Every season, there are about a handful of first-time NBA All-Stars. Last season, the league had six first-time All-Stars, including Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and De’Aaron Fox. The NBA is filled with young players who could make that jump and veterans who have been on the cusp for years. Here are five players poised to be first-time All-Stars in 2023-24.
5 Likely First-Time NBA All-Stars in 2024
Jalen Brunson: New York Knicks Guard
Many people believe Jalen Brunson should have been an All-Star last season. In his first year with the New York Knicks, Brunson led the team to the fifth seed and a second-round playoff appearance. Brunson established himself as an elite three-level scorer and high-IQ playmaker.
Brunson’s skill set proved the perfect combination, giving the Knicks the franchise point guard they had searched for over the past 15 years. He quickly became the most beloved current Knick. New York has high expectations and projects to be a top team in the East under Brunson. Being a competitive team, the Knicks will have at least one All-Star. It’s difficult to imagine their consensus top player not being named an All-Star.
Jamal Murray: Denver Nuggets Guard
After an incredible playoff run, Jamal Murray is poised to make his first All-Star team this year. During the playoffs, Murray averaged 26.1 points, 7.1 assists, and 5.7 rebounds en route to a championship. He proved to be an elite three-level scorer and is the perfect guard next to Nikola Jokic.
After the playoffs, Murray began getting widespread recognition and established himself in the conversation as one of the league’s top guards. Ultimately, it’s rare for a player of his caliber to have no All-Star appearances. If Murray continues to produce at a high level and the Denver Nuggets remain one of the best teams in the West, it will be hard for him not to be an All-Star.
Mikal Bridges: Brooklyn Nets Forward/Guard
After being traded to the Brooklyn Nets as a part of the Kevin Durant deal in February, Mikal Bridges finished the season at an elite level. To close 2022-23, Bridges jumped from 17.2 PPG with the Phoenix Suns to 26.1 PPG with the Nets. With an entire season in Brooklyn, Bridges is poised to continue the same scoring production and will be the focal point of the Nets’ offense.
Additionally, Bridges is one of the league’s best wing defenders, making him a true two-way star. The Nets have a wide range of projections; they could fall anywhere between sixth and 12th in the Eastern Conference. If Brooklyn is on the higher, Bridges will be an All-Star lock. Regardless of the Net’s success, if Bridges scores at a high level and continues his elite defensive play, he could be in line for his first All-Star selection.
Evan Mobley: Cleveland Cavaliers Forward/Center
Entering his third season, Evan Mobley is ready to make another big jump. He has already established himself as one of the league’s best defenders, finishing third in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Mobley has an incredible combination of versatility, IQ, and rim protection. This year, he projects to be a favorite in the DPOY race and could win the award if the Cleveland Cavaliers remain elite defensively.
Additionally, Mobley’s offensive game projects to take a big jump. He could undoubtedly become an All-Star if he becomes a more consistent and aggressive scorer. Mobley’s season projects similarly to a first-time All-Star last year, Jaren Jackson Jr. He’s a young big man who continuously improves and had his best season with a competitive team.
Desmond Bane: Memphis Grizzlies Guard/Forward
As a result of Ja Morant’s 25-game suspension, Desmond Bane will be given more opportunities offensively. Bane proved to be a high-level 20-points-per-game scorer and elite shooter. With increased opportunity, Bane could be in line for another big jump. He is capable of averaging 23-25 points per game. With these scoring abilities on a competitive Western Conference team, Bane has the makings of an All-Star.
Without Morant, Bane projects as the Grizzlies’ top scorer and number option offensively. In the past two seasons, Memphis has been notoriously competitive without Morant. They posted a 31-15 record without him in the past two years. If the Grizzlies have a similar level of success without Morant early on and Bane is producing at a high level, he will receive plenty of All-Star buzz.