Fascinating wrinkle could negatively affect Donovan Mitchell’s All-NBA First Team chances

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Brian Westerholt-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell is in a good spot to earn an All-NBA selection for his performance in the 2022-23 season, but he may have a hard time making All-NBA First Team.

In this season’s All-NBA ballot, Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum has guard eligibility and Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic has forward eligibility.

This could lead to Mitchell getting pushed to another All-NBA team, as Jokic, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Tatum are all likely possibilities to end up as All-NBA First Team selections.

In the past two seasons, Jokic has been the All-NBA First Team’s center, with Embiid making All-NBA Second Team as a center. However, the two players are the leading candidates for the league’s MVP award this season, and with Jokic’s new eligibility, they could both end up being All-NBA First Team selections.

Mitchell averaged 28.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in the regular season, shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from beyond the arc. He was named an All-Star for the fourth time in his career in the process.

While those are great numbers, there are other players that could edge him out at the guard position, especially if Tatum takes up one of the All-NBA First Team spots.

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic, Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard and even Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry (despite missing several games) all have cases to make All-NBA First Team.

Mitchell certainly deserves consideration, but the new eligibility makes his path to earning the First Team honors a little tougher.

The Cavs and their fans are focused on Mitchell leading the team in the playoffs this season at the moment over his status in the awards market.

Cleveland earned the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference this season and will take on the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs. Game 1 between the two teams is scheduled for Saturday, April 15 at 6 p.m. EST in Cleveland.

Mitchell has been terrific for the Cavs all season, but he can truly endear himself to the fanbase and the city by leading the team on a deep playoff run this season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.