NEW YORK Five players each from the East and West were named starters for the 2023 All-Star Game, theNBAannounced Thursday. Heres what you need to know:
LeBron JamesandGiannis Antetokounmpowere selected as captains for garnering the most votes in their respective conferences. James has been a captain for every All-Star Game since the league switched to the current format six seasons ago, and has never lost.
Fan voting accounts for 50 percent of the balloting for starters; selected media voters account for 25 percent and players ballots count for 25 percent.
The NBA will announce All-Star reserves (chosen by coaches) on Feb. 2. For the first time, captains will choose sides just minutes before the All-Star Game tips off on Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City.
Remember, voters were required to select three frontcourt players and two guards from each conference, and there was no switching. For instance, neither Durant nor Tatum could be moved to guard, even though they handle the ball as much or more than the average guard. It meant four deserving forwards/centers for three spots, andPhiladelphiasJoel Embiid(33.4 ppg, 9.8 rebounds) was easily the biggest (and tallest) snub.
Nor could Dončić be moved to a forward spot, even though he is as big or bigger than many of them at 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds with an average of 9.1 rebounds per game. It led to a logjam of starter-worthy guards between Curry,Ja MorantandShai Gilgeous-Alexander. SGA, for instance, has scored the third-most total points in the league and will not be starting.
Other huge snubs include the(NBA leader in rebounding), the(NBA leader in assists) and the CelticsJaylen Brown(averages north of 27 points and seven boards on the leagues top team). Vardon
This is Mitchells first selection as an All-Star starter and comes in the game being held where he spent the first six seasons of his career. Mitchell made three All-Star Games with theJazzand was traded to Cleveland last summer as part of an organizational rebuild. One of the players Utah acquired in the Mitchell deal Lauri Markkanen will almost surely be named as a reserve.
Meanwhile, James, at age 38, was selected to his 19th All-Star Game, tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbars record. However, assuming hes healthy, when LeBron takes the floor in Salt Lake City he will become the NBAs all-time leader in All-Star Games played, as Kareem only appeared in 18 games. James will likely have recently passed Kareem as the sports all-time leading scorer.
Williamson, 22, is making his second All-Star appearance and will start for the second time, but this would be his first ASG in which he was voted as a starter if hes eligible to play. He was previously promoted to the starting lineup in the 2021 game for Embiid, who was in the leagues health and safety protocols. Williamson has appeared in just 29 games this season and is currently out with a hamstring injury.
Irving is headed to his eighth All-Star Game but his first since the 2020-21 season. Hes had a rough go of things over the last two campaigns with multiple suspensions and/or extended absences. Vardon
The vote is conducted by the leagues 30 coaches and they are not allowed to vote for their own players. They have to pick two guards, three forward/centers and two players at any position in each conference.
Lets start with the snubs. In the East, Embiid (forward/center), Brown (guard) and Haliburton (guard) are locks. And in the West, Sabonis (forward/center), Morant (guard averaging 27.3 points, 8.0 assists easily starter numbers) and Gilgeous-Alexander (guard).
The rest of the Easts reserves could includeDeMar DeRozan(guard) orNikola Vucevic(forward/center) from theBulls, possiblyTrae Young(guard) of theHawks, maybe the KnicksJulius Randle(forward/center), or possibly Miami big manBam Adebayo. The CavsDarius Garland(guard) andJarrett Allen(forward/center) were All-Stars last season, but Im not sure either makes it now.
While Markkanen (forward/center) wasnt a snub per se, hes going to be a shoo-in as the Jazzs representative and also one of the top statistical performers of the season.Damian Lillard(guard) of the Trailblazers certainly has a chance (60-pointers typically help),MinnesotasAnthony Edwards(guard) and potentially the Pelicans C.J. McCollum (guard) could round out the West reserves. The LakersAnthony Davis(forward/center) has been brilliant in his limited court action, but I struggle to see the coaches selecting him, given how little hes played (26 games). Vardon
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Joe Vardonis a senior NBA writer for The Athletic, based in Cleveland.Follow Joe on Twitter@joevardon