All-Star voting has begun yet again, and the Utah Jazz are hoping to have some solid representation at All-Star weekend. You can vote daily for the Jazz players on the team website. Last season, Utah boasted three All-Stars, two of which also participated in the three-point contest.
What are the odds that we could see a repeat of that this season? Who is most likely to make the roster, and who might miss out?
Golden State's Stephen Curry and Brooklyn's Kevin Durant lead the Western and Eastern Conferences, respectively, in the first fan returns of NBA All-Star Voting presented by Tissot.— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) January 6, 2022
The next NBA All-Star fan voting update will be shared Thursday, Jan. 13. pic.twitter.com/B0kSITw4Sr
The first fan voting returns have been publicized, and as expected, both Gobert and Mitchell are significantly underrepresented in voting totals. As a reminder, the fan vote only applies to the All-Star rosters' starting lineups and only accounts for 50% of the voting weight, with current players and a media panel accounting for 25% each. The current NBA coaches then choose the reserves.
Rudy Gobert is having his best season yet. The two-time All-Star is poised to make his third selection to the team, and his odds look good. He'll be competing against other Western Conference frontcourt players to get a spot on the team, and he's a clear top candidate. One could make an argument that Gobert should get a starting spot, although, with the way the voting works and Gobert's lack of popularity among both players and fans league-wide, he almost certainly won't start. Top candidates he'll be competing against include: Nikola Jokic, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Draymond Green, DeAndre Ayton, and Karl-Anthony Towns.
It's a near certainty that both James and Jokic will be in the starting lineup. That leaves one starting spot, three bench spots, and two wildcard bench spots for Gobert. Early consensus among NBA pundits seems to be that the final starting spot belongs to either Rudy Gobert or Draymond Green. Due to market size and overall popularity, Green appears likely to take that spot. Gobert will then be first in line as a reserve.
Prediction: All-Star reserve
Donovan Mitchell is looking to make his third straight All-Star appearance, and it seems very likely that he will. The question is, will he start? Mitchell faces tough competition in the Western Conference backcourt. Stephen Curry will certainly take one of the starting spots, but the second will be a battle between Mitchell, Chris Paul, Ja Morant, and Devin Booker. Luka Doncic and Damian Lillard are superstars but have had rough seasons and have missed significant time due to injury, so I doubt either of them gets a starting spot this season. This will be a close battle, but I think the fan vote will be too much to overcome for Mitchell, even if he does well in both the player and media votes. My prediction is that Ja Morant will start, and Mitchell will be one of the reserves. Ultimately, there are a lot of deserving players for that spot, so if that's the case, it won't be a travesty.
Prediction: All-Star reserve
Utah's floor general, Mike Conley, made his first All-Star team last season. With his domination of advanced statistics and Utah's domination of the league, it was hard to keep him off the team. This season, he's seen a slight dip in his stats, so while they're still excellent, they aren't at the elite level they were last season. As listed before, there are a lot of deserving backcourt players in the West, so Conley would have to be very popular among the coaches to get his second appearance in the game. There are only six possible spots for Western Conference guards to occupy, so he'd have to be top six in a list that includes; Curry, Mitchell, Paul, Morant, Booker, Doncic, Lillard, and DeJounte Murray. This year he'll likely be outside looking in. If a couple of All-Stars sit out the game due to injury, he may have a chance.
Prediction: No All-Star selection, possible injury replacement.
Bojan Bogdanovic isn't on many people's radars as a potential All-Star, and that fact alone likely means he doesn't have much of a shot at making it, but I think he deserves mention in this discussion. He's in the midst of the most efficient scoring season of his career and improving in other areas as well. In the case of injuries, I hope the league will look at Bogdanovic and his All-Star case.
Prediction: No All-Star selection
My All-Star Picks
Here I'll put my All-Star picks. This isn't my prediction of who will make it; this is who would be in if it were only up to me.
(B = Backcourt, F = Frontcourt, WC = Wildcard)
Western Conference starters:
- (B) Stephen Curry
- (B) Donovan Mitchell
- (F) Nikola Jokic
- (F) LeBron James
- (F) Rudy Gobert
Western Conference reserves:
- (B) Ja Morant
- (B) Chris Paul
- (F) Draymond Green
- (F) Karl-Anthony Towns
- (F) DeAndre Ayton
- (WC) Luka Doncic
- (WC) Devin Booker
Honorable mentions/Injury replacement players: Damian Lillard, Mike Conley, Kristaps Porzingis, Andrew Wiggins, Jaren Jackson Jr., Bojan Bogdanovic.
Eastern Conference starters:
- (B) Trae Young
- (B) Fred VanVleet
- (F) DeMar DeRozan
- (F) Kevin Durant
- (F) Giannis Antetokounmpo
Eastern Conference reserves:
- (B) James Harden
- (B) Zach LaVine
- (F) Jarrett Allen
- (F) Jimmy Butler
- (F) Joel Embiid
- (WC) Darius Garland
- (WC) Jrue Holiday
Honorable mentions/Injury replacement players: Miles Bridges, Lamelo Ball, Khris Middleton, Tobias Harris, John Collins.