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LeBron James has recently broke another NBA record as he now holds the most All-Star appearances, making his 45th All-Star game (I’m kidding, relax! I know it’s 20!). This is absolutely a mind-blowing achievement, but I know it was very exciting for James to make his very first appearance. This could be the case for a few players in this year’s 2024 NBA All-Star game in Indianapolis.
Let’s take a look at some players who could be showcased in their first All-Star game this year:
Jalen Brunson – Guard, New York Knicks
Brunson has made some noise since his arrival to the Garden. This season, he’s had 14 games with 30+ points, three games with 40-plus and a career high of 50 points earlier this season against the Phoenix Suns.
Leading the Knicks as a top five team in the Eastern Conference, Brunson has received flowers from many who believed he deserved a starting spot for this year’s All-Star game. There is no question that Jalen Brunson will be a lock as an All-Star reserve.
Over the years, it seemed as if something was missing from this historic franchise and Jalen Brunson may have been the guy they were looking for. We can sit and talk about Brunson’s averages all day long but what he really brings to the table is dedication and this is what the people of New York love to see.
Brunson has proven to be an all-NBA level player and his leadership could be useful for a strong playoff run. It would be disappointing if he didn’t receive an All-Star spot, but this would fuel him even more. So coaches should be careful to not to be on his bad side.
Tyrese Maxey – Guard, Philadelphia 76ers
Tyrese Maxey was another one of those names that was expected to hear in last year’s All-Star selection but he is highly expected to make the team this year. Maxey is starting to become a threat in the league and is very respected by players around the association.
That respect level showed with him having the second most total votes by players (131) which was behind Tyrese Haliburton’s 133. Maxey was almost was named a starter but he did not have enough total fan or media votes, which led to Damian Lillard securing the second guard spot for the Eastern Conference.
Maxey is considered a leading candidate for the Most Improved Player award this year and why shouldn’t he be? He has new career averages in both points (25.7) and assists (6.6) this season.
There have also been times where Joel Embiid goes for 30 or more points, Maxey is right behind him gaining 30 of his own. Maxey shows you how explosive and dynamic his style of play is and playing on a high level will no doubt guarantee him a spot as an All-Star reserve.
Paolo Banchero – Forward, Orlando Magic
The reigning Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero has been the centerpiece for the Orlando Magic. Banchero has was not too far off from receiving an All-Star starter nod, being fifth in overall votes. If he makes the reserves list, he would the first player since Zion Williamson to make the All-Star team in their second season.
Within almost two years, the growth in his game is evident in Banchero’s game. He starting to become a better all-around player as well as being more of a playmaker than last year.
Something that has caught my eye is that he plays better on the road despite having a 9-16 road record. Banchero has been the leading scorer with 23 points and he even had a career high of his own with 43 against the Phoenix Suns. The sky’s the limit for Banchero and we should expect to see multiple All-Star appearances in the future.
Derrick White – Guard, Boston Celtics
Scottie Barnes – Forward, Toronto Raptors
Myles Turner – Center, Indiana Pacers
Mikal Bridges – Forward, Brooklyn Nets
Victor Wembanyama – Center, San Antonio Spurs
Rookie Victor Wembanyama so far has lived up to expectations and has shown us glimpses of what to expect in the near future. He has been a pleasure to watch the last couple of months. What has been impressive the most are his performances against some of the best players in the league.
The performance that stood out in particular was when he put up 39 points and 10 boards in a victory against Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns. He also recently posted 33 points against Joel Embiid (even though Embiid dropped 71 points of his own).
Over the last 25 years, only Yao Ming and Blake Griffin have made the All-Star game as rookies. Even players like LeBron James or Luka Dončić didn’t make it their rookie years as well, but there were players before them who respectively deserved their spots. However, it will be very entertaining if Wembanyama is able to secure an All-Star selection.
Alperen Şengün – Center, Houston Rockets
If the question who would be an All-Star first between Jalen Green or Alperen Şengün two years ago, the answer would have been Jalen Green with no hesitation. Well, it’s starting to look like Şengün may have the upside on that question. While Green was the third-overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Şengün had fell short of the lottery and was picked 16th overall. He has now become one of the fast-rising young players with a very bright future.
He has been nothing but a stud for the Houston Rockets with his point average increasing from around 15 to 22 points a game within a year. The best part about his game is his unselfishness and having the ability to have everyone involved, similar to Nikola Jokic.
It was mentioned earlier that Tyrese Maxey is a leading candidate for the Most Improved Player award, but Şengün is not far behind him. He has developed himself as a top center in the league and he most definitely should receive an All-Star nod from the coaches.
Chet Holmgren – Center, Oklahoma City Thunder
If any rookie should be named an All-Star, this is the case for rookie Chet Holmgren. Ever since he has suited up for the Thunder, things have been flowing smoothly as the team may have found their final ingredient to start a strong playoff push. Holmgren is averaging 17 points along with 2.5 blocks (fourth in the league) which plays a part for the Thunder having a top-five defense.
This would make tow rookies starting in the All-Star game. It has been rare, but the last time two rookies made the All-Star team was in 1985 where Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon did it. Holmgren and Wembanyama have also sparked a bit of rivalry over the past few months that can be entertaining for years to come. It would be even scarier having the two side-by-side on the All-Star team.
Jamal Murray – Guard, Denver Nuggets
CJ McCollum – Guard, New Orleans Pelicans
It can be a challenge to pick the remaining All-Stars due to the limited amount of spots on each team. It has also become a challenge since both conferences are stacked with talent all throughout the league.