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Sideline Cue Writers’ NBA All-Star Predictions

One of the most interesting topics of each NBA season are the All-Star selections, who “deserves” to be an All-Star, and which players got “snubbed. This year is full of NBA talent, and surely there will be discussions over the next few weeks with fans looking to answer these questions. Fan voting for the 2020-2021 NBA All-Star has officially begun, and rumors are circling of a potential All-Star game in Atlanta in March, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Let’s take a look at the Sideline Cue Writers’ predictions for this year’s All-Star selections.

Eastern Conference

Starters (2 guards, 3 frontcourt)

Among the writers there is a general consensus, and little dispute among fans and media alike, that the three front court starters for the Eastern Conference will be Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Joel Embiid. All seven of the participating writers predicted that those three would comprise the Eastern Conference front court starters. This comes as no surprise, due to the fact that all three of these players are having dominant seasons, leading their respective teams to impressive records in a very competitive Eastern Conference.

Nick Wass/Associated Press

There was a little more diversity among the predictions for the Eastern Conference starting guards. 6 out of the 7 writers predict that Bradley Beal will be one of the starting guards in what seems like a much deserved selection following what many believe to be a “snub” last year. The other guard spot was split between five votes for Kyrie Irving, one vote for Trae Young, and one vote for Jaylen Brown. The other guard spot will likely be filled by one of these players, let’s take a look at their performance so far this season.

Breakdown:

Kyrie Irving: 27.6 points, 6.0 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game in 14 games played. The Nets have a team record of 14-9 and are currently in 2nd place in the East.

Trae Young: 26.9 points, 9.0 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game in 19 games played. The Hawks have a team record of 10-10 and are currently in 6th place in the East.

Jaylen Brown: 27.1 points, 3.5 assists, 5.4 rebounds per game in 18 games played. The Celtics have a team record of 11-8 and are currently in 4th place in the East.

Reserves (2 guards, 3 frontcourt, 2 wild card)

Two players received votes from all of the writers to be selected as an All-Star reserve. Those players are James Harden and Domantas Sabonis.

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Players to receive 5+ votes: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Zach Lavine

Those 5 players (Harden, Sabonis, Brown, Tatum, and Lavine) would fill up 5 roster spots for the Eastern Conference reserves, leaving one forward spot and one wild card spot open. Among players who received votes from the writers, Bam Adebayo would likely fill the forward spot and the last wild card spot would be a struggle between Collin Sexton and Russell Westbrook; who both received two votes from our writers.

Breakdown:

Collin Sexton: 24.1 points, 4.1 assists, and 2.6 rebounds per game in 16 games played. The Cavaliers have a team record of 10-11 and are currently in 7th place in the East.

Russell Westbrook: 20.9 points, 9.5 assists, and 9.4 rebounds per game in 11 games played. The Wizards have a team record of 4-12 and are currently in last place in the East.

Between these two players, it seems like Collin Sexton is the better choice to be an All-Star this year. His team has a much better record, and although his stats may be less eye-popping, this season he has made a greater impact on his team’s success.

Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports

These predictions would leave the Eastern Conference All-Stars as Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, James Harden, Jaylen Brown, Domantas Sabonis, Jayson Tatum, Zach Lavine, Bam Adebayo, and either Collin Sexton or Russell Westbrook.

“First Ones Out”

Other players to receive votes among Sideline Cue writers in the Eastern Conferene were Jerami Grant, Ben Simmons, Gordon Hayward, Malcolm Brogdon, Nikola Vucevic, Julius Randle, and Tobias Harris. These players may be considered the “First Ones Out”, as in players that are on the cusp of All-Star play this year.

Western Conference

Justin Tafoya/Getty Images

Starters (2 guards, 3 frontcourt)

Similar to the Eastern Conference front court starters, there is an almost unanimous vote among the writers predictions for the Western Conference front court starters. These players will likely be LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Nikola Jokić, all players that are leading their respective teams to excellent records and putting up MVP numbers.

The backcourt Western Conference players, also like the Eastern Conference, seems to be a two out of three selection between Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, and Luka Dončić. Let’s again look at a comparison between these three players.

Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Breakdown:

Stephen Curry: 27.7 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game in 20 games played. The Warriors have a team record of 11-9 and are currently in 7th place in the West.

Damian Lillard: 28.9 points, 7.2 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game in 19 games played. The Trailblazers have a team record of 10-9 and are currently in 8th place in the West.

Luka Dončić: 27.3 points, 9.4 assists, and 9.0 rebounds per game in 20 games played. The Mavericks have a team record of 8-13 and are currently in 13th place in the West.

All of these players will likely make the All-Star team, it is just a matter of which two of these will form the starting backcourt in the West. Based on this breakdown, Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard would be the two to pick. This is mostly based on the fact that their teams have been more successful this season, with both of their teams in early playoff contention.

Reserves (2 guards, 3 frontcourt, 2 wild card)

A few players received votes from all of the writers; Anthony Davis, Paul George, and Donovan Mitchell. These players, alongside Luka Dončić will fill four of the seven reserve spots in the Western Conference. This will leave one front court spot and two wild card spots.

Players to receive 4+ votes: Brandon Ingram and Devin Booker.

Brandon Ingram would fill the final front court spot and Devin Booker would fill the first wild card spot. This leaves one wild card spot, a spot that can be filled by any player, at any position. Among the writers, there are two players that received three votes each and would hypothetically battle for the last spot. These players are Rudy Gobert and Christian Wood, let’s take a look at their performance this season.

Carmen Mandato/Associated Press

Breakdown:

Rudy Gobert: 13.5 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game in 20 games played. The Jazz have a team record of 16-5 and are in 1st place in the West.

Christian Wood: 23.3 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game in 15 games played. The Rockets have a team record of 10-9 and are currently in 9th place in the West.

This is a tough decision between these two players, Rudy Gobert has a better team record and is more impactful on defense, but Christian Wood is a much more dynamic offensive player.

The final Sideline Cue writer’s predictions for the Western Conference would compile a team of Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Jokić, Luka Dončić, Donovan Mitchell, Paul George, Anthony Davis, Brandon Ingram, Devin Booker, and either Rudy Gobert or Christian Wood.

Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports

“First Ones Out”

Other players to receive at least one vote from the writers, and are then considered the “First Ones Out” in the West are Jamal Murray, Karl-Anthony Towns, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, John Wall, and Zion Williamson.

All stats taken from ESPN.com, NBA.com, or Basketball Reference unless otherwise stated.

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