It's all about the benjamins baby. Despite a global pandemic, we will have an NBA All-Star game. Atlanta will host a shortened bubble of the usual All-Star weekend, as the NBA All-Star starters were announced yesterday on TNT. We have the group of 10 guys that captains LeBron James and Kevin Durant will have at disposal for selecting in the All-Star Draft for their starting lineup. The only thing left to do is the reserves that will be announced in a couple of days, as I will give you my predictions and thoughts on who is deserving of playing in the most star-studded game of the year in Atlanta for the East.
Starters: Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Bradley Beal, and Kyrie Irving
24.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 11.3 apg
"The Beard" is the first name that comes to mind, as nobody can argue the fact he could have been a starter, and nobody would think it was wrong. Harden was probably penalized for the start of the season when he forced his way out of Houston by playing without any effort. Still, he has picked it up after his trade to Brookly, playing great as a point guard there and leading the league in assists. Harden is a no-brainer.
15.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 8.0 apg
Simmons is having his best season yet, playing great basketball under Doc's system and being a vital part of the Sixers staying atop the Eastern Conference. His numbers aren't jumping out compared to some other guys, but you have to take his defense into consideration, as he has been one of the better two-way players in the league. Simmons hasn't developed that shot yet, but he can still put points on the board, showcased by the 42 points the other night. This is a reward for the Sixers being one of the best teams, as they deserve two All-Stars.
25.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.6 apg
Jaylen Brown absolutely took off this season, as he has been probably the most consistent Celtics player this year. His team has underachieved, but Brown has maintained their status as a playoff team by putting the Celtics on his back despite all the injuries and absences they had this season. He slowed down a bit through the season, but he is still a lock for me—just a great and fun player to watch.
25.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 4.7 apg
Tatum was also kind of a dilemma for me. He has played on an All-Star level, but he has missed some time due to contracting Covid, as the Celtics struggled without him. Tatum is getting his legs under him, as the isolation period took a toll on his fatigue, but he is still great for the Celtics, showing improvement again this year.
28.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 5.2 apg
LaVine has proved he is one of the best scores in the whole NBA this season, showing various ways to get the ball in the bucket. The combination of his smooth jump shot and unreal athleticism have proven to make him a very dangerous player. His Bulls aren't amongst the better teams in the East, but you can't fault Zach for that, as he has been doing all he can. LaVine would be a great sight to see in the All-Star game with his leaping ability, as the nod could motivate him to even participate in the dunk contest at halftime. Let's make it happen.
21.5 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 5.7 apg
Sabonis has been playing great, being the absolute leader of the Indiana Pacers. His team has had an up and down season, but they are still sitting firmly in the playoff picture. Domantas is a problem to deal with on the low post with his strength and a soft touch while being a beast on the boards. He isn't a lock by any means, but I think he deserves to play this year, as some experts even had in some MVP mix early in the year.
23.2 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 5.5 apg
My last pick would be Julius Randle, who has come out of nowhere to rejuvenate the Knicks and make them a respectable team again, as they have been one of the more pleasant surprises this year. He was always a solid all-around player, but this year he just took it up a notch, improving his jump shot and leadership. This really should be a well-deserving All-Star debut for Randle.
Honorable mentions: Trae Young, Kris Middelton, Gordon Hayward, Pascal Siakam, Bam Adebayo, Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic