THE 2020 NBA All-Star game is still over two months away and the voting ballots are yet to open. However, with nearly 25 games in the books for every franchise, we have a rough idea of who could/should be in line for selection when the rosters start to take shape. The usual suspects can all be found below, but injury woes, lacklustre form and some poor win/loss records have seen some members of generation next rise up for their first All-Star selection.
IF you like what you read be sure to check out more SportsbyFry articles by hitting this link. Make sure you keep up to date with the latest NBA articles and follow my fan pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to never miss a minute of the action
Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
AT the moment I have four locks in the starter group with the three forward spots set in stone. No offense to any of the reserves, but I can’t see any of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pascal Siakam or Joel Embiid losing their place in the starting five. The frontcourt positions are up for more debate, with Kemba Walker deserving of one slot, steering Boston to an impressive start in his first season as a Celtic. The final spot in the first five came down to Jimmy Butler and Bradley Beal with Butler getting the slight nod for his superior contributions on both sides of the ball and the Heat’s superior record.
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
IF Bradley Beal doesn’t get a starting spot his name is bound to be at the top of the reserves list, with the Wizards guard scoring at a personal best clip right now. Ben Simmons was awarded the other guard bench place followed by Domantas Sabonis, who been the Pacers’ best player through 20-25 games, currently 4th in the league for average rebounds a night (13.5). Sabonis thoroughly deserves to be on this list, but from there, things get a bit more complicated. Neither of the Pistons big men have earned a slot in the first SBF ballot, so Jayson Tatum finds himself filling one of their assumed spots as he continues to emerge as a go-to scorer on pace to average over 20 PPG in year three.
UNLESS one of Detroit’s big men steps up, the guards seem destined to fight for the wildcard slots with Trae Young, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry and Zach LaVine all putting forward strong cases. Due to Irving and Lowry missing chunks of time so far, they find themselves on the outside looking in, but there’s no reason why they can’t steal LaVine and/or Young’s spot. The other wildcard berth goes to Khris Middleton, who barring anything crazy should make his second straight All-Star team thanks to the Bucks’ hot start to the season and his ability to play Robin next to Giannis aka Batman.
Just Missed the Cut: Bam Adebayo (Heat), Kyrie Irving (Nets), Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers), Andre Drummond (Pistons), Kyle Lowry (Raptors), Evan Fournier (Magic)
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
James Harden, Houston Rockets
Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
LOCK. It. In. This five won’t change unless injury strikes in my eyes, with very few contenders lining up to knock off the projected starters. A trio of L.A. residents occupies the frontcourt spots, with Kawhi Leonard perhaps the only one who could be in jeopardy if he misses another batch of games. Even if that is the case, I think the fans and his NBA peers will get Kawhi over the line. The frontcourt is just as easy to decide with Luka Doncic and James Harden cementing themselves as genuine MVP threats. There aren’t any trouble makers who could steal their place in the starting five (sorry Dame).
Image from thesmokingcuban.com
Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers
Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets
FILLING out the West reserves list was a tall task, but there were a few standout players that HAD to be included. Karl-Anthony Towns seems poised to take one of the frontcourt spots if god forbid one of the superstar Los Angeles group couldn’t suit up. Minnesota’s man in the middle and another Clippers wing in Paul George are assured to find themselves on the reserve list at forward, along with Blazers frontman Damian Lillard. Those three and the leader of the born-again Suns, Devin Booker should be in line to fill out the non-wildcard places in the coveted All-Star roster.
I awarded Brandon Ingram with the first nod of his career thanks to his leap in development that has seen career-best numbers across the board from the Pels swingman. I’m not stoked with the final few selections, but this is the first stab in the dark at picking the teams, so I sided with a pair of uber-athletic guards who would be fun to watch in the mid-season showcase. Russell Westbrook’s legacy helped give him a place on the roster (for now) and much like his 2016 draft peer in the other conference, Donovan Mitchell’s ability to score the basketball at a high level has seen him take the 12th spot on this side of the bracket. I would be surprised to see Nikola Jokic miss the cut when the actual teams get revealed, but he can’t be rewarded for how he’s started the year.
Just Missed the Cut: Andrew Wiggins (T-Wolves), Rudy Gobert (Jazz), C.J. McCollum (Blazers), Nikola Jokic (Nuggets), D’Angelo Russell (Warriors)
Banner from nba.com