All-Star weekend is right around the corner and while the NBA is full of talented proven stars, a lot of young players have also made a name for themselves this season. With injuries to guarantees such as Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry & Kyrie Irving, this means that quite a few players are set to make their first All-Star appearance. With just over a month away until All-Star Weekend is set to take place, we breakdown who might earn selection for the main event in Chicago based on statistics, team value and overall performance throughout the season.
As a reminder as to how All-Star voting works, the fans, media, and players vote on the starters. The fans contribute to 50% of the vote, while the players and media get 25% each. The reserves are decided by the coaches, and the leading vote-getter in each conference will become team captains, and get to select the players they want on their team.
Luka Doncic – Team Captain
What’s not to love about Luka Doncic? Seriously? The second-year player out of Slovenia has taken over the league this season with his ability to do a wide range of things on the court. Doncic is in the top five for MVP voting at age 20, and will only get better over time. He has been elite all season and if he keeps this up, he has a pretty good chance to retire as one of the greatest players of all time. Luka is averaging 29.6 points, 9.7 rebounds and 9.0 assists and from the look of things, nothing is slowing him down anytime soon.
James Harden – Starter
With the addition of Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets in the offseason, many expected his elite level of performance to slightly decrease; however, that has not been the case, and “The Beard” has somehow elevated his game to another level. The 7x All-Star and 1x MVP is averaging 38.0 points per game, the most-ever by an NBA player since Wilt Chamberlain. He’s also made a strong case for being the greatest scorer of all time with his ability to make shots in so many different ways, which makes him truly unguardable. Lock him in as a starter, no question about it.
LeBron James – Starter
“The King” has returned to the throne this season after coming off an injury-plagued 2018-19 campaign, where he only featured in 55 games for the Lakers. Playing alongside Anthony Davis, LeBron has been putting on a show this season and has reminded us of just how great he really is. James is leading the NBA in assists per game with 10.8, as well as pouring in 25.1 points and 7.8 rebounds. No reason he won’t be a starter, and we are all sure that he will be putting on a show in Chicago come February.
Kawhi Leonard – Starter
Coming off an NBA title with the Toronto Raptors as well as a Finals MVP, many speculated as to how Kawhi Leonard would perform playing alongside star teammate, Paul George. While the Clippers have struggled at times when these two are on the floor, they are still very hard to beat. Leonard is having one of his best regular seasons of his career, pouring in 25.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and a career best 5.1 assists. The Clippers hold the third-best record in the West, and Kawhi has played a big part in that (when he isn’t load-managed).
Anthony Davis – Starter
The newest star-recruit for the Los Angeles Lakers, Anthony Davis has been playing some of his best basketball yet alongside LeBron James. Another player out West who is in MVP considerations, Davis is almost guaranteed to be starting, and will likely end up doing so. He is averaging 27.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists, with one of his biggest strengths being on the defensive end, where he is helping out the Lakers with 1.2 steals and 1.8 blocks per night. DPOY?
Karl-Anthony Towns – Reserve
Maybe the biggest debate in the NBA right now is who the best center in the league is — Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid or Karl-Anthony Towns. They all make a strong case for it with each possessing different strengths; Towns’ biggest strength, however, is his ability to hit the three ball. He is one of the greatest three-point shooting centers of all-time, and has been truly dominant in that area this season. While Minnesota has struggled at times this season when KAT is on the floor, he himself certainly hasn’t disappointed. 26.5 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists a game on 42% shooting from three, with over eight attempts per game. He has missed time with injury, but no doubt he makes the cut.
Paul George – Reserve
With Kawhi Leonard load-managed more often than not, Paul George will often get his turn under the spotlight to deliver as a first option. And deliver he does, as pouring in big nights while playing elite defense is what makes Paul George so good. The transition to LA may of been the best decision of his career yet, with a pretty good chance of winning a ring come June. PG is putting up 23.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists, while nearly shooting 40% from three. Big numbers on a big team.
Nikola Jokic – Reserve
“The Joker” has been a huge reason Denver is the second seed in the West, with his elite playmaking ability as well as a nifty post game making him hard to stop. While he did start the season relatively slow, Jokic quickly picked it up and has had some big games this season. He had 47 points in early January against the Hawks, and has been averaging 19.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists. All-Star numbers for the Serbian seven-footer.
Damian Lillard – Reserve
To be fair, the Trail Blazers have sucked this season, considering they made the Western Conference Finals last year. However, top point guard Damian Lillard has been his consistent self (as usual). Playing at a high level since the season began, you can lock him in with season numbers of 26.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.6 assists, with the latter being a career-high for him.
Russell Westbrook – Reserve
Sometimes it may look weird seeing “The Brodie” play for Houston. The man they call “Mr. OKC” had to transition from being under the spotlight to 50 meters behind it, all while playing under MVP-candidate James Harden. While Westbrook has had his struggles this season on both ends, his numbers are still All-Star worthy, and he is one of the most loved players when it comes to fan voting — plus, the Rockets are the fourth seed in the West.
Donovan Mitchell – Reserve
In his third season as a pro, Donovan Mitchell has taken the next step in becoming an elite first option on a contending team. He is having career-highs in points, assists, rebounds and field goal percentage while being a big part of Utah’s success. While he probably could’ve made the team last season, it is never easy playing in the Western Conference, which is full of elite names such as Stephen Curry (who will not play in this year’s event). Well-earned All-Star nod for “Spida”.
Devin Booker – Reserve
Suns head coach Monty Williams demanded star guard Devin Booker to improve this season as the team’s primary option. Booker’s improvements have been very notable so far. He has improved as a facilitator (6.5 assists per game), is averaging over 25 points on over 50% shooting (impressive), and has given the Suns a tad bit of hope as they sit just two games out of the eighth seed. If he gets into the All-Star game, Booker will be Phoenix’s first All-Star since Steve Nash back in 2012.
Honorable mentions: Chris Paul, Rudy Gobert, Brandon Ingram, D’Angelo Russell, Zion Williamson, DeMar DeRozan, Andrew Wiggins, CJ McCollum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kristaps Porzingis