2022 All-Stars So Far (12/10/21)

Cleveland Cavaliers: Darius Garland-Jarrett Allen duo will be ready to roll

We’re about a fourth of the way through the 2021-22 NBA season. Every team has played a little over 20 games. So, just like I did last season, I’m making my All-Star picks if the game were to happen today. These are subject to change before the real All-Star selection. 

Each conference has four backcourt players, six frontcourt players, and two wildcards. I will also include two injury replacements for each conference (basically honorable mentions).

Let’s get going!

Eastern Conference Starters

G: Trae Young

Coming off his impressive 2021 playoff run, Trae is having the best regular season of his career. He’s putting up 26 PPG, 9 APG, and shooting a career-high 39% from three so far. Although the Hawks are third in their division and eighth in the East, team success is a very small factor in All-Star selection and Trae deserves to be a starter. 

G: James Harden

Despite having his worst season since his OKC days, James Harden has still earned a starting spot in the All-Star game. Although his 21 PPG pales in comparison to the 36 PPG he put up in a season for Houston, Harden is still a high-level scorer. He’s taken more of a facilitating role this year, and is top five in assists per game and total assists. So while he’s been a little streaky, the Beard is my pick to be an All-Star starter.

F: Jimmy Butler

Although the Heat’s record has evened out a little since their hot start, Jimmy Butler has not. With Kawhi Leonard out, Jimmy has been the second-best small forward in the league. He’s shooting a career-high 52% from the field while shooting an abysmal 20% from three. He’s an elite defender. His assist numbers are down from prior seasons, but he’s still a quality floor general. Jimmy does so much on the court to help his team win that I had to give him the starter nod.

F: Kevin Durant

I don’t have to explain this pick much. KD is an MVP favorite, the league’s leading scorer, and arguably the most unstoppable player in the league (Steph and Giannis have cases as well). 

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Captain)

Giannis is entering his prime years, and it’s very obvious. Nobody can stop him from getting to the paint. He’s added a consistent mid-range jumper, as he’s shooting 43% from that in-between range. He’s the best help defender in the league. Because the Bucks have only lost once when their stars have been healthy, Giannis is my current pick for MVP. The MVP favorite deserves to be captain of his conference’s All-Star roster. 

Eastern Conference Reserves

G: Zach LaVine

With DeMar and Lonzo on the team to facilitate, Zach’s been able to focus on getting buckets (which is what he does best). He’s having the second-most efficient season of his career (49% from the field, 38% from deep). Zach is finally playing for a competitive team, and he will be an All-Star for the second time in his career.

G: LaMelo Ball

Social media darling LaMelo Ball is more than just a flashy player. He has a legit impact on winning basketball. In his sophomore year, he’s putting up 20 PPG (42% from the field, 39% from three), 8 RPG, 8 APG, and 1.9 SPG. LaMelo is a triple-double threat every night, and will make his first of many All-Star games this February.

F: DeMar DeRozan

After being snubbed multiple times from an All-Star selection in 2021 (he should have been selected to begin with, but he was also beat out twice for an injury replacement spot), DeMar will make the ASG for the first time since 2018. I know that nobody pays attention to/cares about the Spurs, but DeMar should have been an All-Star at least once during his time in San Antonio. I’m glad he went to a big market team because now he’s getting the recognition he’s deserved for years. 

F: Jayson Tatum

I’ve been disappointed at times with Jayson Tatum’s play so far this season (as have many others), but it’s not entirely his fault. Especially when Jaylen Brown is hurt, Jayson is the only major threat to opposing defenses on the court for Boston. Because the Celtics don’t have a playmaking point guard, they play lots of iso ball. So, when the entire offense is Tatum isoing and he’s the only true offensive threat, it’s hard for him to score. His efficiency may be lower than usual, but he’s still been an All-Star so far. 

F: Joel Embiid

After a bout of COVID-19 sidelined him for almost ten games, Joel came back and dropped 40 on the Timberwolves. That’s the type of player he is. Joel’s established himself as the second-best center in the league, and although he’s struggled at times this season he’s still an All-Star player. 

Wildcard: Miles Bridges

I told you. Miles Bridges is that guy. If you haven’t read my favorite article I’ve ever written, you’re lame (but here’s the link so you can read it now). I made this before the season, and I told you that Miles was a baller. He’s picked up a huge role on the Hornets and ran away with it. Even though Charlotte’s barely above .500, I think they should have two All-Stars this year. Miles has earned it.

Wildcard: Jarrett Allen

Although I love Darius Garland and what he’s done this season, I think Cleveland’s 2022 All-Star should be Jarrett Allen. People called the 5-year, $100 million deal he signed last summer an overpay, but he’s been outperforming that this season. He’s a monster in the paint on both ends. So while Garland gets more attention ‘cause he’s flashier, the Fro deserves a lot of love for his performance so far.

East Injury Replacements: Darius Garland and Bradley Beal

This is basically my honorable mentions section. Darius Garland is having a helluva season and is showing Cleveland’s front office why he’s their guard of the future. Bradley Beal is having his worst season in half a decade, but the Wizards have been overperforming and he’s their leader.

Western Conference Starters

G: Stephen Curry (Captain)

The Warriors are the best team in the league, and Steph hasn’t slowed down at all from his insane 2021 season. He has been the best player in the West so far, and arguably the best in the league. He’s the captain of the Western Conference team so far. 

G: Devin Booker

The Suns didn’t lose a game during the month of November, and Booker was their best player during that run. He’s shooting a career-high 40% from deep this season, and he’s the go-to guy in the clutch. After making the ASG as an injury replacement last season, Book’s on track to be a starter this season.

F: LeBron James

Injuries have held LeBron to just 12 games played so far, but he’s LeBron and he’s still one of the best in the league when he’s healthy. I will be astonished if he is not voted in as a starter when we get to the All-Star break. 

F: Karl-Anthony Towns

Karl-Anthony Towns is a certified top-three center. He averaging 24 PPG while shooting 50% from the field and 45% from three, and he’s only shooting 5 free throws per game. KAT is still ignored by some because he plays in Minnesota, but he’s a top 15 player in the league and should start for the All-Star game based on his play so far.

F: Nikola Jokic

The reigning MVP and best center in the league is having another monster season. He’s kept the Nuggets hovering around .500 despite all the injuries his team has faced. He’s a clear choice for All-Star starter.

Western Conference Reserves

G: Chris Paul

Although his PPG is at a career-low (14.6), Chis is leading the league in assists per game and shooting a crazy 55% from mid-range. At age 36, CP3 is still an All-Star.

G: Paul George

You can make the argument that PG13 was better last season than he is this season if you look at the stats. His efficiency has sunken significantly as his volume has increased. However, in his first season as the number one scorer/ball-handler since his time in Indiana, he’s kept the undermanned Clippers in the playoffs. That’s why he’s an All-Star. 

F: Anthony Edwards

I wasn’t too high on Ant in his rookie year. He scored a lot, but he did it inefficiently, and he didn’t do much else besides score. However, this season Ant has cleaned his game up. He’s more reliable on both ends of the floor, and I think he deserves to be an All-Star based on his play so far. 

F: Draymond Green

As the Warriors have ascended back to contention, Draymond Green has reawakened his All-Star self. He’s one of the league’s top defenders and passers, and he’s shooting a career-high 55% from the field. The only way he doesn’t make an All-Star appearance this year is if voters decide to ignore his impact just because he’s not flashy. 

F: Anthony Davis

The Brow has been pretty underwhelming so far. So underwhelming that if position requirements didn’t exist I probably wouldn’t give him a spot. It just seems like he’s not trying. He’s been incredibly inefficient on jumpers, and he takes so many that it’s a big problem. I can’t believe I said he was better than Giannis at one point. So while I’m giving AD the All-Star-so-far nod, I don’t really think he deserves it.

Wildcard: Ja Morant

Ja came into the league and immediately made a winning impact, leading his team to the play-in his rookie year and the playoffs his sophomore year. However, he has yet to make an All-Star game in his young career. That will change this February because Ja has been electric. He’s posting career highs in PPG, RPG, SPG, FT%, and 3P%, and the Grizzlies are the fourth seed in the West. Hopefully he recovers quickly from his injury because he deserves to be named an All-Star.

Wildcard: Luka Doncic

Luka is having his worst statistical season since his rookie year, but there’s no way he’s not an All-Star this year. He’s a top-tier scorer and playmaker, and the only thing holding him back is the team around him.

West Injury Replacements: Donovan Mitchell and Andrew Wiggins

Donovan Mitchell is the best player on one of the best teams record-wise, but a loaded Western backcourt pool means he can’t get an All-Star spot. Wiggins is playing the best basketball of his career, and he and Draymond are interchangeable for Golden State’s second All-Star. 

So, those are my All-Stars so far! Do you agree? Did I forget anybody? Let me know! Thanks for reading and see you next time!

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