Tatum wants positionless All-NBA voting after Embiid's 1st-team snub
"I do think it should be positionless," the Celtics forward said Wednesday, courtesy of The Athletic's Joe Vardon. "Joel Embiid was second in MVP voting and he made second team? It doesn't really make too much sense."
All-NBA voting uses three designations for players - guard, forward, and center - with some players eligible at multiple positions. Tatum, for example, could receive votes as either a guard or a forward, while Embiid was listed as a forward and a center.
However, with reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic essentially a lock at center, Embiid would have had to accrue more votes "out of position" than first-team forwards Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo. While some ballots did put Embiid and Jokic side by side in the first team's frontcourt, the 76ers big man still picked up fewer votes at forward than Tatum and Antetokounmpo, relegating him to center on the second team.
The same quirk also kept Embiid out of the top five in 2021, when he also finished second to Jokic for MVP. In the last 15 seasons, Embiid is the only MVP runner-up to not make the All-NBA first team, according to Statmuse.
Tatum missed out on a super-max extension because he wasn't selected to any of the three All-NBA teams last season. He said positionless voting would need to adopt other criteria and suggested possible requirements could include a threshold for games played or a player's team making the postseason, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps.
"I think it should just be like the 15 best players," Tatum said, per Bontemps. "Obviously, with some guys in a contract year, super-max deals involved, that's tough. I'm sure that's tough on the voters as well. So I think there's a lot that could be changed in that area, in that regard."
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