With fan voting for the 2020 NBA All-Star teams concluding today, we wanted to release our edition of who we would select to represent the teams of this great league.
When looking at the All-Star game, my main philosophy is to select the guys having the best season. I am not a huge fan of legacy spots and missing games does not matter too much to me, as long as the player has played in a good amount (about 35) by the February break. Some people like to award successful teams with multiple All-Star nods, but I believe this is quite foolish. While the game itself really has no value, the designation of players being an All-Star carries a ton of weight. Whether it be Hall of Fame candidacy, contract negotiations or even just simple discussions amongst fans, All-Star selections are always mentioned as a quick way to determine how good or valuable a player is. So with that all being said, here are my 2020 All-Stars.
So for the East, I believe all of the starters as well as Trae Young and Bradley Beal are 100% locks. Each player has shown immense value to their team as well as playing at a high level. I will not argue for these locks as I do not see how they are not All Star quality players this year. Also, I know Jimmy Butler is listed as a front court player, but I listed him as a guard as every game he has started has been at the 2, and he truly is a 2/3, so limiting him to frontcourt is confusing.
G- Kemba Walker
G- Jimmy Butler
FC- Giannis Antetokounmpo
FC- Pascal Siakam
FC- Joel Embiid
G- Trae Young
G- Bradley Beal
FC- Domantas Sabonis
Sabonis has had a phenomenal season this year for Indiana. Being arguably their most consistent and reliable player, Sabonis has stepped into a starting role next to Myles Turner better than nearly anyone expected. His rebounding, passing and efficiency truly puts him to the top of the big men in the NBA today.
FC- Andre Drummond
Arguably the greatest rebounder in modern history, Andre Drummond has been developing his game the past few years. He is no longer a complete liability at the free throw line and has sprinkled in some more ball skills since joining Detroit. While the Pistons are having a rough year, this comes from the fact that they’ve had one NBA-level point guard play real minutes for them this year, and the talent outside of that is not much better.
FC- Bam Adebayo
Another face for the modern big, Bam has developed into one of the most dangerous centers in the NBA today. Offensively, Bam has added playmaking ability while keeping his efficiency by sticking at the rim and hitting his shots. He has also been a menace defensively, and alongside Jimmy Butler, has turned the Heat into a scary team in the East.
UT- Ben Simmons
The point guard deathly afraid to shoot has had his fair share of criticism since joining the NBA. Recently, people have argued that not only has Simmons stalled in his progression, but maybe has regressed from his rookie year, but I believe this is completely false. Playing with better teammates has limited his scoring duties as well as dampening his basic counting stats, but his defense has improved to All-NBA levels.
UT- Jaylen Brown
This last spot came down to one of the young Boston wings, but when looking at Tatum and Brown, Jaylen has had a better year. Nearly every one of their stats are identical, but Brown is shooting better from the floor and from 3, even with similar usage rates. If Tatum takes the spot, I will not be surprised nor upset, but I do see Brown as ever so slightly better and more qualified for this season.
Has had a great year, but his efficiency has been fairly shaky while playing for an underperforming team. Might be a candidate for a good stats on a not so good team guy this year.
Arguably the hardest cut from the team, Lowry has had a phenomenal season. After Kawhi’s departure I believed the Raptors would struggle. Instead, they are sitting towards the top of the East and Lowry has been a massive reason why. There are too many guards having better seasons and Lowry has had not the most efficient nor greatest defensive season, as to why he is my first guy on the outside looking in.
Being one of the largest surprises of this season, Graham has worked well next to Terry Rozier, making the Charlotte Hornets a respectable team. His playmaking and sharpshooting from deep really fit into an All Star game, but his weaknesses on the defensive end and scoring inside the arc prevents me from giving him a selection.
With Chicago hosting the All Star Weekend, it would be fitting to have a Bull play in the Sunday night game, but I feel similarly about LaVine as I do about Lowry. Yes, he is putting up good numbers, and even on better efficiency, but he is still a poor defender and is playing on a subpar team. With his usage rate topping 30% it’s no surprise he has great stats, but these stats really don’t lead to winning.
Middleton is having a solid year being the #2 option in Milwaukee, but that is where his All Star candidacy takes a hit. Giannis has been phenomenal and is the soul of the Bucks, while Middleton is the best role player on the team. He is a great defender and brings a little bit of everything on the offensive side of the ball, but I would not put him at the top of the wing class of the East.
Tatum has had a really good year and has worked on his game, removing some of the ugly long twos he tended to settle for, and moving those to beyond the arc instead. And while his defense has only gotten better, his shooting numbers have been falling since his first year in the NBA.
Similar to the East, I see the entire starting lineup I listed as well as Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell and Nikola Jokic as complete locks. Instead of focusing on why these players are All Stars, as I believe everyone would argue they are, I want to focus on the rest.
G- Luka Doncic
G- James Harden
FC- LeBron James
FC- Kawhi Leonard
FC- Anthony Davis
G- Damian Lillard
G- Donovan Mitchell
FC- Brandon Ingram
Ingram has looked really good this year in New Orleans, as jumping to the #1 option has proven what he needed. He is shooting the most 3s per game of his career as well as hitting them more than 40% of the time. His well-rounded game has been the only bright spot in a rather sad year for the Pelicans.
FC- Rudy Gobert
Gobert has been a defensive menace for the past few years, winning two Defensive Player of the Year awards, and he has certainly not slowed down. He is still one of the best rebounders and rim protectors in the league, all while being incredibly efficient on the offensive end. While the Jazz’s defense has not been as good as it has been in prior years, I would put this on the more offensive-focused personnel, as Gobert’s defensive rating is still at the very top of the league.
FC- Nikola Jokic
UT- Devin Booker
While the Suns have certainly cooled down from their hot start, Devin Booker really has not slowed down at all. Shooting a career high from the field and from the charity stripe, Booker is really capitalizing on the offensive side whenever he goes on the court. He is still a pretty mediocre defender, but with how good his offense is, he should not be snubbed again.
UT- Paul George
The Clippers are having a pretty good year, and while Paul George is not looking as good as he did last year, he is still having an NBA quality season on both sides of the ball. Hitting nearly 40% of his 3s on over 9 attempts a night is great when he can also create for himself alongside locking down nearly any wing. His total games played is fairly low, but considering he is healthy and getting back into shape, by the time the All-Star break comes around, I imagine he will have a sufficient amount of games played.
I may be biased as Montrezl is one of my favorite players today, but his energy and Impact off the bench is critical to his team’s success. When he steps on the court he truly dominates the game snagging rebounds and finishing well around the rim. However, Harrell mainly plays against backups, so his stats do seem inflated. While valuable, I don’t think he is a first ballot All Star this year, but is very close.
Similar to Harrell, Lou Will is part of the Clippers’ bench that routinely alters games and swings them in LA’s favor. While certainly talented on the offensive side, Lou is a sieve defensively. He is not having such an incredible season to warrant a selection, but I would list him high on the alternate list.
You remember my disclaimer that I don’t give legacy spots? Yeah, that was mainly for Westbrook. He has made 8 All Star games and is absolutely electric in them, but his play this year does not warrant this designation. His averages of 24-8-7 still look solid, but considering his abysmal 42.5/23.5/78.5 shooting splits on top of 4.5 turnovers a night, he has regressed to below All-Star level.
Towns is having a phenomenal season, and outside of the Wiggins revival for a few weeks, KAT is the only reason why the Timberwolves have not been a train wreck. So why do I have him out? At the time of writing this, he has only played in 23 games this year and is still injured. Maybe I am overthinking it, as he should return soon, but until he hits the court again, the sheer lack of games played is a knock against him. Other guys like Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have similar amounts of games played, but I believe they should hit around 35 games or so by mid-February, while Towns may not.
The Spurs are having a better year than many people may realize, and the largest factor is DeMar DeRozan’s play. He has returned back to his old self, avoiding shooting threes at any cost, but has been very good everywhere else on the offensive side. He is a solid scorer and playmaker, helping the Spurs offense move without tons of other talent. I would not be surprised if he is a 2nd or 3rd alternate depending on injuries, but that is all I see him as for the time being.
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