Potential First Time All-Stars
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Each season in the NBA features amazing opportunities to see the improvements of players and the recognition that comes with it. Last season was the chance to see players like Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo, Joel Embiid, and Karl-Anthony Towns breakout and become first time All-Stars. This season brings a whole new set of potential breakout players that could make the All-Star team for the first time.
In looking at the current setup of the NBA. There are just so many young guys in the NBA that are playing at a high level and it is likely that they will continue to make the All-Star game well into the future making more and more difficult for guys to make the team. In looking at the All-Star rosters for last season, there were only four players that were over 30 years old at the time of the game. All of the players that made the team last season are all still in the league and still playing at a high level. Here are five players that have a chance to breakthrough and make the All-Star game in Charlotte.
These five players feature three players that are three second year players that helped their teams get to the playoffs and look to build on their amazing first season success. The other two players are dominant big guys that dominate opposite ends of the court.
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Simmons had a very successful rookie season for the upstart 76ers. He was dominant at times as a 6’10 point guard without a jump shot. He put up 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists per night for a team that won 52 games. If it were up to me, Simmons would have been an All-Star last season. He was more deserving than a player like Goran Dragic. If the 76ers continue their great play leading up to the All-Star break and Simmons is able to continue his amazing play, Simmons will join teammate Joel Embiid at the game in Charlotte.
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Tatum’s season was amazing. He turned into a devastating offensive weapon for the Celtics and was a big part in them getting to the Conference Finals without Gordon Hayward or Kyrie Irving. His second season gives him the chance to build on that rookie season and possibly make the All-Star team if the Celtics are able to dominate the East. The easy case against Tatum is that Hayward’s return could limit Tatum’s impact and it might be tough for him to get the nod over teammates Hayward, Irving, and Al Horford.
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Mitchell was huge in the Jazz’s amazing season that saw them get to the 2nd round of the playoffs despite losing their superstar Gordon Hayward. Mitchell is a popular player in the league and he continues to do amazing things off the court. Having said that, with LeBron James joining the Western Conference there is less of a chance for Mitchell to break through. The Western Conference backcourt is full of big time talent like Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and many other great players. The case for Mitchell is if the Jazz separate themselves from the pack and have great success, he could get in.
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Jokic is an amazing talent and has fans in Denver excited for playoffs after his 2017-18 campaign, where Jokic demonstrated offensive talent that is not common for big guys in the league. Jokic’s chance to make the All-Star game lies in the team success for the Nuggets. He is poised to have a big season and get the Nuggets to the next level. However, there just may be too much talent in the West.
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Gobert is to defense what Jokic is to offense. Gobert is dominant defensively and is the reigning defensive player of the year. He is hoping to continue his dominance for a Jazz team that is hoping to build on their success of last season. The case for Gobert is in his defense and that is also the case against him. Unfortunately, defense is not always a consideration for making the All-Star team. It would be fun to see Gobert on the court in Charlotte bringing some defense to the exhibition.