Breaking Down My All-Star Votes


NBA All-Star voting for 2023 is finally open! Since the voting just opened, I had to immediately make sure my voice was heard, and vote for my favorite candidates. My first round of voting went to the players that I thought should be starters, and my second round of votes went to the players who I thought deserved to be reserves. Here, I’m going to break down why I chose each player, starting with the starters.

 

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers

Mitchell was an easy choice to be one of the two All-Star starters. In the past week, he’s been averaging 32 points per game, and led Cleveland to a 3-1 record while being named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. On the season, Mitchell’s been doing a great job leading the Cavs to success, with the team currently having a 21-11 record, the 3rd best in the Eastern Conference. Mitchell’s season averages are 29.3 points (career high), 3.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists on 50.6% shooting from the field (career high) and 43.1% from three (career high). It’s not even close compared to most of the other guards in the East.

Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

Brown is my second Eastern Conference starting guard due to not only his statistical input, but his role as the second option in the best offense in the history of the entire NBA! Brown is averaging 26.4 points (career high), 7.4 rebounds (career high), and 3.5 assists (career high) on 49.6% shooting from the field (career high) and 33.8% from three. The Celtics have the highest net rating in NBA history, and if it weren’t for two unfortunate losses at the hands of the Orlando Magic, they would be maintaining their number one seed in the Eastern Conference and number one ranking in the NBA’s weekly power ranking. Instead, they’re currently sitting as the number two seed in the Eastern Conference and number two in the weekly power rankings. Still, the team and Brown’s production are far good enough to land him here.

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Tatum is currently leading the race for the newly named Michael Jordan MVP award, and it’s clear why. He’s putting up career highs across the board, averaging 30.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.1 assists while also leading the NBA in minutes played per game. Tatum is very clearly the alpha on the Celtics, and is the reason why they’re the best offense in the history of the NBA. If he’s currently the leader for MVP, then without question, he easily deserves a starting spot in this year’s All-Star game.

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

The Greek Freak has been his usual, dominant self this season, save for a dip in his three-point shooting. He’s averaging 31 and 11 while leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. Plus, he’s spent the majority of this season playing without Khris Middleton. Giannis is clearly an All-Star starter, and will unquestionably be one for the next five years.

 

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Embiid and the 76ers have had their ups and downs this season, as they typically tend to. Their record is subpar for a contender in the loaded Eastern Conference, as they currently sit at 20-13. However, it isn’t just Embiid missing time; Tyrese Maxey has been out for the past few weeks (and will continue to be out until Friday), and James Harden has missed time. It’s been great that Philly’s bench (especially De’Anthony Melton and Shake Milton) have been so helpful in their star’s absence, but it’s clear why this team is so good. Embiid is averaging 33 points per game, currently leading the NBA in that stat, and opposing centers sill haven’t figured out the key to stopping him.

 

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks as a team aren’t all that this year; in fact, they currently sit under .500 and are the 10th seed in the Western Conference. Doncic’s talent, however, simply can’t be denied. The three-time member of the All-NBA First Team is having his best season to date, and is also a front runner for MVP. Plus, it helps when you have performances so amazing that no one in NBA history aside from Wilt Chamberlain himself has come close to touching your numbers. Not much else needs to be said here.

 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

Shai has been the bright spot on a Thunder team who’s objective for the season is to lose as many games as possible. While Chet Holmgren‘s been recovering, Shai has been leading the Thunder to some amazing victories with his clutch shooting, and has 21 30-point games this season! For reference, last year (where he also played amazing), he had 20 for the entire year. Shai’s number could reach close to 50 if he keeps it up. While some of these numbers may very well be empty stats, I still belief Shai deserves a spot as a Western Conference starter.

 

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

After last year, filled with chaos, confusion, and the media playing up Williamson’s past injuries, the Pelicans have finally reached a good place. Williamson is back, and fully healthy. CJ McCollum is still getting buckets in his late prime, Brandon Ingram‘s still contributing nicely on offense, and the team as a whole has gelled (plus made an excellent rivalry with the Phoenix Suns). The Pelicans are 21-12, good for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. This team will certainly make the playoffs, and I’m expecting them to make it out of the first round this year, thanks to Williamson.

 

Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

 

Anthony Davis finally had a good stretch of games! It was what we’d all been waiting for, as he looked like an MVP candidate and made the Lakers not look like a train that was about to crash. In this 10-game stretch, Davis averaged 34.2 points, 15.4 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game while shooting an efficient 63% from the field and 41% from three. The Lakers went 7-3 during this stretch, and people were starting to wonder: could the Lakers actually be a playoff team if Davis kept putting up these monster numbers? More importantly, can Davis keep putting up these numbers?

I was talking with a giddy Lakers fan about this very subject (he knows who he is), who was certain that Davis was now going to win MVP. I told him that yes, while that was impressive, the Lakers would only continue to succeed…

If he stayed healthy

Less than 48 hours later, I got a Woj bomb telling me that Davis was sidelined indefinitely due to injury. And this, unfortunately, is why you just can’t count on Anthony Davis to lead a team. However, I do give credit where credit is due, and his impact to a struggling Los Angeles team should make him a starter in the All-Star game; provided he’s healthy by the time we get there.

 

These next 10 players are my reserves for the All-Star game.

 

James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers

Harden has certainly returned to All-Star form during his first full season with the Philadelphia 76ers, but he hasn’t returned to MVP levels of production. He’s a great second option, but unfortunately, just that; a second option. Harden deserves to make the All-Star game this year, but as a backup.

 

Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers

 

I could have had other guards in this spot, but I feel as though Haliburton has really earned this role with his incredible performance in Indiana this year. I know that yes, this means I’m leaving off Trae Young, but as of today, I’d rather have a team led by Haliburton than by Young. This might be my hottest take of all the All-Star selections, especially given Indy’s record and how Haliburton can seemingly be inconsistent at times. However, I think once the Pacers decide they’re ready to contend again, Haliburton will be leading them to a strong playoff push.

 

Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

Durant’s obviously an All-Star, and unquestionably will be featured in the All-Star game this year. The only tough thing about this was deciding that Durant couldn’t fit into my starting frontcourt for the Eastern Conference. There’s no real wrong choice between the big four of Giannis, Durant, Tatum, and Embiid, but someone needs to be left out each time I vote; in this case, it happened to be Durant.

 

Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

Miami is sitting around the .500 mark this season, and while they’ve had their struggles, Butler has still been the team’s clear cut first option, with Adebayo being the go-to second option. As long as they’re both there, the Heat will always be a threat in the East. Both of these guys step up their game once it becomes the postseason, and even if their record doesn’t show it, both are having All-Star worthy seasons.

 

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Curry’s missed time due to some injuries, but when he’s on the court, he’s still the greatest shooter the game has ever seen. It’s part of the reason why the Warriors have the best home record of any team in the NBA (yes they have the worst road record, but that’s beside the point). The gravity of the shooters on the Warriors is amazing, and there’s no reason for Curry to stop making All-Star appearances this year. Plus, he’s a fan favorite.

 

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies currently sit at third in the Western Conference, and for a while were the first seed. This is largely because of Morant, the leader of this team, who’s jaw-dropping dunks are happening more and more frequently. His defense could use some work, but his playmaking and offense is amazing, the reason why he’s the most popular NBA player on social media. He belongs in this year’s All-Star game (and in the dunk contest).

 

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

He’s putting up decent numbers on a team that’s performing poorly this year, but based off of legacy, he’ll probably be named a captain. Is he having an All-Star caliber season? Yes, but so is everyone else. I can justify him being in the All-Star game, but not as a starter.

 

Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers

George has been leading the Clippers to the fourth seed in the Western Conference, with Kawhi Leonard being an in and out depending on his health and load management. This is no small feat, and he’s averaging 23.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.5 steals while doing so. In my mind, this warrants an 8th All-Star appearance for George.

 

Lauri Markannen, Utah Jazz

The surprise of the list! Everyone thought the Jazz would be awful after they traded away Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, but they got off to an impressive start thanks to Markannen, who after unsuccessful stints with the Bulls and Cavs, has turned into Dirk Nowitzki in Utah. Markannen is averaging 23.1 points and 8.2 rebounds, while leading the Jazz to a solid 19-17 record so far in the season. Call me crazy, but I think he could make the All-Star game, as one of the 11th or 12th men on either team. We’ll just have to wait and see in the meantime.

 

Don’t forget to follow the NBA Blog, and as always, have an awesome day!

 

 

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