2021 NBA All-Star Game Picks

The NBA will announce the starters of the 2021 NBA All-Star Game on Friday, a game in which most NBA stars have said they don’t want to play in due to, you know, a pandemic. As much as we absolutely need another round of NBA players playing horse in their driveways and backyard courts, the All-Star announcements (and not an actual game you greedy bastards) come at a time when most basketball fans need a break from what’s actually going on in the real world. This season is different from most for many reasons and one of them is that there are about 50 players who actually deserve to be named an All-Star this year. Unexpected youngsters like Shai Gilgious-Alexander, Collin Sexton, and Jerami Grant are having breakout season while veterans including DeMar DeRozan, Julius Randle, Andre Drummond, and even John Wall are having a career renaissance and are leading teams most thought were going to be at the bottom of the standings to playoff contention. Some selections were simple, some were excruciating, without further ado here are my picks for the 2021 NBA All-Star teams.

Eastern Conference Starters

Guard: Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

Guard: Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

Frontcourt: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

Frontcourt: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Frontcourt: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

The frontcourt trio in the East is probably the easiest choice to make this season. Durant, Embiid, and Giannis are all having remarkable seasons and sit respectively somewhere in the top 10 of the MVP conversation. Durant is playing just as well if not slightly better than ever in his career, even after being sidelined for 18 months with what could have been a career ending Achilles injury. KD is averaging 29 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game on a near 50/40/90 split (52.4/43.4/86.9) for the third place Nets. At 32 Durant could realistically win his second career MVP award while leading the Nets super team to the third championship of his career. Embiid might be the current odds on favorite to win the MVP (currently third according to FanDuel) and has led the Sixers to the best record in the East. Giannis is still Giannis and while he won’t win a third straight MVP, he is still one of the best players in the league and will be an absolute force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. The guard selections were much harder to make. I went will Beal simply because he’s been the best offensive guard in the league and leads the NBA in scoring at 32.9 points per game. At the second guard position I selected Jaylen Brown as a starter over Kyrie Irving and James Harden because Brown has been playing at a high level on both sides of the floor for the entire season. Brown is up to 26 points per game with 5.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists. Tatum is still the leader and most talented player on the Celtics but Jaylen Brown deserves a lot of credit and is a sneaky MVP dark horse.

Eastern Conference Reserves

Guard: Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

Guard: Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets

Frontcourt: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Frontcourt: Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

Frontcourt: Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers

Wild Card: James Harden, Brooklyn Nets

Wild Card: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers

Of the reserves Tatum, Middleton, Kyrie, and Harden are mortal locks to make the team. Tatum is having the best season of his young career averaging 25.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, and a career high 4.5 assists per game for a pretty good Celtics team. Middleton is one of the best two way players in the NBA and is in serious contention for a 50/40/90 season (51/44.4/90) and is going to make his third straight All-Star team. Since Kyrie came back from his mental health break he’s been one of the best offensive players in the league. In the last 13 games he’s averaging 28.8 points on 55 percent shooting. Kyrie’s new teammate James Harden has been the one of the best playmakers in the NBA since he got traded and started giving a shit in Brooklyn. That leaves three open slots that about 15 players have a chance to fill. I picked Zach LaVine, Domantas Sabonis, and Ben Simmons to round out the roster. LaVine is an offensive monster averaging 28.5 points per game and the Bulls are officially back so he has to be an All-Star. Maybe Adam Silver can coax him into another dunk contest if he actually makes the team. I had to find a way to get a Pacer in there since they’re one of the few Eastern Conference teams that aren’t pretty bad. It came down to Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon with Sabonis being the easy choice to make back to back All-Star games. Sabonis has become a great playmaker from the post averaging a career high 5.7 assists per game. I reserved the last wild card spot for someone who can actually play defense and that person is undoubtedly Ben Simmons. Simmons leads the league in defensive box plus minus and averages a combined 2.5 blocks and steals per game. The former top pick is arguably the best wing defender in the league and will give the East their best chance to lock down LeBron, Curry, and Lillard. Guys who just missed the roster include: Bam Adebayo, Julius Randle, Trae Young, Nikola Vucevic, and Gordon Hayward.

Western Conference Starters

Guard: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors

Guard: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

Frontcourt: LeBron James, Los Angeles

Frontcourt: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers

Frontcourt: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

Four of the five starting spots in the West are no-brainers. LeBron, Kawhi, and Jokic in the front court are miles ahead of any other forwards in the West, and Steph Curry is playing like his unanimous MVP self even though it’s for a middling team. LeBron is the MVP of the league so far and Jokic isn’t terribly far behind while Kawhi is always the biggest superstar who has to exert the least effort in order to take over a game. The second guard spot is where you can go a few different ways. There is a very substantial case to be made for Luka Doncic starting in place of Damian Lillard. Doncic is nearly averaging a triple double and is arguably the most impactful player for any one team. I chose Lillard as the starter because his play has vaulted the Blazers into a top five seed in the West, mostly without C.J. McCollum, and is every bit the offensive threat that Luka is, maybe minus a little playmaking ability. I want to see Steph and Dame just bomb logo threes during a game that absolutely should not actually take place.

Western Conference Reserves

Guard: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Guard: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz

Frontcourt: Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Frontcourt: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Frontcourt: Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers

Wild Card: Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

Wild Card: Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns

Like the East, the West reserves have several complete locks to make the team including: Luka, Anthony Davis, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Paul George. Luka arguably should be a starter ahead of Lillard. The Slovenian superstar is arguably the most important offensive player in the game averaging 29.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 9.4 assists per game. Donovan Mitchell is the leader of the best team in the league and his teammate Rudy Gobert is in line to win his third DPOY award this season for the Jazz. Paul George has missed the last seven games with a foot injury and should be back before the All-Star break. The same can’t be said for Davis who strained his achilles and will likely be sidelined for a few weeks. There’s a good chance that Davis gets picked for the team and then someone else takes his spot as an injury replacement. That leaves two wild-card spots open in the loaded West. I decided to pick Zion Williamson only because he’s one of the most exciting players in the NBA. Contrary to what J.E. Skeets wants you to think, Zion is a walking highlight, especially since Stan Van Gundy figured out how to properly use him as a driver and a cutter from the wing. Zion is averaging 25 points per game and dunking all over the league in his second season and will be one of the most exciting All-Star players for the next decade and a half. The last spot is reserved for the point god Chris Paul. CP3 is the reason the Suns are actually good this season and deserves to make his 11th and what might end up being his last All-Star game. The snubs in the West include: Mike Conley, Devin Booker, De’Aaron Fox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, DeMar DeRozan, and Christian Wood.

My picks for NBA All-Star reserves

The starters for the 67th NBA All-Star game were announced earlier this month. LeBron James lead the voting in the East. He’s joined by Kyrie Irving, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and DeMar DeRozen who were voted in as starters. In the West, Steph Curry lead the voting and is joined by fellow starters Kevin Durant, James Harden, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. In a change of format James and Curry will captain each team, and draft their team from the full all-star pool of players. The reserves will be announced on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eastern on TNT. Here are the seven players from each conference that I think should make the all-star team as reserves this season.


Eastern Conference Reserves

Backcourt: Bradley Beal, Shooting Guard, Washington Wizards

In his sixth season, Bradley Beal should finally be making his all-star debut. He’s averaging career highs in points (23.6), rebounds (4.3), and assists (3.7). He should have been and all-star last year, but should be a lock for the team this year.

Backcourt: Victor Oladipo, Shooting Guard, Indiana Pacers

Who would have thought that we’d be talking about Oladipo as an all-star when he was traded for Paul George in the off-season? He’s having a career year averaging 24,2 points, more than six more points than he’s ever averaged in a season.

Frontcourt: Kristaps Porzingis, Power Forward, New York Knicks

Some argue that the Unicorn should be a starter instead of Embiid. Porzingis has shown solid improvement every season in his three years in New York and is leading the league in blocks with 2.3 a game.

Frontcourt: Kevin Love, Power Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers

Kevin Love is having another good season for the Cavs. While his numbers have taken a dip this season from last year, he’s still one of the best forwards in the East and deserving of his fifth all-star selection this year.

Frontcourt: Andre Drummond, Center, Detroit Pistons

Even though the Pistons are currently on the outside of the playoff picture, Drummond should make his second career all-star appearance. He’s still a monster on the boards, leading the league in rebounding with 15 a game, and shooting a remarkable (for him) 63% from the free-throw line.

Wildcard: Kyle Lowry, Point Guard, Toronto Raptors

Lowry’s scoring is down this year (averaging just 17 points a game) but he’s helped lead the Raptors to the third best record in the league. He should join teammate DeMar DeRozen on the roster once again.

Wildcard: John Wall, Point Guard, Washington Wizards

There are others who some think might deserve the nod over Wall, but when you average 19 points and nine assists on a solid playoff team you get put ahead of the other contenders. I think Wall earns a spot for the fifth consecutive season.

Snubs: Hassan Whiteside, Al Horford, Ben Simmons, Goran Dragic


Western Conference Reserves

Backcourt: Russell Westbrook, Point Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder

Westbrook is a lock to make this year’s team. while he may not be the MVP he was last season, he’s still putting up huge numbers to lead the Thunder to solid contention for a top four seed in the West.

Backcourt: Jimmy Butler, Shooting Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves

After a shaky start to his Timberwolves career, Butler has turned himself into a legitimate MVP candidate while turning the Wolves into a real contender in the West behind Houston and Golden State.

Frontcourt: Karl-Anthony Towns, Center, Minnesota Timberwolves

KAT probably should have made his all-star debut last year, but the Wolves were so bad he didn’t warrant consideration. This year is different as he’s still averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds and the Wolves are in third place in the West.

Frontcourt: LaMarcus Aldridge, Power Forward, San Antonio Spurs

Aldridge has held down the fort for the Spurs this season while Kawhi Leonard has only played in nine games this season. Aldridge should be a lock to get back to the game after missing out last year.

Frontcourt: Paul George, Small Forward, Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder maybe didn’t fleece the Pacers as much as we thought in the Paul George trade, but George has still been great for the Thunder. He’s second in the league in steals, and still scoring 20 points a game in a line-up that also features Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony.

Wildcard: Damian Lillard, Point Guard, Portland Trail Blazers

Lillard has been snubbed the last two years but I think he gets in this time. Once again he’s proven he’s one of the most dynamic players in the game, and has the Trail Blazers in the playoffs right now. I don’t think he can handle being left out for a third straight year, but I don’t think he’ll have to worry about it.

Wildcard: Chris Paul, Point Guard, Houston Rockets

My last entry is Chris Paul. I know he’s missed 19 games this season, but when he’s played he’s just been so good. The Rockets have the second best record in the league and deserve to have two players represent Houston.

Snubs: Klay Thompson, CJ McCollum, Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell