Jayson Tatum named to All-NBA First Team, despite receiving fewer points than Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid was dropped to the second team.

Jayson Tatum
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was named All-NBA First Team. Photo by Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

Celtics star Jayson Tatum earned his first All-NBA first team nod on Tuesday, narrowly bumping 76ers star Joel Embiid to the second team.

Tatum averaged 26.9 points, eight rebounds and 4.4 assists during the regular season, shooting 45.3/35.3/85.3 splits from the field.

Both Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart took to Twitter to congratulate their teammate.

In an odd twist, Tatum got in despite receiving fewer voting points than Joel Embiid. Embiid — who was widely considered one of 2-3 real MVP candidates this season, along with Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo — received 57 first-team votes and 414 total votes, while Tatum received 49 first-team votes and 390 total points. Presumably, this means Embiid’s votes were split between him at center and him at forward — thereby allowing Tatum (all of whose votes would have gone for him at forward) to slide into the top spot while Embiid dropped to second team.


Ironically, that same scenario cost Tatum millions of dollars last year. Tatum was not named to an All-NBA team because voters split his votes between forward and guard, allowing Kyrie Irving to earn All-NBA third team.

If Tatum had made that team last year, his max contract would have bumped up more than $30 million extra over the duration of his rookie-scale extension — a provision of the “Rose rule” in which players with Tatum’s experience can earn up to 30 percent of the salary cap on a max deal instead of the standard 25 percent.

Still, Tatum can now boast two All-NBA selections on his resume in addition to a $175 million contract and a team that needs just two more wins for a spot in the NBA Finals.

Antetokounmpo was a unanimous selection, and he was joined by Jokic, Luka Donci, and Devin Booker in addition to Tatum. Embiid, Ja Morant, Steph Curry, DeMar DeRozan, and Kevin Durant made up the third team. Karl-Anthony Towns, LeBron James, Trae Young, Chris Paul, and Pascal Siakam were all voted to the third team.


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