Take note that this article was published December 12th, 2022.
Much can happen between now and February 17th and 18th, but since we’re approximately a third way into the season it’s about that time we start talking about which players have a real chance of making this year’s NBA All-Star Game that’s being held in Utah.
As with all discussions about awards, the two biggest factors in selecting an All-Star roster usually is dependent on how well a player’s team is doing in the win/loss column and how their stats contribute to that. In other cases, a player is simply having an amazing statistical season that merits a roster spot.
NBA All-Star Locks
If things continue to go as they are, these 16 players are locks to make the NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City
Let’s start with the stars on the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have led the Celtics to the best record in the entire NBA. The two are making history as one of the highest scoring duos of all-time for a Celtics team that has one of the best-rated offensive teams in the history of the league.
The Bucks started off the season hot and have since cooled off a little. All of Milwaukee’s success is centered around two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Cleveland Cavs brought over Donovan Mitchell and it’s paying off for everyone involved. Mitchell is deadly from three and having his best season statistically on a Cleveland team sitting in the top four of the league.
Given all the drama, the Brooklyn Nets are now fourth in the league with a 16-12 record and that’s in large part due to Kevin Durant‘s play. Not even some of the best NBA betting sites in PA could have predicted that the Sixers would lost three of their first four games, but behind Joel Embiid, have since righted the ship.
Trae Young has partnered with DeJounte Murray to get the Hawks into contention again while Tyrese Hailburton is leading the NBA in assists per game and showing the Sacramento Kings they made a mistake in trading him.
These eight players – Tatum, Brown, Antetokounmpo, Mitchell, Embiid, Durant, Trae, and Haliburton — are the only locks for the NBA All Star game at this point for the Eastern Conference.
In the West, the surprising New Orleans Pelicans are at the top led by a healthy Zion Williamson‘s efficient scoring and playmaking. With Ja Morant‘s high-flying play, the Memphis Grizzlies are in the second spot in the West. The Denver Nuggets are in third place with two-time MVP Nikola Jokic again the focus of opponent’s scouting reports.
The Phoenix Suns are in the top four thanks to the steady scoring of Devin Booker. The Sacramento Kings are another surprise team that deserves at least one representative. We choose De’Aaron Fox because an appearance feels long overdue even in the face of Domantas Sabonis great all-around play.
The other three players in the West that are All-Star locks are more about their individual performances than their team’s success: that’s Steph Curry, Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
With eight spots taken in the East and eight spots reserved in the West, who will make up the remainder of the all-star rosters?
We love to reward players playing well on winning teams, so at the time of this posting the #1 Bucks and #1 Pelicans should each get another player into the All-Star Game. That would be Jrue Holiday for Milwaukee and CJ McCollum for New Orleans. Brandon Ingram has simply missed too many games. If this happens, this will be McCollum’s first NBA All-Star game.
The Cavs also have a deserving player in Darius Garland so let’s add him into the mix.
The Portland Trailblazers are sitting at #6 in the West. For the Blazers, it’s choosing between Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons and Jerami Grant. Since Lillard has played in 14 of the team’s 26 games and Jerami hasn’t nearly been as consistent, we would choose Anfernee Simons for the all-star game — his first.
If the Utah Jazz can continue winning at their clip and stay above .500, Lauri Markkanen will make a \appearance at the game. The more we think about this selection, this is nearly a lock considering the game is being held in Salt Lake City this year.
The Knicks are one game above .500 and one could make a case for Julius Randle or Jalen Brunson for the team’s all-star representative. In a pinch we would choose Jalen Brunson simply because we think he contributes to winning more than Randle does.
The Bulls have underperformed, but as always DeMar DeRozan has been doing his thing as one of the league’s top ten scorers. If Anthony Davis can get back on the court, his recent dominant performances can’t be overlooked and would earn him his ninth All-Star appearance.
If you’re keeping track, here’s our NBA All-Star predictions for the 2023 rosters:
Honorable mention in order go to Kyrie Irving, Sabonis, LeBron James, Lillard, Jerami Grant, Kristaps Porzingis, Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, Dejounte Murray, Randle, DeAndre Ayton, , and rookie Paolo Banchero.
With AD’s name called, that means LeBron James may miss this year’s All-Star Game – the only time he’ll not have been on the roster since his rookie season. And the Lakers certainly don’t deserve two all-stars.
That unfortunately also means that a deserving player from the Washington Wizard’s big three of Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma will not make an All-Star appearance this season. With Beal missing some games, we would have gone with Kristaps Porzingis by a nose over Kuzma, but you wouldn’t be wrong if you chose Kuzma. Sadly, it doesn’t look like any Wizards will be in Salt Lake City.
Realistically, we know that the all-star game rosters aren’t always the players that have earned it, but the starters are heavily influenced by the fan vote. That means popular players like LeBron and Kyrie will both be voted into the starting lineups for their conferences. If Kyrie starts, that likely means DeRozan, Trae, Holiday or Garland won’t be representing the East. With LeBron in the starting five from the Western Conference likely means McCollum, Davis, or Simons won’t make the team as a reseve.
Seeing as we’re making these predictions relatively early and narratives change quickly in the NBA, by the time the voting ends, LeBron, Kyrie, Lillard and other stars will have earned their spot.