2021 All-Stars So Far (1/24/21)

New Orleans Pelicans: 3 key matchups to watch vs. the San Antonio Spurs -  Page 3

We’re about a fifth of the way through the 2020-21 NBA season. That’s a pretty big sample size, or at least big enough where I can make some All-Star picks. I put together lists of every player I think has a case to make the game this year, and then cut it down to 13 guys per conference (12 man roster, one injury replacement). Each team has four backcourt players, six frontcourt players, and two wild cards.

To make these picks, I mostly looked at stats. Team success is a secondary factor, but only in some situations. That’s because team success usually matters less in All-Star selections than in All-NBA/MVP selections.

Of course, you will likely disagree with some of my picks. That’s cool. In fact, I’ll say it now, Rudy Gobert isn’t on here at all. Not sure if that’s super unpopular or not. Hopefully he doesn’t cry if he doesn’t make it this year.

(Note: The number of All-Star games next to each player is their real amount of selections plus this one.)

Injury Leave-Outs: Jimmy Butler, Ja Morant, C.J. McCollum, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis

Those five guys are players that were in consideration, but I don’t think they’ll make it because of the games they’ve missed (I’m not sure exactly what the minimum games played requirement is, but these guys have all played 6 games or less besides McCollum, and some are due to miss more time). This really could have been the year for C.J. to make it, but he’s about to miss four weeks and that won’t look good.

Eastern Conference Starters

G: James Harden, 9-Time All-Star

Harden is now the best guard in the East. I don’t need to explain myself too much. He’s averaging 24 PPG, 8 RPG, and a wild 12 APG in his first five games with the Nets. Those are MVP numbers, and definitely All-Star starter numbers.

G: Bradley Beal, 3-Time All-Star

I went into this expecting for Beal to be a fringe guy because team success does matter to some degree. But he’s averaging 34 PPG, and he’s simply just been better than the other guards that made the team. So Bradley Beal will be the starting two guard for the East. (It also helps Beal that lots of fans like him, so it’s definitely likely that he’ll get a lot of votes.)

F: Kevin Durant, 11-Time All-Star

I don’t need to explain this pick at all. Best player in the East, and arguably the best player in the league so far. 31 PPG, 7 RPG, 6 APG. Effortless scorer. Now that I’m not watching KD through a “I hate the Warriors” lense, I am really enjoying watching Kevin Durant. He’s very good (obviously).

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, 5-Time All-Star

As much as Giannis can annoy me sometimes, it’s undeniable that he’s worthy of this spot. He’s averaging 27 PPG, 10 RPG, 5 APG, 1 SPG, and 1 BPG. Those are exceptional numbers. He’s gonna get the votes to be a starter. He’s gonna be in the MVP race again. Any MVP candidate should be an All-Star starter.

F: Joel Embiid, 4-Time All-Star

The 76ers are a top team in the East so far, and Embiid is having the best season of his career. He’s averaging 28 PPG and 11 RPG, and even shooting 40% from three. Joel Embiid is probably my least favorite player in the NBA, but I can’t deny that he’s been a top player in the East so far. It’s wild that he’s putting up the numbers he is and he still isn’t the best center in the NBA.

Eastern Conference Bench

G: Kyrie Irving, 7-Time All-Star

We’ll see if Kyrie will stay happy as a third option. I don’t even know if he’s happy with it now. But even if he causes locker room problems, his statistical production is worthy of an All-Star selection. He’s averaging 29/5/6, and even though his numbers will likely decline some before the All-Star break, he’ll still get this spot.

G: Jaylen Brown, 1-Time All-Star

Jayson Tatum is still the best player on the Celtics, but it’s super close. JB is very good. (He was projected 75th overall for fantasy basketball this year. I took him 41st in a 10 man league, and I don’t regret it one bit. He’s in the top three at his position.) Now, Jaylen is a forward this year, but I think positioning on All-Star teams is a little stupid, especially in a year where the game isn’t even being played. Therefore, I put Brown at guard so I didn’t have to leave Bam Adebayo off the team (spoiler alert).

F: Khris Middleton, 3-Time All-Star

Middleton is somehow still underrated. I don’t understand how people still think he’s some glorified role player. He’s having the best season of his career, averaging 22/6/6 while shooting 50/40/90 on high volume. He’s super good. I love watching him play. If he keeps up this production and doesn’t make the All-Star game, that would be a crime.

F: Jayson Tatum, 2-Time All-Star

Yeah, this was a pretty easy pick. He’s averaging 27/7/4, and he’s the best player on his team. I would be super surprised if Tatum doesn’t make the All-Star team this year. It’s crazy that he’s this good now and he isn’t even in his prime.

F: Domantas Sabonis, 2-Time All-Star

Last season, I thought Sabonis would be a dude who made the All-Star game once in his career. I wasn’t watching much Pacers basketball last year, and his numbers didn’t really stand out, so I totally disrespected him. But this year, he’s been elite. He’s averaging 22 PPG, 12 RPG, and 6 APG. The scoring really stands out because he’s a back-to-the-basket dude. The passing also stands out. He has a big playmaking role in the Pacers offense, and he’s performed. Sabonis is a lock for the game this year.

WC: Bam Adebayo, 2-Time All-Star

Bam Adebayo is still a top five center in the NBA. He just dropped 41 points last night. He is super versatile as a scorer, defender, and playmaker. His only weakness is his shooting. The only reason he’s a wild card and not a frontcourt bench player (I picked the frontcourt guys first, basically saying they’re better than the wild cards. I think that’s how it works anyways) is because the Heat are 6-9. Team success does matter to an extent, and it was a deciding factor here.

WC: Trae Young, 2-Time All-Star

Trae Young going from a starter last year to a wild card this year is crazy. But he just had a slump where he wasn’t very confident. He shot eight times in an entire game once. For a top scorer in the NBA, that’s inexcusable. But the other night he had 42 points with 8 threes, so he seems to be back. But that slump hurts him, so he only barely got this spot over the likes of Zach LaVine, Ben Simmons, Nikola Vucevic, Pascal Siakam, Julius Randle, Gordon Hayward, and Malcolm Brogdon (that’s right. I didn’t think I should list honorable mentions on here, so I snuck them in this paragraph).

Injury Replacement: Collin Sexton

Collin Sexton has been crazy good. He’s averaging 27 points per game on 50/40/80 shooting. The Cavaliers also have a winning record. His performance in overtime against the Nets was once of the best stretches of basketball I’ve ever watched. If someone on the team is injured for the game, Sexton will deserve to be the replacement for sure.

Western Conference Starters

G: Stephen Curry, 7-Time All-Star

This was another easy pick. Every starter besides Beal was basically a no brainer. Everybody knows Curry deserves this spot. So this is a short explanation, and that will probably be the case for the rest of the Western Starters.

G: Luka Doncic, 2-Time All-Star

Luka started off shooting 17% from three (or something like that), but now he’s playing at an MVP level (good, because I need to at least get one award correct. I’m hoping it’ll be MVP). He’s averaging 27/10/10 (I rounded up, but I do that for everybody), and he’s only 22. Easy pick to be a starter.

F: Kawhi Leonard, 5-Time All-Star

Yeah, another easy pick. I already warned y’all about the short explanations. He’s shooting the most efficient he ever has since his first All-Star appearance. The Klaw will be a starter again in the 2021 All-Star game.

F: LeBron James, 17-Time All-Star

It’s LeBron James. He’s always gonna get the votes to be an All-Star starter. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve it though. Cause he definitely does.

F: Nikola Jokic, 3-Time All-Star

The best center in the NBA has to be a starter in his conference. He’s averaging 26/12/10. Those are MVP numbers. Maybe I should have picked Jokic for MVP.

Western Conference Bench

G: Damian Lillard, 6-Time All-Star

Lillard is averaging 28/5/7. The Blazers have a good record. I’d say he’s a lock, but with McCollum and Nurkic out for long stretches, the Blazers may fall below .500. That wouldn’t look good for Dame, but everyone knows he’s the second best PG in the league (unless you consider Luka a PG).

G: Paul George, 7-Time All-Star

Paul George said many times that this would be a comeback year, and he’s backed his talk this year. He’s shooting on 50/50/90 splits. No one has ever done that before for a whole season. I don’t think he will, but he’s definitely on track to finish the year in the 50/40/90 club, and that’s All-Star worthy.

F: Anthony Davis, 8-Time All-Star

This is also an easy choice. Though AD’s numbers have been somewhat down so far (22/9/4), we all know how good he is, and he has plenty of time to get back to full AD form before the All-Star break.

F: Brandon Ingram, 2-Time All-Star

This is where the positioning for the All-Star game gets questionable. Now, Ingram deserves this selection, but not over some other Western Conference guards who couldn’t get this spot because of positioning. After all, the Pelicans are 5-10. But Brandon Ingram is still deserving of a frontcourt spot. In fact, this isn’t even the worst choice I had to make.

F: DeMar DeRozan, 5-Time All-Star

Yeah, this is the worst choice I made. But it’s my favorite. DeMar is putting up All-Star numbers (21/5/7) as the best player on a team with a .500 record. I’m happy that my favorite player could very well make another All-Star game this year. But let’s be honest, if there wasn’t positioning for the All-Star game, he wouldn’t make it this year. (I’m sneaking in my HMs now: Christian Wood, D’Angelo Russell, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jamal Murray, De’Aaron Fox. See how most of those guys are guards?) DeMar has become severely underrated though, and as I already said, I am happy to give him this spot.

WC: Donovan Mitchell, 2-Time All-Star

The Jazz are quietly a top team in the league this year, and Donovan leads that. He is an All-Star guard. He only fell down to the wild card spot because the West has so many good guards. But Donovan averages 24/4/5, and those are All-Star numbers for sure.

WC: Devin Booker, 2-Time All-Star

The Suns had a hot start to the year, but now they’ve fallen to 8-7. It’s funny because Book had a slow start to the year, and now is hitting his stride again. But that’s not a shot on Booker. We know he’s an All-Star type guy, and he’ll make it again this year.

Injury Replacement: Zion Williamson

I really didn’t think the Pelicans deserved two All-Stars, which is why DeMar got in over Zion. But Zion’s numbers are All-Star numbers, even if I think he’s easily game planned against (maybe I’ll write a short article about that sometime. Maybe not). So Zion would be my replacement if somebody got injured in the West.

So those are my All-Star picks! Do you agree, or do you disagree. Who are your All-Stars? Feel free to contact me and let me know! (I think I have some of my contact info somewhere on this website.) 

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