The NBA All-Star weekend is just around the corner, and it means we need to look ahead and see which players will partake in this star-studded exhibition game. While it will still be a schoolyard style draft that will determine which player will go to which team, the 24-player pool will still be determined by fan, media and player voting.
The Eastern and Western conferences will boast five starters – three frontcourt and two guards – selected through the fan (50%), media (25%), and player (25%) voting. After all the starters have been selected, the coaches will take a vote to pick the reserves for their respected conferences.
The coaches will pick a minimum of three frontcourt, two guards, and additional two players. Here are some notable names done through expert NBA picks, to join the All-Star Game this February in Charlotte, North Carolina.
If the selected players cannot participate in the exhibition match, NBA commissioner Adam Silver will name their replacement (Just like what happened to Demarcus Cousins last year.) To make this simple, in this exercise, we will not consider replacement players. Steph Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis have collectively been voted as starters for the Western Conference in the past two All-Star Games.
With no signs of being dropped from the selection, they will be a sure locked-in to be starters. Demarcus Cousins will be the fifth Western Conference starter, but because he is still in recovery from last year’s season-ending Achilles injury, there’s no chance he will beat LeBron James for the fifth spot (LeBron James has been voted as an Eastern Conference starter in each of his 14 All-Star Games appearances.)
For reserves, there’s a big chance that Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, Paul George, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Draymond Green will be selected, The Western Conference is once again loaded with All-Star caliber players. Leaving little room for first-timers like Nikola Jokic or Donovan Mitchell, or often-overlooked seasoned veterans like LaMarcus Aldridge or Mike Conley.
Triple-double machine Russel Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder has not been voted as a starter since 2016. And because of his injuries, there is no reason that the starting lineup will change, especially with Lebron James, Steph Curry, and James Harden are still in their prime.
As long as the San Antonio Spurs don’t lose their games going into the All-Star Weekend, the team will most likely send at least one of Gregg Popovich’s All-Star caliber players. There’s a big chance that newly traded DeMar DeRozan or the younger LaMarcus Aldridge will go to the exhibition match as reserves (or as a starter, in case of DeMar DeRozan.)
If Demarcus Cousins does not get voted either as a starter or as a reserve, there’s a little chance that his return will warrant inclusion in the All-Star Games, ahead of other worthy and healthy players. In case of Jimmy Buttler, because he was traded to the East, the chances of him landing a starting spot increase exponentially.
Possible notable omissions from Western Conference All-Star lineup are DeMarcus Cousins and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, Nikola Jokic from Denver Nuggets, Mike Conley and Marc Gasol of The Memphis Grizzlies, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert from Utah Jazz.
(To know more about NBA All-Star Game, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_All-Star_Game.)
For the first since All-Star Game 2005, there will be no LeBron James in the Eastern Conference roster. But despite Lebron’s departure, the Eastern Conference will parade their newest addition, Kahwi Leonard. As long as he remains healthy, the Northern Kingdom (Toronto Raptors) will lift their newest superstar to fill the void that LeBron James left among frontcourt players.
Kyrie Irving, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid are shoe-ins for the starter spot and will be voted again by fans this year. Victor Oladipo’s high-octane offense and smothering defense will be a good resume for him to be a starter this year. The only players that will be on Oladipo’s way will be John Wall, Bradley Beal, or if he will be classified as a point guard, Ben Simmons.
But even then, Oladipo might emerge victorious among the players mentioned. Because of its balanced roster, even though they have one of the best starting five in the NBA today, aside from Golden State Warriors, the Boston Celtics might have the least number of players in the All-Star game.
With Kyrie Irving has getting a spot on the starting lineup, votes will be split among the Celtics’ 4 other All-Star caliber players of Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and the breakaway star Jason Tatum. Coaches will have the hardest time deciding whether to give a former All-Stars Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, a spot in the reserves or give the spot to Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum, who carries the team to Game 7 of Eastern Conference Finals last year.
Detroit Pistons center and power forward duo of Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin will also be a good addition to the Eastern Conference reserve team.
Possible notable omissions from Eastern Conference All-Star lineup are Al Horford, Jason Tatum, Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond from Detroit Pistons, Goran Dragic from Miami Heat, Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks, Aaron Gordon from Orlando Magic, Bradley Beal and Dwight Howard from Washington Wizards.