Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid will be All-Stars this year for what seems like the millionth time. Those are all great players, but the league is full of young talent as well, and a few of them will likely be first-time All-Stars in 2023.
Who Will Be First Time NBA All-Stars 2023?
What makes it tough for young players to break through into their first All-Star Games despite being deserving is the format we use to select All-Stars. Fans vote for starters, and fans like famous people. See the five players above. All deserving of course.
Coaches select the reserves and they often choose older excellent players. So if you’re going to be a first-timer you better be a standout in one of the main counting stat categories or you have no shot.
Here are five players we think have a legitimate shot at being first-time All-Stars in 2023.
No. 5. Lauri Markkanen — Utah Jazz
The Finnish forward is the leading scorer on the surprise Utah Jazz, who are leading the Western Conference at 12-7. Markkanen has an excellent summer for the Finnish national team at EuroBasket 2022, and he’s carried it over into this season. He’s averaging a career high 22.4 points per game on 61 eFG% and 65 TS%. He has an EPM of +4.7. That’s the 95th percentile.
No. 4. Tyrese Haliburton — Indiana Pacers
So, the Indiana Pacers were supposed to be terrible this season and in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. Apparently, they didn’t get the memo. They are top six in the Eastern Conference, 14th in aNET rating and eighth in aORTG. Haliburton is a big reason why.
The third-year guard is averaging 20 points and 10 assists per game, leading the league in the latter stat. He’s shooting at 59 eFG% and 63 TS%, including 39 percent from three on seven attempts per game. His EPM is +4.5, 95th percentile.
No. 3. Desmond Bane — Memphis Grizzlies
Now, this one is tricky because Bane is out with a grade 2 sprain of his right big toe. He’ll be reevaluated in another week, but before he went down he was killing it.
Bane is averaging 24.7 points per game, a career-high, on 57 eFG% and 62 TS%, including a blistering 45 percent from three on nearly nine attempts per game. That’s Stephen Curry-like accuracy and volume.
Bane is the Grizzlies second-leading scorer behind Ja Morant. The duo look like an All-NBA backcourt.
No. 2. De’Aaron Fox — Sacramento Kings
The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week has made a jump as a player. He’s ranked sixth in the NBA in offensive EPM and sixth in overall EPM at +5.8. He’s in the 98th percentile. In other words, he’s playing All-NBA level basketball.
Fox is shooting lights out. His 61 eFG% and 65 TS% are the best of his career and among the best in the league. He’s 40 percent from three on five attempts per game. Already one of the fastest guards in the league, if you have to press up on him because of his shot it’s over for you defensively.
— Synergy Basketball (@SynergySST) November 21, 2022
No. 1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — Oklahoma City Thunder
SGA is averaging a career-high 31 points and six assists per game on 52/39/90 shooting splits. That’s 55 eFG% and 63 TS%.
The Thunder, another team in the Wembanyama sweepstakes, are a respectable 7-10, and that’s all because of SGA.
Of the Thunder’s starting five, SGA and Lu Dort are the only two with a positive EPM. SGA is a +5.5, the 98th percentile and seventh in the NBA. For reference Dort is a +0.4.