All of the 2022 NBA All-Stars have been announced, so let’s take a deep dive into this list.
The starters consist of Stephen Curry, Ja Morant, DeMar DeRozan, Trae Young, LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Andrew Wiggins. The reserves are Jimmy Butler, James Harden, Darius Garland, Zach LaVine, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Fred VanVleet, Devin Booker, Luka Doncic, Rudy Gobert, Draymond Green, Donovan Mitchell, Chris Paul, and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Overall, this is a very solid list of players, but there are a few things that can’t be ignored when dissecting it:
Anthony Davis isn’t on this list; and that’s how it should be
Once regarded as one of the most dominant big men in the entire NBA, Davis has had a year much less impressive then anyone thought. Trying to bond with James and Russell Westbrook, Davis has transitioned to playing center, and added a lot of muscle in the offseason. Unfortunately, this didn’t do him any good, as he’s having the worst shooting season of his entire career, shooting 17.5% from three, and 32.6% from shots between 10 and 16 feet (also a career low). This isn’t good, because as Westbrook drives the lane more, the Lakers need bigs that can space the floor, and with these percentages, Davis is not who you want shooting the basketball. His box plus/minus currently sits at 3.1, which is the lowest it has been since his rookie season, when he lost the Rookie of the Year award to Damian Lillard. Even Davis himself understands why he didn’t make the All-Star team this year, saying, “I kind of figured I wasn’t (an All-Star) because of the amount of games that I missed.” Davis has currently appeared in 32 of 53 games the Lakers have played this year, missing multiple games because of injuries to his left MCL, left knee, right wrist, and flu-like symptoms to COVID-19. All in all, Davis not making the All-Star team this year is understandable, and not a big deal.1
Ja Morant and Andrew Wiggins: I’ll be writing a separate blog post about them soon, and I’ll link it here when it’s live. Stay tuned.
Here’s my list of players who are at a near All-Star level that I think could become All-Stars sometime in the next 1-3 years: Jarrett Allen, Miles Bridges, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dejounte Murray, Mikal Bridges, Kyle Kuzma, Jaren Jackson, Jr, Evan Mobley, Jerami Grant, Tyler Herro, Alex Caruso, Anthony Edwards, Chris Duarte, and Franz Wagner. In most cases, Ball would belong on this list, but I feel like he truly does deserve to be an All-Star this year; in particular over Khris Middleton. While their stats are pretty even with both having advantages in certain areas, I think Ball is more crucial to his team. The Bucks wouldn’t be the same without Middleton; but they would still be one of the best teams in the NBA (Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday made a great duo). Imagine the Hornets without Ball; would we bother watching them?
So much of the NBA is narrative driven, and if so, Ball has a much more compelling story; in his second NBA season, playing under Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, Ball blossomed into the 2021 Rookie of the Year and has one of the brightest futures in the entire league. He was known as The Chosen One all throughout his journey to the league, and his flashy style of play has made the Hornets must-watch TV. Ball is creative, crafty, and a master of improv, reminiscent of Magic Johnson at times.
Middleton is a sharp-shooting wing who has averaged over 20 points per game this season, but hasn’t done anything to dazzle us. While he has more experience then Ball, he’s not as crucial to his team, and while I understand he’s an NBA champion, I don’t feel as though he deserves this spot over Ball. Let me know your thoughts on that in the comments.
Fred VanVleet is the first undrafted player to become an NBA All-Star
I don’t have a ton to say about this, but I think it’s pretty cool. Duncan Robinson, who recently signed a 5-year $90 million contract in the offseason (the largest for an undrafted player in NBA history) could join VanVleet as the second undrafted player to become an All-Star, but I think that will be many years down the line.
DeMar DeRozan has revived his career
What DeRozan has done during this past season is incredible. He went completely unnoticed in San Antonio, where he was able to quietly polish his game, work on his mid-range shooting, and become more versatile, spending 69% of his minutes at the power forward position. This has been huge for DeRozan as a member of the Bulls, as DeRozan has played 82% of minutes at the power forward position and 11% at center this season. DeRozan is one of the rare players who can play all five positions, and he’s drawing fouls at an incredible rate. So far, he’s drawn 179 shooting fouls about halfway into the season. His record for a season is 286 shooting fouls drawn, which he’s on track to break. His 26.6 points per game is the highest average DeRozan’s put up since 2018, and he’s shooting 50.1% from the field. I don’t know how he got away with being selected into the All-Star game as a shooting guard, but I’m happy for DeRozan. After being overlooked for so long, he deserves all the positive attention coming his way.
Replacements on the way?
Draymond Green is out with an injury, and so is Kevin Durant. This means that two additional players are going to get the nod as All-Stars this year. My guess? Those two guys are going to be LaMelo Ball and Domantas Sabonis of the Indiana Pacers. We’ll see.
You can expect a lot more coverage of the 2022 All-Star Weekend at the NBA Blog, so don’t forget to follow, and you’ll never miss another article. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments, and as always, have an awesome day!
1: Then why did I write such a long paragraph about him? you may ask. The answer? It really wasn’t necessary, but I felt I needed to justify why Davis isn’t an All-Star to all the Lakers fans out there (or casual NBA fans not monitoring every Lakers’ game).