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The five NBA players who might make their first All-Star appearance in 2023

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The five NBA players who might make their first All-Star appearance in 2023

The five NBA players who might make their first All-Star appearance in 2023

The NBA All-Star Game can resemble a popularity contest due to the method used to select the rosters. Will the game in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2023 turn out to be unique?

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The league’s coaches vote to determine the reserves, while fans, the media, and other players vote to determine the starters. Outstanding performance is important, but reputation is almost as important and can cause some players to struggle to get recognized.

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Take the contest from the previous year. Twenty of the 24 players that were initially chosen to the All-Star lineups had previously participated in the event. Seven first-time All-Stars participated in the game, although three of them were picked by NBA commissioner Adam Silver as injury replacements. Nevertheless, there is always a chance for someone to earn a spot in his first All-Star game completely on merit. In fact, the 2020 All-Star Game included nine first-time All-Stars only three seasons prior. Some of these players, including Trae Young, Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, and Jayson Tatum, have since established themselves as regular picks and will likely compete in Salt Lake City on February 19.

There are plenty of potential successors who could become first-time All-Stars in their footsteps. Let’s examine the five players who have the best chance of participating in the 2023 All-Star Game.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

In NBA history, 60 of the 62 players who averaged at least 30 points per game before the All-Star break made the All-Star Game. Wilt Chamberlain in 1970 and Adrian Dantley in 1983 were the only two who didn’t because they both sustained injuries.

Therefore, mark Gilgeous-Alexander down for this year.

With 31.1 points per game, the Thunder combo guard, who is only 24 years old, is now the third-best scorer in the NBA, trailing only Luka Doncic and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Gilgeous-first Alexander’s All-Star selection should have been justified by his scoring average alone, but this budding star is more than just a walking bucket. He’s currently one of the league’s most active attacking players.

Only eight ball handlers in the NBA have participated in more pick and roll actions than he has thus far this season, and no player has driven the ball to the rack more often than he has.

Through 19 games, Gilgeous-Alexander has a greater usage rate than Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Lakers forward LeBron James, and Nets forward Kevin Durant.

For good reason, Oklahoma City relies on his offensive leadership; the Thunder benefit when he is in charge of things. This season, while Gilgeous-Alexander is playing, the Thunder’s offense is averaging 114.6 points per 100 possessions, which would place them ninth in the NBA on a team basis. However, when he sits on the bench, that important number plummets to 102.6, the league’s poorest offensive efficiency.

He blends handles, footwork, and a variety of shot types as well as any player under the age of 25, making him one of the league’s most innovative and self-sufficient volume scorers. This season, he has also significantly increased his scoring efficiency.

According to Second Spectrum, the average Gilgeous-Alexander shot last year scored 1.02 points, which placed it in the 35th percentile. It is 1.15 points this season, which places it in the 74th percentile.

The improvement in his jump-shooting statistics is the single most important element driving his efficiency increase. Gilgeous-Alexander had a poor effective field goal percentage of just 44.7% on his jump attempts last season, placing him 95th out of the NBA’s top 100 jump shooters. With an eFG% of 50.8 this season, he is ranked 52nd, just slightly better than the league average but still a huge improvement in a “make or miss” league.

He’s also one of the few emerging players who still aims for midrange shots as a jump shooter. Gilgeous-Alexander is heading in the opposite direction as the NBA abandons non-paint 2s. Only Durant, Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan, and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid are converting midrange shots at better percentages among that group. He is in the top 10 of non-paint 2s attempted this season. This young kid is developing into one of the NBA’s few young midrange savants, maybe due to his experience playing with Chris Paul a few years ago (or perhaps not?).

He has a similar variety of tools to other young scorers in the league. He is developing into one of the league’s most complete and effective volume scorers by flirting with the holy trinity of thresholds of 50-40-90 — his 39.1% 3-point shooting is now the lone figure below that mark.

De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings

The league is buzzing about The Beam Team. With a powerful offensive under Fox’s direction and in his sixth season in the league, the Kings are destroying the opposition.

Fox, 24, has established himself as one of the fastest players on the court, and this speed continues to be his defining quality. When he is on the floor, the Kings become the league’s quickest team, averaging 104 possessions per 48 minutes.

In each of the last three seasons, Fox has averaged more than 20 points per game, consistently putting up All-Star-caliber scoring totals. He has improved his game even more this season, averaging a career-high 25.4 points while hitting his highest percentages from the free-throw line (81.0%), the 3-point line (39.0%), and the 2-point range (60.2%).

The Kings are winning games, which is more significant for Fox’s All-Star argument. Sacramento has never finished higher than seventh in the Western Conference at the All-Star break during his career. The Kings have started the break in 13th position in four of the last five seasons. The Kings have won eight of their last 11 games to move into fifth place in the West, perhaps putting Fox & Co. on pace to break the longest postseason absence in major North American professional sports. However, there is still plenty of time until All-Star selections are chosen (since 2006). That would undoubtedly be deserving of an All-Star selection.

Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers

Last season, the Pacers acquired the 22-year-old guard in exchange for a transaction that included Haliburton and All-Star player Domantas Sabonis. Few anticipated that it would occur so rapidly.

Haliburton is now a league leader in almost all important shot-creation metrics in his first full season with the Pacers. According to Second Spectrum monitoring, his passes result in more than 26 shots a game, which is the highest in the league ahead of stalwart All-Stars like Nikola Jokic of Denver, James Harden of Philadelphia, and Paul of Phoenix. His league-best 10.9 assists per game help Indiana score a massive 28.9 points per game, which is the most in the league.

The Pacers were predicted by ESPN’s summer projection to finish last in the Eastern Conference with a record of 23-59 before the season even began. The Pacers have a top-10 offense because of the rise of Haliburton, and they have already won 10 games, putting them in the top part of the Eastern Conference rankings.

When the 2021 All-Star Game was moved from Indianapolis to Atlanta two seasons ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indiana lost an All-Star Game. An All-Star appearance for Haliburton, a deserving first-time pick, would help to partially make up for that omission.

Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz

Utah was not expected to have a successful season, much like Sacramento and Indiana. Well, the Jazz are, and Utah’s unexpected start is being fueled by Markkanen’s breakout season.

The No. 7 selection in the 2017 draft is posting his greatest scoring totals of his career after unimpressive stints with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers. Coach Will Hardy’s wide-open offensive areas have allowed Markkanen, who is averaging 22.0 points per game, to thrive in unexpected ways. According to Second Spectrum, the 7-footer is now shooting 66% of his shots in the lane, which is second among the top 20 most active paint shooters in the NBA this season (the NBA average is 57%). He also ranks seventh in the NBA in total field goals made in the paint this season.

This season, Markkanen is also shooting 36.5% from beyond the arc, but it only tells part of the tale. According to Second Spectrum, Markkanen has made the most catch-and-shoot 3-pointers among forwards this season, making 111 of them on a 40.5% shooting clip. As a 7-footer, Markannen is an essential part of Utah’s wide-open offensive style because of his capacity to spread out opposition defenses.

Markkanen, who was acquired by Utah in the Mitchell deal from Cleveland, is a model example of a big man in the contemporary NBA. He is a large, powerful, talented player who can succeed as an inside menace and a 3-point shooter. His ability to shoot the ball and drive the ball from the edges to the basket is very outstanding for a player of his height, and it helps him in Utah’s disorganized systems. This season, he might offer the Jazz a local All-Star.

Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies

Bane might be the player with the best case to make his All-Star debut if it weren’t for a sprained right big toe he sustained earlier this month. At the beginning of the NBA season, no player was drawing more attention than he was.

Bane outperformed both Durant and Kyrie Irving in just his fourth game of the year, leading the Grizzlies to a victory over the Brooklyn Nets with a career-best 38 points and seven assists (also a career high). Bane demonstrated to the NBA that he was a far more complete scorer than he had been in his first two seasons in the league by shooting 10-of-13 on unassisted shots that night, generating 26 of those points on his own.

One of the finest young 3-point shooters in the game now is Bane. Although he has hit an astounding 43.6% of his over 900 3-point shots in his career, the majority of those tries in his first two seasons came from Grizzlies teammates. Although Bane’s stats were already being compared to great catch-and-shoot players like Klay Thompson of Golden State, his explosive season-long breakout has been driven by his ability to create his own opportunities, and this has changed the conversation surrounding his potential ceiling.

He attempted five unaided shots for every 100 possessions in his first season. That figure increased to 10.1 last year. Despite the fact that Bane is paired with Ja Morant, one of the league’s most used teammates, it has increased once more to 14.5 this year.

The ability to mix volume and efficiency as an unassisted scorer is a crucial aspect of superstardom in professional basketball, and Bane has improved upon that aspect of his game in Year 3.

Sadly, the cruel sting of the injury bug destroyed Bane’s fantastic start to this season. Even so, he might have enough time to reestablish himself as a strong All-Star candidate if he is able to play again in December.

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She is the editor of River C Sports. Previously, she was editor-in-chief at other news sites. July has also in her career been an editor for several websites and has more than 5 years of experience in the industry.

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Luka Doncic of the Mavericks records a triple-double in his historic comeback.

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Luka Doncic of the Mavericks records a triple-double in his historic comeback.

Luka Doncic of the Mavericks records a triple-double in his historic comeback.

“I’m dead exhausted,”

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That was Dallas Mavericks player Luka Doncic’s initial, instinctive response to one of the most extraordinary performances in NBA history as well as the most spectacular game of his young career.

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It makes sense. It was exhausting enough to merely take in the magnitude of his performance during Tuesday’s 126-121 overtime victory over the New York Knicks:

  • 60 points, which is more than Dirk Nowitzki’s 53 points for the most points ever scored by the Mavericks in a single game;
  • 21 rebounds, a career record; the first 60-point, 20-rebound triple-double in league history; and
  • 10 assists to complete the 52nd triple-double of his career.
  • 16 of the 23 points Dallas scored in the fourth quarter and overtime came from him or him with an assist.

And it all counted, enabling the Mavericks to win by a lopsided margin in overtime after they astonishingly overcame a nine-point deficit in the last 26.8 seconds of regulation.

The pivotal moment occurred at the conclusion of that game-tying run, when all of Doncic’s talent and cunning, as well as a little bit of luck, were put to use just when Dallas needed them the most.

With 4.2 seconds left and the Mavericks behind by three, Doncic took the shot. Doncic purposely missed his second shot after making his first one in the hopes that a Mavs player would retrieve it and, against all chances, tie the game.

Doncic replied, “I know it was two seconds or something.” Hope it went in, I just tossed it up.

The person in question turned out to be Doncic, who, well, just watch.

Doncic was that kind of player, capping off the comeback and adding the final touches to his masterpiece with seven of Dallas’ 11 points in overtime on 21-for-31 shooting from the field.

The 23-year-old made the shot that necessitated overtime, and the thinned-out audience anticipating defeat erupted in frenzied celebration as he danced about and waved his arms.

Many people questioned me about this in the locker room, and I said that I believed we had won, according to Doncic. “I went to the audience in this manner because of that. When I looked at the score, I believed we had won. My reaction was “Oof.”

Owner of the Mavericks Mark Cuban, who saw Nowtizki’s 21-year career from the front row, had the following to say:

Others haven’t either.

Doncic joined James Harden, who recorded a 60-point, 10-rebound, 11-assist performance with the Rockets in 2018, as the only players in NBA history to record a triple-double of any kind.

Even a triple-double of 50 points would have been exceptional. Only Wilt Chamberlain (of course twice) and Elgin Baylor had ever accomplished the feat previously, and only they had 20 boards in their respective games.

Doncic outperformed Nowitzki, who had set the previous club record on December 2, 2004, with 53 points. He also made history by being the first Mavs player to score 50 points or more twice in a three-game period (he scored 50 points on Dec. 23 vs. Houston). A statue of Nowitzki was erected outside the arena by the Mavericks two days before to Doncic’s record-breaking performance.

Surprisingly, the most remarkable statistic may not have had anything to do with Doncic’s particular performance. NBA teams had a horrifying record of 0-13,884 in the previous 20 seasons when down by at least nine points with 35 or fewer seconds remaining going into Tuesday’s game.

So, Luka, get some rest. You undoubtedly deserve it.

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Can the resurgence of the Warriors and Lakers be kept up with by the Celtics and Nuggets?

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Can the resurgence of the Warriors and Lakers be kept up with by the Celtics and Nuggets?

Can the resurgence of the Warriors and Lakers be kept up with by the Celtics and Nuggets?

Apart from Luka Doncic’s historic performance, the two conferences’ top clubs in the NBA continued their winning ways. The Boston Celtics play in the East. The Denver Nuggets represent the West.

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Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who are perhaps the finest shooting tandem in the NBA, continue to inspire Boston, which was no match for the inconsistent Houston Rockets (126-102).

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The Western Nuggets are having a great season. They have won five straight games, and they did not require the most devastating performance against the Sacramento Kings (106–113). Jokic’s last assault in the third session and his 20+11+9 point total shifted the balance. Porter Jr.’s 30 points demonstrated his importance.

As the Golden State Warriors continue to accumulate streaks sans Stephen Curry, the West Coast has also undergone a continuous awakening. Despite having the greatest home record in the NBA (14-2), the winners must ensure that the underperforming players acquire confidence.

The Lakers are another option. On Christmas Day, their 51 points against in the third quarter appeared to put an end to the season, but they have become stronger as a result of their vulnerability. Still in full-throttle mode, LeBron James scored 28 points, helped by Russell Westbrook’s triple-double of 15+13+13. They are three points away from the Play-IN and now 14-20 in the rankings.

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The Red-Hot Nets attribute their success to staying focused on basketball.

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The Red-Hot Nets attribute their success to staying focused on basketball.

The Red-Hot Nets attribute their success to staying focused on basketball.

Before guiding the Brooklyn Nets to their ninth straight victory, a 125-117 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, coach Jacque Vaughn revealed what he believed to be the reason for his team’s recent good form.

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Before the game, Vaughn referred to “basketball.” “We haven’t veered off course from the present moment. The most crucial aspect of today is that we want to win this game. Every day when we enter the gym, basketball is the focus. It has to do with basketball and how we’re going to look out for one other and cover for each other on the floor.”

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Many league observers saw the change as they watched the talented bunch go from an emotional roller coaster to the NBA’s hottest team, one that, following Monday night’s performance, equaled the league record for the longest winning streak.

Before the game, Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff remarked that it seemed like basketball was the major focus from the outside.

The Nets didn’t always seem to be like that, though. After having a difficult start on the court, Kyrie Irving received criticism after sharing a social media post endorsing a film with antisemitic views. As a result, he was suspended for eight games. Soon after, Steve Nash was fired as head coach.

By keeping things straightforward, according to Vaughn, he has helped the squad get back on track.

After the game on Monday, Vaughn stated, “I am a simple person. And really try to make things straightforward. So, I placed a lot of emphasis on what would be good for our team. And whether it was the time we spent in shootarounds or the time we cut [off] to keep our players fresh so they could give their all when we played. And in a way, it was the intention; by doing so, we built up some momentum.

Vaughn’s point was clear.

He promised his players, “I’m going to try to be as consistent as I possibly can with you every day.” “And being as truthful as I can.”

The straightforwardness of Vaughn’s message, coupled by Kevin Durant’s MVP-caliber performance, are what have allowed the Nets to entirely turn around their season. Their confidence on the court is apparent, they are receiving contributions from all positions on the roster, and they have kept their attention on the task at hand. The Nets have now won 13 of their last 14 games, are 10-1 in December, and are riding their best winning streak since the 2005–06 campaign.

Nets swingman Royce O’Neale said, “We’re playing on both ends, battling hard. “Everyone is accepting responsibility. We’ve got each other’s backs on defense, and on offense, everyone is playing selflessly while getting fantastic looks.”

Notably, Durant asserted that the Nets’ attention has always been where it should have been.

After scoring 32 points in the victory on Monday, Durant remarked, “To be honest, I believe we’ve always been about ball.” “With no disrespect intended for what you guys do, I simply believe that the outside world, including the media and fans, tends to give the impression that we don’t care about the game or that we are not focused on the work at hand, but I believed that was how we had always been. You don’t have a lot to speak about outside of the game, therefore that doesn’t contribute to the conversation about our team, it’s a truth.”

It’s important to note that in the aftermath of both Irving’s suspension and his team’s difficulties, Durant, like many others in the organization, has expressed unhappiness with the current circumstances. But considering that the Nets’ current winning streak has transformed the tone of their season, those times seem like a long time ago.

Everyone has a platform, according to Durant. “I believe the hubbub you hear is the result of so many voices discussing what we do in our locker room even if they have no actual understanding of it. However, the game has always been important to us. I’m not saying we didn’t suffer in the beginning, but our main priority was always to play basketball. I believe that other individuals were looking for things to name, include, or otherwise refer to as part of our team. I am aware that the Kyrie controversy could be what you are referring to, but I believe our conversation has always been about the game.”

Durant acknowledged that he had to explain the circumstances to people closest to him, but he also commended Vaughn for his efforts to make things simpler for the group.

I was frequently asked by pals, “Yo, K, are you alright, man?” Durant remarked. “Man, y’all have so much crazy stuff going on. I’m thinking, “Really? It’s not all that insane, actually. Like, we come in, go to work, and go without talking about this s—-. To be honest, the outside is noisier than the inside—this has always been the case. But what we actually done was make the basketball’s two ends simpler.

Vaughn acknowledged that the key has been the group’s pushing away all the distractions off the court, which has allowed the Nets to focus on improving it. Durant sought to retain the focus on how strong he feels his team attitude has been.

Without a question, it’s a component, according to Vaughn. “And we made sure to emphasize that; in fact, as a group, when we got back, we sort of made a commitment to one another that it would be about basketball. Our players have done an amazing job of looking out for each other and keeping this about basketball, so hopefully nothing will get in the way of that or any outside noise.”

Irving was questioned about if he concurred with the statement that the floor was once again the main emphasis.

After hitting 32 points, Irving admitted, “For me, personally, I think I just pushed myself aside at times.” “Just believe what we’ve got going on; I couldn’t care less about external criticism or praise. I’m simply focusing on being the greatest version of myself and allowing the outcomes depend on how well the group can be trusted.”

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