The 2019 NBA All-Star weekend is less than three weeks away and the selections for the All-Star game are beginning to take over social media debates. So, naturally, I felt the need to write out and explain my choices. My criteria were pretty standard. I did knock off points if a player missed significant amounts of time or had a poor stretch of games, but mainly I took into account the entire first half of the season. From the very first game to the minute I type this sentence, I’d tried to take it all into consideration. The five starters are made up of two guards and three frontcourt players while the reserves are also made up two guards and three frontcourt players, but in addition to two wildcard picks that can come from any position. Here are my selections for both the NBA All-Star teams and my own personal edition of the BBNBA All-Star team. Let’s start with the former Wildcats.
G: De’Aaron Fox (SAC) – 17.5 PPG/7.3 APG/3.7 RPG/1.8 SPG/3.0 TOV (shooting splits – 46.2 FG%/36.8 3PT/72.8 FT%): 48 games
- Fox saw a major leap in production from his rookie season to year two. His numbers have skyrocketed across the board and he’s leading the Sacramento Kings (THE SACRAMENTO KINGS, for goodness sakes) to a potential playoff birth. Fox is still settling into his role as a ball-dominant lead guard and deciphering the game at levels unexpected for someone still as young as he is. He won’t make an actual All-Star team this season but expect that to change by 2020.
G: Devin Booker (PHX) – 24.6 PPG/6.7 APG/3.6 RPG/3.9 TOV (45.2/32.0/84.3): 38 games
- Booker has missed 13 games this season, which definitely made me debate between him and Jamal Murray longer than I’m willing to admit. Ultimately, however, I went with Booker to start. Despite his missed games, Booker has been the Phoenix Suns best player by an egregious margin. His three-point shooting is down this year, but he’s countered that by developing into a legitimate playmaker and being much more adept at finishing near the rim. The Suns are 2-11 without him. They might still be miserable even when he plays, but at least there’s some beauty to the misery.
F: Julius Randle (NOP) – 19.9 PPG/9.3 RPG/3.0 APG/2.6 TOV (54.4/31.8/73.8): 47 games
- I bet those Los Angeles Lakers sure do wish they didn’t kick Randle aside as hastily as they did. In his first season alongside Anthony Davis as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, Randle is slowly displaying his true value. Similar to Fox, Randle’s numbers are up in nearly every category over halfway through his fifth NBA season. There is a real case to be made for Randle earning some Most Improved Player recognition. He’s added the three to his offensive arsenal and is one of the most efficient finishers when attacking the basket. He’s literally a walking mountain when he pummels into the paint.
F: Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) – 22.8 PPG/12.3 RPG/3.1 APG/1.0 SPG/1.9 BPG (49.9/37.9/84.7): 49 games
- The post-Jimmy Butler trade version of Towns has been revitalized and it’s been incredibly refreshing to watch. His defense is still a work in progress, but it’s damn near impossible to argue that he’s not the most versatile offensive big man in the whole league. Towns is knocking down perimeter shots at an elite level for a big and dominating every other facet of the court. If he can continue to get his touches up, there is still so much more he can accomplish. Not only is he a BBNBA All-Star, but I’d bet he sneaks into the bottom of the Western Conference selections, too.
F: Anthony Davis (NOP) – 29.3 PPG/13.3 RPG/4.4 APG/1.7 SPG/2.6 BPG (50.8/32.5/81.2): 41 games
- This one was easy. Davis is putting up career highs in every stat that matters (except the win column, that is) and is playing like one of the three or four best players in the entire NBA right now. He wasn’t named a starter to the official NBA All-Star team, instead, LeBron James, Paul George, and Kevin Durant all received the nod over Davis. Personally – as you’ll see later in this post – I chose Davis over LeBron as a starter and it had a bit to do with time missed, as the Pelicans big man has played in seven more games than the new Laker. Both are putting up insane numbers and both of their respective teams are borderline G League squads without them, but I give Davis the slight edge due to games played and overall numbers.
G: Eric Bledsoe (MIL) – 15.8 PPG/4.4 RPG/5.5 APG/1.4 SPG/2.1 TOV (49.4/29.8/76.6): 47 games
G: Jamal Murray (DEN) – 18.5 PPG/4.4 RPG/4.9 APG/2.4 TOV (43.2/36.5/83.6): 47 games
F: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA) – 8.0 PPG/4.6 RPG (48.6/32.3/76.2): 41 games
F: Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC) – 13.3 PPG/8.7 RPG/2.7 APG/1.2 SPG (53.5/–/54.5): 49 games
F: Enes Kanter (NYK) – 14.4 PPG/10.8 RPG/2.0 APG/1.8 TOV (54.1/33.3/81.9): 42 games
WC: John Wall (WAS) – 20.7 PPG/8.7 APG/3.6 RPG/1.5 SPG/3.8 TOV (44.4/30.2/69.7): 32 games
WC: Bam Adebayo (MIA) – 8.0 PPG/6.7 RPG/2.1 APG/1.4 TOV (55.8/–/72.9): 47 games
G: Kyrie Irving (BOS)
G: Kemba Walker (CHA)
F: Giannis Anteotkounmpo (MIL)
F: Kawhi Leonard (TOR)
F: Joel Embiid (PHI)
G: Bradley Beal (WAS)
G: Victor Oladpio (IND)
F: Blake Griffin (DET)
F: Ben Simmons (PHI)
F: Nikola Vucevic (ORL)
WC: Eric Bledsoe (MIL)
WC: Jimmy Butler (PHI)
G: Steph Curry (GSW)
G: James Harden (HOU)
F: Paul George (OKC)
F: Kevin Durant (GSW)
F: Anthony Davis (NOP)
G: Damian Lillard (POR)
G: Klay Thompson (GSW)
F: LeBron James (LAL)
F: Nikola Jokic (DEN)
F: Rudy Gobert (UTA)
WC: Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)
WC: Russell Westbrook (OKC)
The actual reserves, as selected by the coaches, for each conference will be announced during TNT NBA Tip-Off this Thursday at 7 p.m. and the rosters for the All-Star game will be drafted on TNT during a special draft show on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.
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