OTG'S Official 2021 All-Star Game Ballot
OTG'S Official 2021 All-Star Game Ballot
The All-Star Game is one of the NBA’s premier showcases for its brightest and most exceptional players. While defensive effort takes the night off, the league’s biggest stars come together to put on a show.
Despite quite reasonable objections, commissioner Adam Silver and Co. have made it clear that there will indeed be an All-Star game in 2021. As such, the Association’s most beloved players will be heading down to Atlanta for another annual showcase.
While there’s still a few more days of voting, the folks at Off The Glass came together to submit an official OTG NBA All-Star 2021 ballot. Enjoy!
All-Star selections rarely have much to do with basketball talent. After all, Zaza Pachulia was almost named an ASG starter several years in a row - the fans are out to get what they want. A few selections from the OTG staff clearly outline that tradition.
Through the magic of a Google form, OTGers were asked to name two guards and three frontcourt players for each conference. There were no limitations, references to existing voting data, or anything like that. All told, twelve people cast votes. (Stats via Basketball Reference.)
Guards - Bradley Beal and Kyrie Irving
Like we said at the top, defense be damned. Kyrie Irving earned eight votes, while Brad Beal earned six. Both worthy selections for the All-Star game.
Irving is turning in 27.9 points per game in this supercharged Brooklyn offense. And he’s doing it on a hyper-efficient 52.2 percent from the floor.
Not to be outdone, Brad Beal is having an even more incredible season. Big Panda’s 32.8 points per game is in and of itself pretty remarkable, but he’s doing it despite averaging just 2.5 made threes a night. That sort of offensive production is nearly unheard of in today’s NBA.
Jaylen Brown and James Harden each earned a handful of points. Both have a case to be made, and presumably will eventually represent the East in Atlanta. (This would be Brown’s first selection, who grew up in Marietta, GA.)
If I may editorialize, Colin Sexton was by far the most surprising vote getter. Sure, he’s having a great season, but I’m not so sure. A reminder that All-Star Game voting always has been and always will be a specious endeavor.
Frontcourt - Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid
The final three spots for the Eastern Conference All-Star starting lineup came together quite quickly. All three of OTG’s selections earned at least ten votes a piece.
The Greek Freak is the reigning MVP for a second consecutive season and continues to obliterate opponents. Although his stats are slightly down, he’s posting his second-best effective field goal rate of his career, suggesting the integration of Jrue Holiday is going smoothly enough.
Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid, meanwhile, are both making strong MVP cases themselves this year. KD has been an absolute world-beater despite concerns over recovery from his achilles injury. Instead, he’s been a bonafide monster.
Embiid, too, has looked extraordinary this season. A new conditioning regimen has done the big man well. “Do a 180” is playing the most efficient and productive offense of his career, and has his Sixers at the top of the East.
Jayson Tatum received a respectable number of votes, and Bam Adebayo received a shout-out. The headliners of last season’s Conference Finals, this is a reminder that the top of the East is a bonafide bloodbath right now.
Guards: Steph Curry and Dame Lillard
Steph Curry is an obvious selection here. He’s been positively en fuego all season long. The new-look Dubs are fighting for elbow room amid the bloated Western Conference middle class, and Curry is playing like a man possessed.
The six-time All-Star has turned in 62-point and 57-point performances already in this young season. For an exhibition game centered on having a bit of fun, Curry’s an obvious selection, and was nearly unanimous among OTG voters.
Dame Lillard has also been having his own heroic season. His big-time shot making and insane clutch performances make him an equally undeniable All-Star candidate.
A few other guards out West earned votes, too. Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, and Luka Doncic all received several selections. Fair enough.
Mike Conley’s lone vote from the OTG staff underscores how fraught All-Star voting is. Conley’s numbers this season have been gargantuan, and the Jazz are among the most lethal teams on both sides of the ball. And yet there’s a chance Conley stays home over All-Star weekend - he’s just not as sexy a pick.
Frontcourt: LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Nikola Jokic
Though Anthony Davis and, ironically enough, Zion Williamson both received votes, the Western Conference frontcourt was absolute chalk.
Kawhi Leonard is playing back-to-backs, and with that little asterisk removed, his dominance on both ends of the court is undeniable. The Clippers are quietly putting together a monster season, with the Klaw firmly at the helm.
Nikola Jokic, meanwhile, is also playing like an MVP. Though the Nuggets have faced a few roadblocks, the Joker is having the best season of his career. He’s setting new PRs in assists, rebounds, steals, and points, all while shooting an unbelievably efficient 60.1 percent from the field and 40 percent from three.
And then there’s LeBron.
Fresh off of another championship campaign, LeBron James is still playing like the best player in the world. Unsurprisingly, he was the only player to earn twelve selections from our twelve voters.
Last season Bron set a career-high for assists per game. This year, he’s within a shout of posting his best numbers from three-point land. The so-called Washed King is either very bored or continuing to get better at basketball.
LeBron himself has questioned the wisdom of hosting an All-Star Game this year, a criticism I happen to agree with. That said, whether or not the game is actually played, LBJ looks poised to once again be top dog among the rest of the league’s stars.
James has been an NBA All-Star since 2005. Most if not all of the players listed above will eventually earn the 2020-21 ASG badge one way or another. And yet somehow LeBron’s All-Star candidacy is still the most impressive.