ADVERTISEMENT

Popular Topics: West All-Star rookie selection

ADVERTISEMENT

Channing Frye and Greg Anthony share their All-Star predictions for the Western Conference.

ADVERTISEMENT

Each week, NBA.com writers will discuss some of the hottest topics about the league.


Who are your rookie stars from the Western Conference?

Editor’s note: The All-Stars and Rookies will be officially announced Thursday night on TNT (7 ET).


Steve Ashburner:

background area

• Luka Doncic
• Stephen Curry

frontcourt

• Nikola Jokic
• LeBron James
• Domantas Sabonis

This is an annual grassroots contest and game, in my view, so WL records should matter less than the MVP ratings. Good thing, too, because James wouldn’t get invited if everyone stuck to the . 500 or better standard that many coaches use as a way to filter their backup picks. Of course, James stood out – no “at 38” qualifiers necessary. These are his pre-All-Star career stats across 20 seasons: 26.9 ppg, 7.4 rebounds and 7.4 assists. Now look at his stats for just this season.

Jokic automatic, iteration of the Kia MVP that It might just make him three peats Come spring. The only thing that might detract from his first talent, that stellar pass, would be the par-heavy play and lack of defense that pervades the All-Star Game in the first three-plus quarters. Serious competition is when the Joker’s full set of skills and values ​​is on display.

Sabonis earned third place in the front yard from me on a close call with local market darling Lauri Markkanen with his all-around play, influence on royalty culture and low-key appreciation for longtime energy. Popular fan picks like Zion Williamson and Anthony Davis have spent far too much time in streetwear to snag the honor on the other two.

Three guards on two starting points made the western backcourt a little tricky. Doncic and Curry? Yes and yes. But Memphis’ Ja Morant—arguably the hottest player in the NBA and the engine of the Grizzlies’ recent 11-game winning streak and all-around success—is equally deserving and designed to entertain all-stars. Barring an injury, he’ll be in SLC and give us that More of this From his All-Star debut this past February.

Luka Doncic drops 29 points against the Clippers.


Brian Martin:

background area


• Luka Doncic

• I am Morant

frontcourt

• Nikola Jokic
• LeBron James
• Domantas Sabonis

How much time is lost and team success when selecting a rookie All-Star? That was the question I kept repeating in my head as I agonized over the decision between Ja Morant and Stephen Curry for the Western Conference’s second place guard alongside Luka Doncic. The Mavs star has been a lock for Lee behind 33.6 ppg on 37.2% utilization and 10 triple-doubles (including a historic 60-20-10 game) as the offensive anchor for the fifth-ranked Mavericks (25-23).

Curry has the advantage in some key numbers: He averages more points (+2.0 ppg), shoots a higher percentage from the field (+2.2 FG%) and from depth (+10.1 3P%), while Morant is ahead in rebounds (+2.2 FG%). +0.8 (rpg) and assists (+1.6 apg).

But Morant has significant advantages in games played (eight games Curry missed 15), the Grizzlies (31-16) are second in the West, and the Warriors are ranked tenth (23-24). In their games, Curry is . 500 (16-16), while Morant is 15 games over . 500 (27-12). Curry has been fantastic when he’s on the field, but the down time and lack of team success compared to Morant makes it difficult to start him on the GA.

Jokic made a strong case for the starting All-Star and third consecutive Kia MVP nod as he posts ridiculous numbers every night and the Nuggets (33-14) sit in first place in the West. Here are the absurd numbers: 25.1 DPSG (16), 11.0 RPM (6), 9.9 APG (2), 14 triple-triples (1) and 62.6 FG% (7), with 250 shots putting in more than any other time. player ranked first 15.

Jokic is one of two players to average at least 15 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists; The other is Sabonis, who has recorded 23 consecutive double-doubles, the longest streak in the NBA this season. Sabonis has been the catalyst behind the league’s highest-scoring offense (120.3 ppg) because he creates more points with his assists (19.5 ppg) than he scores himself (18.7 ppg for a career best of 60.9%).

The final front spot goes to timeless wonder LeBron James, who posts stats — 29.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 6.9 apg, 50.8 FG% — that no player has ever seen before in a 20th NBA season. Assuming good health, LeBron will go into the All-Star break As the best scorer in the NBA (passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and the leading playmaker fourth (passing Mark Jackson and Steve Nash in career assists).


City Mark:

background area

• Luka Doncic
• Stephen Curry

frontcourt

• Nikola Jokic
• LeBron James
• Laurie Markkanen

It has become both easy and difficult to select the backcourt to start the Western Conference All-Stars. easy? Doncic is a great idea considering the Mavericks are currently the No. 5 seed mostly because of his flair. He’s on pace to average career-highs in points per game (33.6), shooting percentage (49.6%) and minutes played (37.5), while posting 10 triple-doubles (second in the NBA). Hard? How to choose between Curry and Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant. Some might prefer Morant because the Grizzlies (31-15, 2nd in the West) are ranked far above the Warriors (23-24, 10th in the West). Or Curry missed 11 games due to a left shoulder injury. However, Curry outperformed Morant in points per game (29.3 to 27.2), field goal percentage (48.6% to 46.3%) and 3-point shooting (41.9% to 31.7%). While Morant deserves kudos for the Grizzlies’ 27-12 record with him in the lineup, the Warriors’ 16-16 record with Curry has largely to do with issues that have nothing to do with him.

As for the western arena of the conference? Deciding on the first two picks has become somewhat easier since New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson and Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis have missed plenty of games due to injuries. But the reason has more to do with Gokic and James playing at an exceptional level. Jokic played just as efficiently as he has over the past two Kia MVP seasons with a league-leading 14 triple-doubles. Unlike Jokic’s previous two MVP seasons, the Nuggets climbed toward the top of the Western Conference. Despite the Lakers’ inconsistency, the 38-year-old James has become the team’s only bright spot thanks to his consistent play and mostly excellent health during his 20th season. Barring a serious injury, James will overtake Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the list of leading scorers in the NBA over the next month.

However, picking the last spot on the front court has become more and more difficult. Sacramento Kings quarterback Domantas Sabonis may be considered as an All-Star starter for his production (18.8 points, 12.6 rebounds per game) on the third-best team in the Western Conference (26-19). However, Markkanen has the advantage. It could be argued that the Jazz would already be in rebuilding mode were it not for Markkanen who averages a career high of 24.8 points on 52.1% shooting. After a challenging four-year stint in Chicago (2017-2021) and a rebound season in Cleveland (2021-22), Markkanen became an early favorite to win the NBA Most Valuable Player award.

Laurie Markkanen’s career-high 49 points helped Utah dethrone Houston.


Sean Powell:

background area

• Luka Doncic
• Stephen Curry

frontcourt

• LeBron James
• Nikola Jokic
• Zion Williamson

How could Curry, with his credentials, yet having another phenomenal season, make me think twice about finally putting him in the starting lineup? When the other option is Ja Morant. Yes, Morant was that special, upping his game, delivering just as much if not more action than Curry, and keeping the Grizzlies near the top of the heap in the West. That’s why Curry barely pressed here, unlike Luca, the tough, no-brainer MVP candidate. As for the frontcourt, LeBron was an easy pick at any age. Did he really average nearly 30 points per game in his 20th season? Jokic seems to be on pace for a third consecutive MVP, so again, an easy pick. Now for Zion… again in street clothes, but I put more emphasis on the games being played when selecting All-NBA teams. to all the stars? Go with the player the fans want to see. And Zion was very special before the injury, so his qualifications are not an issue.

Before his injury, Zion Williamson was having big games, like this 36-point breakthrough against the 76ers.


John Shuman:

background area

• Luka Doncic
• I am Morant

frontcourt

• LeBron James
• Nikola Jokic
• Domantas Sabonis

There were four strong backcourt candidates: Doncic, Morant, Shay Gilgios-Alexander and Stephen Curry. It is curious not to include Curry, who was the engine of the Warriors’ success. But the Warriors haven’t had much success this season. By the time the ballot was due, Doncic had played in nine other victories (25) from Curry (16), while Morant’s were the Grizzlies 31-14. Gilgeous-Alexander was obviously great, and obviously these four guys are going to be All-Stars.

The front court came down to the three guys above and Laurie Markkanen, with apologies to Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson, who didn’t get past the 1,000-minute mark. Jokic has been inked from the get-go and will likely be an MVP frontrunner. Sabonis was the second pick, scoring a lot of minutes, doing a lot, and scoring efficiently for one of the best teams in the West. Then it was about James or Markkanen, and it was about James doing a little more for his team (in terms of playmaking) than Markkanen does for his team. But if the Lakers don’t run a bit (7-4 av James 34.9 Point on good efficiency over the last 11 games before polling), Markkanen was probably the pick.


Michael Wright:

background area

• Stephen Curry
• I am Morant

frontcourt

• LeBron James
• Domantas Sabonis
• Nikola Jokic

Full disclosure: Anthony Davis got the nod on the official poll that was sent out last week. But after really considering that selection, not to mention the fact that the 12th-place Lakers don’t deserve to have two starters, the ballot you see above reflects the change in thinking. When he was healthy (27.4 ppg, 12.1 rpg, 2.6 apg) Davis was solid as one of the best performing players in the NBA and a legitimate candidate for the Kia MVP. Once the big man suffered his last injury setback, the Lakers lost four of their next five games, giving you an indication of just how well he played. However, Sabonis (18.7 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 7.4 apg) gets the nod here, even over Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, who hasn’t played since Jan. 2 due to a strained hamstring. The Kings are currently third in the West, having won seven of their last ten games with Sabonis leading the team in rebounding and assists. Jokic (25.1 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 9.9 per gallon), meanwhile, is on his way to winning his third consecutive Kia Player of the Year award as he produced the league’s strongest and most consistent 2022-23 campaign. The average guy is basically triple double for the top seed in the West. So, it’s a no-brainer pick of the bunch. Maybe James is too, because at 38, he’s the leading vote-getter in the entire league among fans and heading into his 19th consecutive All-Star game. amazing. He certainly earned it, having average points the last two seasons (30.3 and 29.8) compared to the previous 13.

The guard position was even more challenging because Ja Morant deserves one of the starting spots as the leader in scoring (27.2 ppg) and assists (7.9 apg) for the Memphis team that is currently second in the Western Conference standings. An eight-time All-Star, Curry emerges as a MVP and tournament finalist. So it is worth. But in the end You can count on Doncic receiving the official nod from Morant Simply because of its outstanding features and flashy numbers (33.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 8.7 apg). Doncic leads the fifth-placed Mavericks, who have lost seven of their last 10 games. Winning should matter. But that may not be the case for everyone when it comes to selecting all-star starters.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
%d bloggers like this: