis Antetokounmpo is doing in Milwaukee is giving flashbacks to those who remember Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 70s. Both players own four appearances on the First Team, while both have delivered a championship to the city of Milwaukee. With that said, Giannis will finish with more appearances than Abdul-Jabbar. Giannis signed a contract extension to keep him around for four more years. He is also 27 years old with plenty of prime years left. He could finish his career with double-digit appearances.

Oklahoma City Thunder - 13

5 - Kevin Durant (2010-2014)

2 - Russell Westbrook (2016, 2017)

2 - Gary Payton (1998, 2000)

2 - Spencer Haywood (1972, 1973)

1 - Paul George (2019)

1 - Gus Williams (1982)

Before Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the team was near the bottom of the standings. While only two players have made the First Team since 2000, those same two players have made up for over half of the total First Team appearances for the franchise. From 2010 to 2014, Durant was a four-time scoring champion and MVP in 2014. Westbrook made a First Team in 2016, while Durant made the Second Team. Then, Westbrook made it back in Durant’s first year, where he averaged a triple-double and won the MVP.

Phoenix Suns - 14

3 - Steve Nash (2005-2007)

3 - Jason Kidd (1999-2001)

3 - Paul Westphal (1977, 1979, 1980)

1 - Devin Booker (2022)

1 - Amar’e Stoudemire (2007)

1 - Charles Barkley (1993)

1 - Dennis Johnson (1981)

1 - Connie Hawkins (1970)

Three players have made the First Team three times. That includes all guards in Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, and Paul Westphal. Nash was a two-time MVP in 2005 and 2006. Kidd was a fixture at the top of the league in assists and steals. As for Westphal, ironically, he didn’t make the First Team when he had his best season scoring. His career-high of 25.2 points per game came in 1978.

Houston Rockets - 14

6 - James Harden (2014, 2015, 2017-2020)

6 - Hakeem Olajuwon (1987-1989, 1993, 1994, 1997)

2 - Moses Malone (1979, 1982)

Two players historically have proven to be the best Rockets players in franchise history. That was Hakeem Olajuwon and James Harden. Both players made six appearances on the First Team, while Harden was a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Olajuwon was one of the game’s greatest post players. Deciding who is better is honestly a coin flip, but it’s also Olajuwon that has played in two NBA Finals with two rings and Finals MVP trophies.

Chicago Bulls - 14

9 - Michael Jordan (1987-1993, 1996-1998)

3 - Scottie Pippen (1994-1996)

1 - Joakim Noah (2014)

1 - Derrick Rose (2011)

Since Michael Jordan retired, only two players have made the First Team. One of those players would be Joakim Noah. He was selected for grit when the Bulls lost Derrick Rose, a 2011 recipient, and MVP winner, to a knee injury. The real workers were Jordan and Pippen. The two combined for 12 of the team’s 14 appearances on the First Team. Had he not retired early, this would have been in the double digits.

Utah Jazz - 16

11 - Karl Malone (1989-1999)

2 - John Stockton (1994, 1995)

2 - Pete Maravich (1976, 1977)

1 - Truck Robinson (1978)

Donovan Michell and Rudy Gobert have flirted with the All-NBA Third Team every year. Neither has talent, the step towards being noticed on the First Team. The last Jazz player to be rewarded was in 1999 by Karl Malone. From 1989 to 1999, Malone made the First Team each season. John Stockton joined Malone in 1994 and 1996. The duo remains the last recipients on the list in the last 45 years.

Sacramento Kings - 20

9 - Oscar Robertson (1961-1969)

4 - Bob Davies (1949-1952)

3 - Tiny Archibald (1973, 1975, 1976)

3 - Jerry Lucas (1965, 1966, 1969)

1 - Chris Webber (2001)

The Kings have been carried by their legacy players, who were members of the Cincinnati, Rochester, or Kansas City Royals. Of the 20 appearances, Oscar Robertson owns nearly half during a nine-year run in the 60s. The Kings have not seen a player make the First Team since 2001, while Chris Webber is the only selection from the Kings since 1976.

San Antonio Spurs - 21

10 - Tim Duncan (1998-2005, 2007, 2013)

5 - George Gervin (1978-1982)

4 - David Robinson (1991, 1992, 1995, 1996)

2 - Kawhi Leonard (2016, 2017)

Tim Duncan carried the Spurs to five championships during his playing career. He is also carrying the All-NBA First Team list for the Spurs. Of the 21 total appearances, Duncan made 10, making him the only double-digit winner in team history. George Gervin and David Thompson were both around to lead the Spurs to success as well. As for Kawhi Leonard, he remains a massive “what if” question had he stated with the team.

Philadelphia 76ers - 27

6 - Dolph Shayes (1952-19555, 1957, 1958)

5 - Julius Erving (1978, 1980-1983)

4 - Charles Barkley (1988-1991)

3 - Allen Iverson (1999, 2001, 2005)

3 - Billy Cunningham (1969-1971)

3 - Wilt Chamberlain (1966-1968)

2 - Moses Malone (1983, 1985)

1 - George McGinnis (1976)

Joel Embiid has never made a First Team because of the rules with his position. If two centers could make the list, Embiid would have multiple nodes on the list. Instead, Allen Iverson is the only player to make the First Team since 1991. Even then, Iverson had some tough guard competition during the 2000s, but he was able to make three First Teams altogether. As for some of the legends, Dolph Shayes, Julius Erving, and Charles Barkley combine for 15 of the 27 appearances.

Golden State Warriors - 27

5 - Rock Barry (1966, 1967, 1974-1976)

4 - Steph Curry (2015, 2016, 2019, 2020)

4 - Wilt Chamberlain (1960, 1961, 1962, 1964)

4 - Neil Johnston (1953-1956)

3 - Joe Fulks (1947-1949)

3 - Paul Arizin (1952, 1956, 1957)

1 - Kevin Durant (2018)

1 - Latrell Sprewell (1994)

1 - Chris Mullin (1992)

1 - Howie Dallmer (1948)

The Warriors have been led by Steph Curry’s success in recent years. Before Curry made the First Team in 2015, it had been 23 years since a Warrior made the call. From 2015 to 2020, Curry and Kevin Durant made the First Team five times. Curry has yet to make it back to the First Team since 2020, but you can never count him out despite his age starting to creep towards the wrong side of 30.

Boston - 37

10 - Bob Cousy (1952-1961)

9 - Larry Bird (1980-1988)

4 - John Havlicek (1971-1974)

4 - Bill Sharman (1956-1959)

3 - Bill Russell (1959, 1963, 1965)

3 - Ed McCauley (1951-1953)

1 - Jayson Tatum (2022)

1 - Kevin Garnett (2008)

1 - Kevin McHale (1987)

1 - Ed Dedowski (1948)

Having 37 appearances on the First Team is not something to be discouraged about. Only two teams have more than 30 appearances on the list. The Celtics are led by Bob Cousy, who displayed an impressive stretch from 1952 to 1961. In the 80s, Larry Bird made nearly every First Team in the decade. However, the Celtics pipeline at the top has gone cold as of late. Just two players have made the First Team since 1988, but with Jayson Tatum making his first appearance this year, many are hopeful that this could be a yearly trend.

Los Angeles Lakers - 63

11 - Kobe Bryant (2002-2004, 2006-2013)

10 - Jerry West (1962-1967, 1970-1973)

10 - Elgin Baylor (1959-1965, 1967-1969)

9 - Magic Johnson (1983-1991)

6 - Shaquille O’Neal (1998, 2000-2004)

6 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1967, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1986)

6 - George Mikan (1949-1954)

2 - Jim Pollard (1949, 1950)

1 - LeBron James (2020)

1 - Anthony Davis (2020)

1 - Gail Goodrich (1974)

The leader in All-NBA First Team appearances holds a lead that may never get touched. The team had three players with double-digit First Team appearances with one other that were one early retirement away from joining them. Kobe Bryant, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, and Magic Johnson combined for 39 First Team appearances, which would outpace second-place Boston by at least two votes. As for the rest, the Lakers are viewed historically as a winning franchise. Given that the Lakers have nearly doubled all NBA teams based on their quantity in this field, one would have to say they are a winning team. 


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