A Way-Too-Early Look at Candidates for the 2014-2015 All-NBA Team
Believe it or not, the NBA season is nearly four weeks old already. Every team in the league has played at least 10 games, so trends are already starting to come to the surface. Some teams are better than expected, others are worse. Some players have disappointed, while others are dominating.
While much will certainly change as the winter wears on, we thought we’d take a stab at which five superstars deserve All-NBA status based on their first month of the 2014-2015 campaign alone. Call it the ‘way-too-early All-NBA team,’ if you prefer. Who would you add or replace from this potentially-Dream Team-worthy starting five? (All statistics include games played through November 20.)
PG Stephen Curry
We give the nod at point guard to Warriors standout Stephen Curry, who averaged a career-best 24 points per game a year ago and is on pace to top that so far this season. Curry is averaging 24.8 points a night, fourth-best in the NBA. He’s also tied for the league lead in steals with 2.3 per contest and fifth in the NBA with 7.7 assists a game. Curry’s Warriors are 8-2, enjoying a three-game winning streak and leading the Pacific Division. (Of course, backcourt running mate Klay Thompson, who’s pouring in 23.6 points per outing, also has something to do with that.)
SG Kobe Bryant
Don’t try to tell Kobe Bryant (pictured) that he’s old. Don’t rattle off the list of recent injuries and expect the Black Mamba to show signs of wear and tear. At least, not so far this season. The young-at-heart Lakers superstar is leading the NBA by a wide margin in scoring, averaging 27.5 points per game. Perhaps more impressively, he’s playing more than 35 minutes a night. What Achilles? What knee? While Bryant’s efficiency leaves something to be desired, and it remains to be seen whether the 36-year-old can sustain this torrid pace for an 82-game grind, what more could coach Byron Scott realistically expect from the Lakers’ only consistent scoring weapon, a veteran who’s been able to get his despite dealing with double-teams on a near-nightly basis?
SF LeBron James
Even when LeBron James is good, he gets criticized. To the naked eye, James has had a subpar start to the 2014-2015 season, as he’s finding his way with a still-jelling Cavaliers roster that’s mired around .500. Wednesday night didn’t help, as LeBron turned it over with his team down two points to San Antonio in the final seconds. However, the less-than-dominant LeBron is still the second-leading scorer in the NBA at 25.9 points per game. He’s also averaging more than six and a half assists and rebounds so far this season. Considering only five players in NBA history (James included) have put up 25-7-7 for an entire year, maybe LeBron’s been a little better than he’s getting credit for.
PF Anthony Davis
It seems that the next great NBA superstar is growing up before our eyes. Anthony Davis (pictured) averaged 13.5 points as a rookie, a number that skyrocketed to 20.8 in his second season as a pro. So far this year, he’s apparently taken another giant step, with a robust scoring average of 25.5 points per game, third-best in the Association. Davis, whose Pelicans are a solid 6-4 so far, also leads the NBA in blocked shots (3.9 a night), is tied with Curry for the league lead in steals, and ranks fifth in rebounding at 11.4 caroms a contest. The scary thing is that the uber-talented Davis might just be starting to scratch the surface of his incredible potential.
C DeMarcus Cousins
Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins averaged a career-best 22.7 points and 11.7 rebounds a game in 2013-2014, and has picked up right where he left off in his fifth career season. Cousins currently ranks ninth in the league in scoring at 22.5 ppg, and his 11.8 rebounds a night is good for third among NBA players. Cousins impressed this summer with Team USA at the World Cup, and has carried his success into the NBA regular season with the Kings, who have been a pleasant surprise early on with seven wins and just five losses.