It’s unclear if the league will hold its annual 2021 NBA All-Star Game yet, but that won’t stop the vote. All-Star fan voting has commenced and will conclude in mid-February. In conjunction with this announcement, the league still explained uncertainty over the event itself.
Discussions on a potential NBA All-Star game are ongoing, but players will be recognized as All-Stars this season even if there is not a game. https://t.co/6koWfBoi7O
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 27, 2021
With voting taking place no matter what decision is made, let’s check out some early predictions for the 2021 NBA All-Star starting lineups. Although the fan ballots take up a percentage of this vote, this list will only consider player performance thus far. Just like the NBA selections, we picked three frontcourt players and two backcourt players and threw in some honorable mentions as well.
Predicting the 2021 NBA All-Star Game Rosters
Western Conference Starters
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
Entering Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers are the best team in the NBA with a 14-4 record. Overall, Los Angeles improved the supporting cast, but this one still lies on the shoulders of LeBron James. In his 18th and age-36 season, James is averaging 25.2 points, 7.4 assists, and 7.9 rebounds per game. Yes, these numbers look ordinary for one of the greatest ever to play the game, but there’s more. These numbers and team performance come in a year that his superstar counterpart, Anthony Davis, has not found his groove yet. James is also shooting lights out from three-point range at 41.2 percent while attempting 6.6 three’s per game. “King James” adding the most consistent three-point shot of his career to his repertoire? That’s scary.
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Despite the middle-of-the-pack record for the Denver Nuggets, Nikola Jokic has been tremendous. The 7-foot big is averaging close to a triple-double with points, rebounds, and assists. Simply unreal. Jokic puts up 25.4 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 9.3 assists per game while converting better than 56 percent of his shots from the floor. Denver sits at 10-7 on the year, which slightly hurts Jokic’s Most Valuable Player award hype, but he’s a lock for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
During the offseason, there was major hype around Luka Doncic potentially putting together a Most Valuable Player award-winning season in year three. He’s done just this, at least he should be in consideration. His usual monster numbers are even better this year, notching 27.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 9.8 assists per night. Those rebounds and assists numbers would equal career-highs. He’s carrying a heavy load for the Dallas Mavericks, who were without Kristaps Porzingis until recently.
Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard has been off to a ferocious start in his first 15 games. For one, he’s played in 15 games of the Los Angeles Clippers’ total 18. The “load management” still exists, but seems toned down this year. Leonard averages 25.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and two steals each night. He’s also shooting 41.9 percent from deep, marking the second-highest mark in his career so far. The Clippers are 13-5, sit third in the Western Conference, so things are looking good for Leonard.
Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers
Paul George earns a starting spot on this conference as a perceived snub to Damian Lillard, who earns honorable mention status. While George’s numbers sit lower than Lillard’s, he’s been more efficient and on a better team. Even after the NBA Bubble playoff collapse, George has come out swinging. The 30-year-old notches 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.4 assists on better than 50 percent shooting from the field, 48 percent from deep.
Honorable Mentions: Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Zion Williamson
Eastern Conference Starters
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
When Joel Embiid suits up, the Philadelphia 76ers tend to win. At least, that’s how things have gone this year. Philadelphia is 12-2 with Embiid on the court, 0-4 without. The 26-year-old is the early favorite to win the Most Valuable Player award, and rightfully so. He ranks fifth in the league in scoring at 27.7 points per night, scoring on better than 55 percent of his shots. Add in 11.5 rebounds, which ranks top-10 in the league, and a league-best 31.2 PER.
Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
There’s been no rust for Kevin Durant to shake off this year. After missing all of last season, Durant ranks second in the NBA with 30.4 points per night. He’s also putting up 7.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists while notching a 59.3 effective field-goal percentage. He’s got two sidekicks now in James Harden and Kyrie Irving, but the Brooklyn Nets are very much his team. Brooklyn is +12.8 points per 100 possessions with Durant on the floor and -7.6 points per 100 when he isn’t. Durant has quickly reminded us all who the second-best player in the NBA is.
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
After losing his teammate John Wall to the Houston Rockets ahead of this season, we weren’t sure what to expect from Bradley Beal. His new sidekick, Russell Westbrook, hasn’t been great and the Washington Wizards are brutal to watch as a result. But, not for lack of effort from Beal. Beal leads the league in scoring at 34.4 points per night, shooting 48.3 percent.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
By his standards, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 2021 numbers are down. But still, the reigning two-time Most Valuable Player is putting up 27 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 54 percent shooting per night. His effective field goal percentage sits close to 60 percent while adding 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks a night. The Milwaukee Bucks are 10-6, but Antetokounmpo cares more about the playoffs than anything else right now.
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
Last season, Jaylen Brown took a huge step forward in his fourth NBA season. This year, in his fifth season, that step got even bigger. Brown bumped his scoring average from a career-high 20.3 points per game to 27.3 this year. He’s become a reliable third option to Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum. Hell, he’s been better than both of them so far. Brown is also adding 5.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He’s well on his way to an All-Star Game nod.
Honorable Mentions: Julius Randle, Zach LaVine, and Domantas Sabonis
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