The 2023 NBA All-Star Game is full of the usual suspects. Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo have been named captains of their respective conferences, while all eight other starters have been nominated for at least one previous All-Star.
However, there could be plenty of newcomers in Salt Lake City on February 19th, too.
Last Thursday, the NBA announced the All-Star starters for both conferences. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, along with West’s James, and Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving. , Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell and Nets forward Kevin Durant. Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was selected alongside Antetokounmpo in the East.
The NBA will use a combination of fan, player and media votes to determine the All-Star Starter. The coach says he selects seven reserve players (two guards, three frontcourt players, and two “wildcards” (either guards or frontcourt players)) per conference.
Reserves will be announced in Thursday’s edition Inside the NBA in TNT. His next five players, all first-time All-Stars, deserve to hear their names called out Thursday night.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder seemed headed for their third straight dismal season when No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren suffered a Lisfranc injury to his right foot during the offseason. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had another idea.
The fifth-year guard has 5.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks while averaging 30.9 points per game on a 51.0% shooting percentage. He has reached his stripes for charity 10.2 per game and has never averaged more than 7.2 free throw attempts so far this season. His shooting percentage from there is a career-best 90.8%.
Gilgeous-Alexander puts relentless pressure on defenses with a league-leading 24.1 drives per game. He averages 16.5 points and shoots from the field 51.4% of the time, which is one reason the Thunder lead the NBA with his 65.2 drives per game.
The all-in-one’s advanced metrics suggest that Gilgeous-Alexander should be in contention for an All-NBA spot, not just an All-Star nomination. He is third in his overall league value against replacements, only behind Jokic and Doncic. On the other hand, in PER he’s 5th, in the box plus/minus he’s 6th, and in estimated plus/minus in Danks and Sleeds he’s 13th.
The 11th-seeded Thunder are one game behind the Utah Jazz in the last slot of the Western Conference play-in tournament, but with 32 games remaining, they already match last season’s winning streak. , should be The Rock to receive his first All-Star nod.
Lori Markkanen, PF, Utah Jazz
Gilgeous-Alexander isn’t the only first-time All-Star contender who should be a rock. Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen should likewise be an easy choice for the West.
When the Jazz traded Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert this past offseason, they appeared to be on their way to rebuilding from scratch. Veterans like Mike Conley, Kelly Olynyk and Jordan Clarkson could be on the move before the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline, but Markkanen did his best to keep them afloat in the meantime. .
The 25-year-old, who came to Utah as part of Mitchell’s return package, is averaging 24.9 points per game on a 52.0% shooting percentage. He also records his 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 3.1 3-point percentage per game, along with his career-high 43.2% shooting percentage.
Markkanen is the only NBA player to average 20+ points per game this season, shoot more than 50% of the time, and shoot more than 40% from 3-point range. He’s not as high as Gilgeous-Alexander in all-in-one impact metrics, but overall in the league he’s 12th in EPM, 16th in PER, 17th in VORP, and 18th in BPM.
Given that 24 players will be selected for the All-Stars, someone comfortably in the league’s top 20 on many advanced metrics should be one of those picks.
Tyrese Halliburton, PG, Indiana Pacers
Tyrese Halliburton has been out for the past few weeks after suffering a sprained elbow and a bruised knee during a game against the New York Knicks on January 11.
With Halliburton in the lineup this season, the Pacers are 22-18. They are 2-10 without him.
Halliburton and Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (a future All-Star) are the only two players in the league to average 20 points and 10 assists per game this year. Halliburton boasts he’s not fully in the 50/40/90 club, but overall he’s 48.0%, 3-pointers he’s 39.9% in range and charity he’s 88.0% in stripes. , so it’s not that far.
Halliburton is ahead of both East’s two All-Star starters Mitchell and Irving in the backcourt in PER, box plus/minus, VORP and EPM. His scoring prowess, shooting efficiency, and supernatural passing His vision has already topped the Pacers’ expected win count in the preseason, with Eastern in his conference play-in in Chicago in the final slot of his tournament. Only 0.5 games behind him.
Halliburton finished eighth in fan voting and sixth in player voting, giving him no chance of being named an All-Star starter. However, he was third in the media polls, ahead of Irving.
De’Aaron Fox, PG, Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings are in the middle of an NBA-record 16-season playoff drought. He entered February with only one winning record since the 2005-06 season.
De’Aaron Fox has them at a pace that breaks both of those disgraceful streaks.
Fox, who was the biggest All-Star snub two years ago, shouldn’t be denied this time around. He averaged 24.1 points per game with a career-high 50.4% shooting, 6.1 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.6 3-pointers and 1.0 steals.
More importantly, the Kings are third in the West heading into Tuesday with a 28-21 record. The “good stats, bad team” stench that has lingered on Fox over the past few years is nowhere to be seen this season.
Fox was especially lethal in the clutch setting, which the NBA defines as a game in which a team does not lead by more than five points with five minutes or less remaining. He leads the league with 119 points on a 60.0% shooting percentage, beating famous closers like Doncic, Mitchell and DeMar DeRozan.
Not only is Fox heading to the first All-Star Game of the year, but he should also be an NBA frontrunner. New Clutch Player of the Year Award.
Jalen Brunson, PG, New York Knicks
The numbers game may keep Jalen Brunson from earning his first All-Star contender this season.
Excluding injured replacements, the East can have up to 6 All-Star guards (2 starters, 2 reserves, 2 wildcards). Mitchell and Irving are already on board, and Harden, Halliburton, and Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown should all be locked up. That leaves at most one spot for a player, not to mention frontcourt contenders who can claim other wildcard spots.
Still, there’s no denying the All-Star influence Branson has had on the New York Knicks this year.
After signing a four-year, $104 million contract with the Knicks in free agency this summer, Branson has more than lived up to the end of the negotiations. He averaged his career-high 22.5 points and 46.9% shooting percentage, and he has 6.2 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 1.8 3-pointers and 1.0 steals per game. He’s only missed his three games so far this season, but the Knicks are 26-22 with him in the lineup and 1-2 without him.
By some all-in-one advanced metrics, Branson is on the fringes of an All-Star contender. He is tied with Halliburton for his 17th win share overall in the league, with Irving and Toronto his Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (another likely All-Star) in his VORP. 20th place. But he’s 28th in the box plus/minus, 37th in PER, and outside the top 80 in EPM.
Teammate Julius Randle has also been going strong lately, so it’s hard to imagine the No. 7-seeded Knicks winning two All-Stars.
Jaren Jackson Jr., PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies
CJ McCallum, SG, New Orleans Pelicans
Aaron Gordon, PF, Denver Nuggets
Jerami Grant, PF, Portland Trail Blazers
All statistics are from NBA.com, PBP Stats, glass cleaning Also basketball reference All payroll information through Monday, January 30 spot rack Also Real GM. All odds FanDuel Sportsbook.