A Dive Into This Year’s NBA All-Star Game

Ryan Witt, Sports Editor

On January 26, the NBA All-Star captains and starters were announced, with reserves being announced on February 2nd. Obviously, fans claimed there were snubs and bad decisions made. Frankly, all-star decisions come with controversy every season. Nonetheless, the all-star game makes for fun viewership no matter if there are snubs or not. Today, let’s break down the rosters and potential snubs


Eastern Conference Representatives

The All-Star starters coming from the east include Giannis Antetokounmpo (captain), Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell, and Jayson Tatum. Since there are position rules for all-star starters, there are no real complaints about this starting lineup. Arguments could be made for Joel Embiid, but that’s about it. Overall, it’s a solid starting five. Most fans should be generally satisfied with this being the starters coming from the East.

The reserves include the previously mentioned Joel Embiid, Bam Adebayo, Jaylen Brown, Demar Derozan, Tyrese Haliburton, Jrue Holiday, and Julius Randle. Several news outlets including USAToday, NBCSports, SportsIllustrated, HoopsHype, and SBNation came to a consensus agreement that James Harden and Trae Young were two of the biggest snubs. Jimmy Butler, Jalen Brunson, and Pascal Siakam are others who have been mentioned as snubs. All-star rosters stretch far beyond just stats. The people who choose all-star teams (who, for better or for worse, are not the fans) factor in stats, team record, and name value. Even if Lebron’s averages fell substantially, he would still be a captain. Overall it’s a group of all-stars that makes some amount of sense. There’s a mix of guys with good stats and guys who are on really good teams. However, most fans don’t care about players on good teams, rather, they want the best players. Frankly, I’d agree with them.


Western Conference Representatives

The All-Star starters representing the west are Lebron James (captain), Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, and Zion Williamson. The group of starters was so perfect until you get to the name Zion Williamson. Nobody is sure how he ended up in the group of starters. Frankly, it is a disgrace. His averages are totally all-star-worthy, but he has barely played. He has only suited up for around his team’s games, mind you, a team that is only in the play-in right now. If he was one of the reserves, people could live with that. However, Zion being an all-star starter is just a bad decision. He was the Andrew Wiggins of last year for this year’s all-star game. Other than that, nobody can complain.

For the reserves, there is Paul George, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jaren Jackson Jr, Damian Lillard, Lauri Markkanen, Ja Morant, and Domantas Sabonis. Using the same sources above, some consensus snubs include De’Aaron Fox, Anthony Edwards, and Anthony Davis. For another example of how all-star decisions are made, take a guy like Lauri Markkanen, who ends up with a roster spot because he led a team (projected to stink) to a top seed, though only temporarily. Plus, not to discredit him, he has put up career numbers and should be a top contender for the most improved player award. It’s a very solid group of reserves, though fans of Anthony Edwards, like myself, would’ve liked to see him get the nod. 

To conclude, I figured I would give my opinion on what I believe should be the all-star rosters for this upcoming all-star game. Unlike the people who choose the rosters, I mostly based these decisions based off personal performance and stats. Team performance was factored in for decisions like Julius Randle vs. Pascal Siakam and Paul George vs. Anthony Edwards, as they have very similar averages. Decisions like Trae Young vs. James Harden were also toss-ups that could go either way. Lastly, for the west, I decided to allow Luka Doncic to qualify as a member of the frontcourt. My backups will act not only as actual backups in case an all-star is injured but also as an honorable mentions list. Overall, these are my personal predictions for the all-star rosters. 



Starters: Giannis Antetokounmpo (captain), Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, Jaylen Brown

Reserves: Joel Embiid, Bam Adebayo, Kyrie Irving, Demar Derozan, Tyrese Haliburton, James Harden, Julius Randle

Backups: Trae Young, Pascal Siakam


Starters: Lebron James (captain), Stephen Curry, Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 

Reserves: Paul George, Damian Lillard, Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, Domantas Sabonis, Jaren Jackson Jr, Anthony Davis

Backups: Lauri Markkanen, Anthony Edwards