Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid are hybrid players who can play multiple positions on the floor. The problem is they are listed as centers, and they might need to change that if they want to win awards in the future.
Epic battle at the center position
This year, the big men take center stage. Embiid, Jokic, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are in the conversation for the MVP award, but only one can win it. Coincidentally, Jojo and Nikola are both listed as centers, although they play as point-forwards. If they want to be named on the All-NBA First Team, they should rethink what position they are going to be listed in.
The NBA First Team recognizes players who are the best in their positions. Given this, only one between Jokic and Embidd will be named on the First Team, which sucks since they both deserve to be in it. Losing out on the prestige, honor, and millions of dollars because you play in the same position with another dominating big man in the league is no fun.
The league should revise positional designations to reward players who truly deserve being on the All-NBA First Team. However, one downside of this aspect is we could see an All-NBA team full of centers and forwards. But with the way the game is progressing, there’s a chance we could see more multi-positional players dominating the league.
Not the first time
This dilemma has been going on since the 50s and 60s with Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. The latter won five MVPs but only got in First Team four times. It’s ridiculous to think you were named the best player in the league but did not get on the First Team.
Let's take a look at a more recent era where Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, and David Robinson all played against each other. They all deserved to be named in All-NBA First Teams, but because of positional designations, some had to give way.
Until the NBA changes how it selects players on the All-NBA Teams, the players have no choice but to prove they are the best in their position. Embiid and Jokic both deserve to be on the All-NBA First Team, but only one of them will get in.