Season Preview: Who could be a first time All-Star in the Eastern Conference?
It’s unclear whether or not there will be a 2021 All-Star game - but that doesn’t mean we the fans can’t start speculating about who will make the cut.
The Eastern Conference ballot may be more competitive than usual with the return of a fully healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and with players such as Russell Westbrook and Jrue Holiday joining the East.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at which budding stars or crafty veterans may be in line to win their first ever All-Star nod in the Eastern Conference.
With the weight of free agency off his shoulders and his first big payday secured, VanVleet is primed to make his first All-Star team. FVV finished 10th in backcourt voting last year (Ninth if you take out the almost two million nostalgia votes Derrick Rose received) and with Kyle Lowry turning 35 this year, it’s VanVleet’s time to shine.
Look for VanVleet to have an increase in assists without Gasol’s playmaking out of the post and to shoulder more of the point guard duties with a condensed schedule potentially affecting an aging roster.
The Celtic wing was arguably quite unlucky to miss out on All-Star selection last year and of all the names on this list he may be the safest bet to make his All-Star debut this season. With Kemba Walker starting the year in street clothes and Gordon Hayward robbing banks in Charlotte, Brown is the clear second option on the C’s.
Last year we saw Brown improve as a ball handler and as a shooter, which led to his most efficient season and a career high in usage. Throw in his value as a wing defender and a career year could see Brown making the first of many All-Star teams.
Health may be the biggest obstacle standing in the way for Malcom Brodgon here as he prepares for year two as a Pacer. Last season, Brogdon thrived in an increased role, serving as the primary ball handler in the lethal two man game alongside Domantas Sabonis.
Brogdon is a highly efficient offensive initiator who saw a jump in assists and rebounds per game last year. Watch for Brogdon's name to come up in All-Star conversations particularly, if the Pacers get off to a good start.
Honestly? If someone asked me what the definition of a “good stats bad team guy” was in the NBA, I would send them the link to Zach LaVine’s Basketball Reference page.
With that in mind LaVine is starting to build up an All-Star case regardless of how empty calorie the numbers are. Last year he averaged over 25 points a game on near 50-38-80 shooting splits.
With the Bulls drafting Patrick Williams, Chicago’s roster continues to be built in a way that will highlight LaVine’s explosive scoring. LaVine may have his All-Star prayers answered in 2019-20.