As the days of summer are whining down, we are slowly approaching the beginning of the new NBA season. Yes, the All-Star game is about six months away, but it is never too early to predict who will make the squad in the following year.
Making the team as a Western Conference player just got tougher than it already was, competing against former MVPs and superstars that proved their true talents. However, in the East, a few star players switched conferences to the West, which opened up some spots for newcomers that have been snubbed in the past years.
As you saw in the title, I chose five players out of everyone that never became All-Stars who have the highest chance to make the teams in the 2017-18 season. I based it on my opinions, and comparing their stats and level of performance to other players that were on the All-Star rosters.
Comment below if you happen to agree or disagree with the five players I chose, and tell me your top 5 players that you think might make the team for the 1st time. Let’s check out the 5 players that might make their 1st All-Star appearance:
5. Bradley Beal
Beal is coming off his greatest season in the NBA, and possibly being one of the biggest snubs from the All-Star team last season. He averaged a career high 23.1 points, and shot 40.4 percent from the three-point line. He helped Wall lead the Wizards to 4th place in the East, and took the first-seed Boston Celtics to 7 games in a semifinals matchup.
However, a main issue that might prevent him for making his 1st All-Star appearance is his health. After only missing 5 games in the past season, it showed how well he plays when healthy and at 100 percent. Including last season, he missed an average of 17.2 games per season in his 5-year career, which is a bit more than 1/5 of the season. Beal is only 24, so if he fails to make the All-Star team this season due to injuries or being snubbed again, he still has plenty of other years to make a case as an All-Star.
4. Rudy Gobert
Gobert had an amazing last season, clinching a spot on the All-NBA Second Team, and being a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year award. He averaged 14.0 points, 12.8 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, and ranked 20th in the league with a 23.31 player efficiency rating. Like Beal, he was also one of the biggest snubs from the All-Star Team, and even putting up better season averages than a few of the players who actually made the squad.
Without Gordon Hayward on the Jazz, the focus will be on him, which can help him put up even better numbers. He should definitely be getting an increase of touches on offense, which will lead to more points. As a member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team last season, his defensive qualities will definitely be noticed next year, especially when protecting the rim. If he can put up equivalent stats or better to last year’s averages, there is no doubt he will not miss the All-Star team again.
3. Kristaps Porzingis
With or without Melo, Porzingis is now the main focal point for the Knicks. They should look to build their offense and defense around him, as he has shown plenty of potential in his first two years. He averaged 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists last season, and we should definitely see an increase in his stats with him having more responsibility and being the first option on the team. He made 35.7% from 3, and increased his field goal percentage to 45 percent. Also, the 7’3″ forward showed great signs as a rim protecter last season, blocking 2.0 shots per game, but there still is some space for him to develop.
If Carmelo Anthony gets his wish granted to be traded, Porzingis should have a much higher chance of being selected. The departures of front-court All-Stars Jimmy Butler, Paul Milsap, and Paul George will open up spots on the team, which should help Porzingis earn his 1st appearance. At the end of the day, the only thing that can keep Porzingis out of the All-Star Game are injuries, or the Knicks dropping to the bottom of the East where they simply cannot secure a selection.
2. Joel Embiid
After an amazing rookie season, only injuries can prevent him from being an All-Star. In the 31 games he played, he averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists while only playing 25.4 minutes per game. Embiid missed two seasons before actually playing a game, and he played restricted minutes throughout most of last season, and would have easily won the Rookie of the Year Award if he did not miss more than half the season. With averaging 2.5 blocks per game, Embiid might already be the best rim protector in this league, only 0.1 blocks behind 1st place in blocks, Rudy Gobert.
He has not yet been cleared for physical activity, but we still have about two months for the start of the season, so there should be no worries that he will be ready to go once the season starts. If he remains healthy and plays unrestricted minutes, we should definitely see Embiid’s name on the Eastern Conference All-Star roster.
1. Karl-Anthony Towns
Towns is coming off his second year in the NBA after averaging outstanding stats: 25.1 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists. Since he had been part of a losing team for the past two years, people have not realized his true talents yet as a potential star. However, with the addition of one of the best two-way wings, Jimmy Butler, and Jeff Teague, thingd should definitely change. Their chances of making the playoffs definitely increased, but it all depends on how well they play during October-January.
The West have much more star power to compete with in the additions of Jimmy Butler and Paul George in the front-court, but with Davis and Cousins teaming up in New Orleans, and Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan losing their play-making point guard in L.A., they may all get a decrease in stats, which gives Towns a chance to outplay all the big men out West. If Towns can produce the same stats he had last season with Jimmy Butler alongside, and help the Timberwolves get off to a hot start, there is no question that he will be an All-Star.