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MONROE: McGrady the swing vote on All-NBA

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Mike Monroe

 
   
 
Think it's easy voting for the All-NBA first team? It's not bad enough there are players who officially are listed at more than one position. There are plenty of others who play more than one position but are listed at only one. , for example. Officially, he's a guard, but he's 6 feet 8, and if you insist on voting for him as a forward, the league office won't kick your ballot back to you and make you revote. So you're left with this dilemma: Vote for McGrady at guard and you have to bump either or down to the second team. Vote for him at forward and either or drops down. Yikes! If you've gotten the impression McGrady is getting one of my votes for first-team All-NBA consider yourself exceedingly observant. Since one of the great debates in the league this season swirled around McGrady and Bryant and which one had ascended to the heights as the league's best offensive player, that also means my first team won't have a true point guard. There's no way I'm dropping either Duncan or Garnett to the second team. One of them is getting my No. 1 vote for MVP ... but that's Wednesday's column. The McGrady-Bryant-Kidd question really is the only tough choice for the first team. Shaquille O'Neal may have missed a few games at the start of the season and struggled to get in shape to the point he was not quite as dominating as in seasons past, but don't kid yourself. He's still the best center in the game. Thus, my All-NBA first team is O'Neal at center, Duncan and Garnett the forwards, McGrady and Bryant the guards. I think either McGrady or Bryant will figure out a way to bring the ball up court. The mounted a PR campaign to drum up support for for first-team center, but he will have to make do with defensive player of the year and a spot on the All-NBA second team. He clearly was the second-best center in the league this season, despite averaging only 6.9 points. But there never has been a first-team All-NBA choice with a single-digit scoring average and Wallace won't be the first, at least on my ballot. Obviously, Kidd is one of my second-team guards. He was runner-up in MVP voting last season and won't be in the top five this season, even though he may well have had a better overall season for the . gets the other guard spot on my second team. He improved his shot selection in the second half of the season to the point the nearly surged to the top of the Eastern Conference. Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki and Sacramento's Chris Webber are my second-team forwards. No need to ask why. Had it not been for the MVP-caliber seasons turned in by both Duncan and Garnett either one might have been a first-team choice. It's hard to find a center that truly merits inclusion on the third team. Take your pick among Yao Ming, Brad Miller, Theo Ratliff and Vlade Divac. Anyone can find a reason to disagree. I'm voting for Yao, and no, this is not inconsistent with the fact I'm voting for Amare Stoudemire for rookie of the year. It reflects the dearth of truly outstanding centers in the league, not that Yao had a better season than Stoudemire. Stephon Marbury had his best season ever and helped Stoudemire turn the Suns into a playoff team. Thus, he is one of my third-team guards, along with Dallas' Steve Nash. New Orleans' often-overlooked Jamal Mashburn and Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal are my third-team forwards. Mike Monroe can be reached at his email address: mmonroe@foxsports.com.
Tagged: Hawks, Pelicans, Mavericks, Pistons, Rockets, Pacers, Lakers, Timberwolves, Nets, 76ers, Suns, Kings, Spurs, Brad Miller, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Ben Wallace, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd, Tim Duncan, Amar'e Stoudemire, Theo Ratliff, Yao Ming

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