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As all-star voting gets underway, teams, fans, and media members are arguing over who deserves to be a participant in Atlanta this March. Some consider individual stats as the main contributor to all-star status, while some also weigh on team success. When it comes down to selection, 50% of it is based on fan voting, while 25% is based on player and coach votes, respectively.
Compared to last season, the NBA has a much different landscape than last. With Steph Curry returning from injury, and Paul George back to his OKC form, here is a prediction on how the 2021 All-Stars could lay out for the Western Conference:
Frontcourt: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
26.3 ppg/5.6 rpg/5.3 apg/1.9 spg/ 51% FG/38% 3P/ 90% FT
Two-time champion and two-time finals MVP Kawhi Leonard had his best shooting season since 2016 and had career highs in assists and FT%. The Clippers are 15-5 in games Kawhi plays and 2-2 when he sits. Kawhi looks to make his fifth all-star team and protect his MVP award from last year’s all-star game.
Frontcourt: Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers
24.4 ppg/6.2 rpg/5.5 apg/ 51% FG/47.8% 3P/91% FT
Paul George might just be having a career year. After a poor season last year and a poor bubble performance, George has career highs in all shooting categories and is having his second-best scoring season. Although his defense is no longer what it was in previous years, George has silenced his critics and reclaimed his position as an all-star.
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Frontcourt: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
13.1 ppg/13.4 rpg/2.7 bpg/ 60% FG/123 ORTG/100 DRTG
Gobert has anchored the defense in Utah for seven years now as a starter but has only made one all-star team. Arguably one of the best defenders in the league, Gobert does not provide the flash that many desire in the all-star game, but he is deserving nevertheless. The Jazz is currently the best team in the league and would not be there without the play of Gobert.
Backcourt: Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers
29.1 ppg/4.6 rpg/7.3 apg/ 45% FG/38% 3P/95% FT
Averaging 29.1 ppg and leading a depleted Trailblazers team to the fourth seed, Damian Lillard is completely deserving of a spot here. He honestly should be a starter, but due to fan voting, it will likely be Luka Doncic in his place.
Backcourt: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
23.3 ppg/4.1 rpg/4.6 apg/44% FG/42% 3P/83% FT
Donovan Mitchell has not really taken a step forward since last year and has arguably taken a step back. That being said, he is still probably the best player on the best team in the league. For this alone he should be in the all-star game regardless of his performance relative to how he should be playing.
Wild Card: Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans
23.7 ppg/5.2 rpg/4.8 apg/47% FG/38% 3P/86% FT
Similar to Donovan Mitchell, Ingram has not been much better than he was last year. However, the Pelicans are sitting closer to the 15th seed than they are the first. The case for Brandon Ingram here is because the NBA scheduled many games for the Pelicans to be nationally televised. Even though they have not performed well, many eyes are on the Pelicans and Ingram has been their best player; Ingram will likely find a way to make the all-star team for the second time in his career.
Wild Card: Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
23.1 ppg/3.3 rpg/3.6 apg/48% FG/35% 3P/82% FT
Booker has ALSO not taken a huge step forward this season but has remained a clutch performer. He currently leads the Suns to a fourth seed alongside Chris Paul. Again, this is a case of rewarding the best player on a good team. Booker will also look to be a second-time all-star this March.
With the Pelicans being one of the worst teams in the West as of right now, I don’t think it is fair for them to have two all-stars. As much as fans and the NBA itself would love Zion in the all-star game, Brandon Ingram is more deserving in my opinion. If the Pelicans get more wins, Zion will have a better argument.
Christian Wood and CJ McCollum both should be all-stars. However, due to injuries, they likely won’t have enough games under their belt to have a valid reason to be placed in over any of these other guys. Both Wood and McCollum would be first-time all-stars this season, but it will likely have to wait another year.
Frontcourt: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
26.1 ppg/11.6 rpg/8.4 apg/57% FG/38% 3P/83% FT
Jokic has been incredible this season and is a likely MVP candidate. Averaging career highs across the board, the Joker has outdone himself. He is extremely deserving of a starting spot in Atlanta as he continues to lead the Nuggets this season.
Frontcourt: Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
21.9 ppg/8.8 rpg/3.3 apg/53% FG/31% 3P/70% FT
Let me preface this by saying that Anthony Davis has not looked great this season. After a great finals run, Davis seems to be taking this season a bit nonchalantly and probably because he can. LeBron James is having yet another MVP like the season and Davis doesn’t need to do all that much. Davis will likely become a starter off of fan voting alone but is definitely still an all-star regardless.
Frontcourt: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
25.1 ppg/7.8 rpg/7.7 apg/50% FG/41% 3P/71% FT
James has had yet another incredible season and will for sure be an all-star. However, LeBron has expressed his disinterest in the all-star game this season.
LeBron’s lack of interest in the all-star game could honestly lead to the game getting canceled, but it is hard to imagine him not making an appearance if the show goes on. He will make his 17th straight all-star game.
Backcourt: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
27.2 ppg/8.8 rpg/9.4 apg/46% FG/30% 3P/79% FT
Luka is deserving to be an all-star; I do, however, think he should come off the bench and this spot should go to Dame Lillard. The Mavericks are 14th in the West, but it is hard to pin the team’s play on Luka alone. Luka will likely be a starter due to fan voting as well, but he has had an incredible season. If Dallas can start winning games, he will likely be an MVP candidate, but for now, he will just be an all-star.
Backcourt: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
28.2 ppg/5.5 rpg/6.1 apg/47% FG/41% 3P/93% FT
After a slow start to the season, Curry and the Warriors have picked up the slack. The Warriors are now 12-10 in the West, largely due to the play of Steph Curry. With Curry having missed a year due to injury, he seems to have not slowed down one bit. Curry has silenced the critics who said he can not carry a team on his own and will be a starter in Atlanta in March.
Who do you think I left out? For more basketball talk, follow me @FindingNeema23 on Twitter and follow @BorderFuelHQ for more articles like this!