All-NBA teams: Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell miss cut, lose $33 million each thanks to ridiculous voter setup

The three 2020-21 All-NBA teams were announced on Tuesday, and a couple notable names were left off: Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell. And it cost them both a boatload of money, which we’ll get to in a second. First, the players who did make it:

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Where you start your argument that Tatum and/or Mitchell should’ve made at least the third team is up to you. Or perhaps you feel their snubbing was warranted. It was super close. Every guy on this list had a superb season. That said, the Celtics All-Star averaged more points, rebounds, steals and blocks, and fewer turnovers, than Paul George, and more points, rebounds and blocks than Jimmy Butler while also finishing with a higher 3-point and free-throw percentage. 

The Jazz’s Mitchell also scored significantly more than George and Butler and completely outclassed Butler as a 3-point shooter. Plus, he was, you know, arguably the best player on the best team in the league. Bradley Beal scored more on a worse team. There are a lot of layers to the conversation, but in the end, Mitchell and Tatum didn’t make it, and as noted at the top, it is going to hit their bank accounts hard. 

The way this works is this: When a player signs a rookie extension, he is eligible to make 30 percent of the cap in the first year of the deal, with the annual raises starting from that basis point, if he makes an All-NBA team in the year prior to the start of the deal, in two of the previous three seasons. 

Tatum made Third-Team All-NBA last season, but not in his rookie season. So he needed it this season to qualify. Mitchell has never made an All-NBA team. Had either of these two made All-NBA this season, the extension they each signed this past offseason would’ve been worth $196 million over four years. Now Mitchell and Tatum will make, give or take, $163 million. 

Add it up, and that’s between a $32 million and $33 million hit over four years for not being selected. Sure, nobody’s crying for a guy making over $160 million, but $33 million is $33 million. And what really stinks about it is this is all based on voters’ opinions. That is just way too much power to give voters. That is real money they are determining. Tens of millions. 

And to make matters worse, Tatum was stiffed on a positional technicality. 

How many voters are honestly watching every single game that every one of these guys play? If you’re on the fence about a player like, say, LeBron James, who played four games over the final seven weeks of the season, how do you not go with Tatum or Mitchell for purely monetary reasons? LeBron making his 17th All-NBA team doesn’t mean a thing to his bank account or his ego. 

I know that sounds bad to suggest a voter should consider money when making these decisions, but how can you not? Again, this is just too much power in the hands of voters. For the record, De’Aaron Fox had the same $33 million All-NBA opportunity, but he wasn’t on the fence for making one of the teams. Bam Adebayo could’ve gotten the same bump had he made the first team, or about $17 million more had he won Defensive Player of the Year, but he also wasn’t in the running for either of those. 

I just can’t get over this. I can only imagine the frustration of Tatum, who was particularly robbed in my opinion, and Mitchell. 

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