Imagine an NBA All-Star starting lineup rolling out five Kentucky Wildcats…
That pipe dream might still be a few years down the road, but we’re heading in the right direction. Earlier on Thursday, the first batch of fan voting for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game was released by the league office and five former ‘Cats were among the top-earners. Everyone was broken down by conference and then split in between frontcourt players and guards. LeBron James (2,288,676 votes) of the Los Angeles Lakers is the leading vote-getter in the Western Conference while Kevin Durant (2,302,705) of the Brooklyn Nets drew the most from the Eastern Conference and top overall.
Here’s a list of the members from the BBNBA who made the first cut.
4. Anthony Davis (LAL): 1,192,881 votes – 7-time All-Star
It hasn’t been the traditional All-NBA season from Anthony Davis, but he’s still a lock to make the All-Star team. He’s averaging 22.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.8 blocks through 19 games this season for the Los Angeles Lakers, which was good enough in the eyes of the fans to earn him the fourth-most votes among Western Conference frontcourt players. While several of Davis’ numbers are below his past season averages, the Lakers are still the team to beat in the NBA. Alongside LeBron James, the two form the deadliest duo of players in the league.
A “down” season for Davis is still All-Star worthy. That’s scary for someone who’s only 27.
6. Devin Booker (PHX): 173,755 votes – 1-time All-Star
Similar to Davis, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker isn’t quite putting up the insane figures he has over the years. However, for the first time in roughly seven seasons, the Suns are good and it’s in large part to Booker accepting a more-limited role next to future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul.
Paul was brought over in a preseason trade and it was an instant match made in heaven working with Booker. The former ‘Cat is averaging 23.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in 16 games this season while shooting slightly worse from the field than his first All-Star campaign during 2019-20, but the Suns are 11-9 and a legit threat out West. He finally has a team around him capable of competing.
9. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC): 99,286 votes – 0 All-Star appearances
If you’ve been keeping up with the daily BBNBA posts, seeing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s name on here will be of no shock. Leading the charge for the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder, SGA has been granted free-rein as the best player under a first-year head coach and his numbers are up across the board as a result. The third-year point guard is averaging 21.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game on a shooting split of 51.2/37.5/75.8.
OKC was a consensus pick to finish near the very bottom of the NBA standings, and yet Gilgeous-Alexander has them at 9-11 on the season with playoff contention not far out of reach. In my eyes, SGA is playing just as good if not better than some of the players ahead of him in votes such as Ja Morant (who has only eight games played this season), Donovan Mitchell, or even Booker.
Don't stop now!
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) February 4, 2021
6. Bam Adebayo (MIA): 307,498 votes – 1-time All-Star
Coming off his first All-Star and NBA Finals appearance in 2019-20, Bam Adebayo has gotten off to a tremendous start in 2020-21. While his Miami Heat squad isn’t exactly contenders to make it back to the Finals, Adebayo should be a sure-fire bet to play in his second consecutive All-Star Game this year. The fourth-year big man is averaging 19.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 5.3 assists through 19 games this season while shooting over 58 percent from the field. Unfortunately, injuries and COVID-19 issues have decimated Miami early on to the tune of a 7-14 record, but Adebayo is clearly in All-Star form.
8. Julius Randle (NYK): 175,325 votes – 0 All-Star appearances
Pride of the Kentucky Knicks, Julius Randle has earned the right to be considered for his first-ever All-Star appearance. The 26-year old is playing the best basketball of his life, averaging career-highs in points at 22.6, rebounds at 10.9, and assists at 6.0 per outing. After a hot start shooting the ball this season, Randle has cooled off a bit–down to 47.5 percent from the floor and 39.6 percent from beyond the arc, above-average figures–but still performing at a winning level. He has New York at 10-13 on the year, which might not seem all that impressive, but it’s two giant leaps forward when you consider the past decade of torturous Knicks basketball. Randle makes them fun to watch.
?? 1 RT = 2 VOTES ??
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) February 4, 2021
Fan votes account for 50 percent of the overall selection process with 25 percent coming from the media and the final 25 percent from the coaches. So while it might seem odd that Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (who hasn’t played a single game this season due to injury) is still 10th in voting for the West guards, he ultimately won’t make the cut. It’s quite unfortunate that it’s set up that way, too, because I’d be willing to bet that De’Aaron Fox is right below Thompson in total number of votes–the former ‘Cat been playing damn-near All-Star levels all season long.
According to multiple reports, the NBA All-Star Game will be held on March 7 this season and will be located in Atlanta. The game was initially scheduled to be hosted in Indianapolis but that venue was pushed to 2024 due to COVID-19 concerns. There are rumblings of potentially adding a 3-point/Dunk contest, but for now, it’s just the All-Star game that is planned. De’Aaron Fox was asked about the idea of playing the game and was blunt with his response, calling it “stupid.”
De’Aaron Fox was brutally honest on the NBA’s plan to have an All-Star game this season…
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) February 4, 2021
Hard to disagree with the young man…
If you’d like to help vote your favorite former ‘Cats into the 2021 All-Star Game, you can do so by clicking the link here. Or you can vote for them through Twitter by hashtagging the player’s name with #NBAAllStar next to it. For example: “#JuliusRandle #NBAAllStar” would be one vote for Julius Randle. You can tweet out votes for up to 10 players in a given day, or simply retweet anything that meets the criteria for a certified vote.