NBA has 77 players who look like they deserve to be All-Stars

Dan Feldman
·18 min read

Nets forward Kevin Durant should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (29.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Nets guard James Harden should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (24.5 points and 11.3 assists) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Nets guard Kyrie Irving should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (28.3 points, 5.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Wizards guard Bradley Beal should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (32.8 points per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

76ers center Joel Embiid should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (29.7 points and 1.2 blocks per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (28.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Bulls guard Zach LaVine should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (28.5 points per game, 61.2 effective field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Knicks big Julius Randle should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (23.2 points, 10.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Hawks guard Trae Young should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (26.5 points and 9.3 assists per game, 42.9 field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (21.6 points, 6.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game, 39.5% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Pacers big Domantas Sabonis should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (21.5 points, 11.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Pacers center Myles Turner should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (13.2 points and 3.5 blocks per game, 65.4% on 2-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Pistons forward Jerami Grant should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (23.8 points and 1.2 blocks per game, 88.3% on free throws) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Heat big Bam Adebayo should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (19.9 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Heat wing Jimmy Butler should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (19.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game, 85.8% on free throws) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Magic center Nikola Vucevic should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (23.4 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, 41.4% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (25.8, 7.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Celtics wing Jaylen Brown should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (25.9 points and 1.2 steals per game, 56.8 effective field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

76ers guard Ben Simmons should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (15.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 0.8 blocks per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Wizards guard Russell Westbrook should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (18.9 points, 9.5 assists, 9.4 rebounds per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

76ers forward Tobias Harris should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (20.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, 61.5 true shooting percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (22.8 points and 4.3 assists per game, 50.5% on 2-pointers, 40.7% on 3-pointers, 80.5% on free throws) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Hornets forward Gordon Hayward should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (22.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game, 59.8 true shooting percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Raptors guard Fred VanVleet should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (20.4 points and 6.6 assists per game, 46.2% on 2-pointers, 37.7% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (17.7 points and 6.4 assists per game, 55.6 effective field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Bucks wing Khris Middleton should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (20.3 points and 5.8 assists per game, 59.3 effective field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Bucks guard Jrue Holiday should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (16.4 points and 5.4 assists per game, 57.4 effective field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (12.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, 65.1% on 2-pointers, 75.8% on free throws) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Hawks big John Collins should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (18.2 points, 60.0 effective field-goal percentage, 86.7 on free throws) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Hawks center Clint Capela should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (14.3 points, 14.0 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game, 57.9 field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (17.2 points per game, 60.9% on 2-pointers, 36.6% on 3-pointers, 87.7% on free throws) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Cavaliers center Andre Drummond should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (17.4 points and 13.5 rebounds per game, 15.8 assist percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (19.1 points per game, 65.5% on 2-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Hornets guard Terry Rozier should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (20.6 points and 1.3 steals per game, 60.2 effective field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Raptors forward Pascal Siakam should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (20.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 and 0.6 blocks per game, 79.7% on free throws) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Raptors big Chris Boucher should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (13.6 points, 2.1 blocks and 1.6 3-pointers per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Raptors wing OG Anunoby should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (14.6 points, 2.0 steals and 60.8 effective field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Hornets guard LaMelo Ball should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (14.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game, 49.5% on 2-pointers, 35.4% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Nets wing Joe Harris should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (14.9 points per game, 68.8 true shooting percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Wizards center Thomas Bryant should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (14.3 points per game, 70.4 true shooting percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Nets center DeAndre Jordan should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (7.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, 78.8 field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Bucks big Bobby Portis should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (11.8 points and 0.9 steals per game, 57.9% on 2-pointers, 48.4% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Lakers forward LeBron James should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (25.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (30.0 points per game, 61.4 effective field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (29.8 points and 7.7 assists per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (29.1 points and 9.4 assists per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (27.4 points, 11.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (26.7 points, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (22.5 points, 6.5 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (14.2 points and 13.4 rebounds per game, 64.0 field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Jazz guard Mike Conley should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (16.5 points, 5.8 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 56.0 effective field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Clippers wing Paul George should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (24.4 points per game, 66.2 true shooting percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Grizzlies guard Ja Morant should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (18.8 points, 8.3 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, 51.6% on 2-pointers, 25.0% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Pelicans big Zion Williamson should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (25.0 points per game, 62.5 effective field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (23.6 points, 4.8 assists and 0.9 blocks per game, 40.0% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Kings guard De'Aaron Fox should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (23.2 points per game and 6.8 assists per game, 52.8 effective field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Lakers big Anthony Davis should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (22.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.8 blocks per game, 57.5% on 2-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Spurs wing DeMar DeRozan should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (19.8 points, 6.9 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game, 60.3 true shooting percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.)

Suns guard Chris Paul should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (17.2 points and 8.2 assists per game, 53.9% on 2-pointers, 36.9% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Suns guard Devin Booker should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (24.4 points and 4.4 assists per game, 55.6% on 2-pointers, 35.3% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Rockets big Christian Wood should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (22.0 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, 61.8 effective field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Thunder big Al Horford should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (14.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.8 blocks per game, 50.0% on 2-pointers, 39.0% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (16.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, 60.4 effective field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (18.2 points per game, 38.2% on 3-pointers, 95.8% on free throws) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Lakers big Montrezl Harrell should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (13.3 points per game, 64.6 field-goal percentage, 73.8 free-throw percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (19.3 points, 5.1 assists and 0.5 blocks per game, 44.9% on 2-pointers, 39.9% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (26.7 points per game, 59.4 effective field-goal percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Suns forward Mikal Bridges should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (14.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 per game, 60.4% on 2-pointers 39.8% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Suns center Deandre Ayton should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (13.9 points, 12.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, 59.7 effective field-goal percentage, 72.1% on free throws) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Mavericks big Kristaps Porzingis should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (20.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, 54.1 effective field-goal percentage, 85.5% on free throws) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Rockets guard John Wall should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (20.4 points, 6.3 assists and 0.7 blocks per game, 35.1% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Rockets guard Eric Gordon should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (18.7 points, 61.6% on 2-pointers, 35.1% on 3-pointers, 84.8% on free throws) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (13.7, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per game, 58.7% on 2-pointers, 37.3% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Jazz forward Joe Ingles should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (11.8 points per game, 69.4 true shooting percentage) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (21.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, 42.9% on 3-pointers) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (20.9 and 4.9 rebounds per game, 51.5% on 2-pointers, 39.8% on 3-pointers, 84.3% on free throws) over a full season has been an All-Star.

Kings forward Harrison Barnes should obviously be an All-Star this year. Everyone with his stats (15.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, 53.9% on 2-pointers, 38.8% on 3-pointers, 84.3% on free throws) over a full season has been an All-Star.

That’s 77 players – 42 in the East, 35 in the West.

Except the NBA has just 24 All-Star slots, 12 per conference.

Scratch some players from the above list for whatever reason. Add a few injury replacements. But those minor adjustments won’t change the picture:

The NBA has a massive surplus of players who look like All-Stars this season.

Why?

For one, the NBA has kept All-Star rosters at just 12 players even as the league expands.

That means there are just 0.8 All-Star slots per NBA team. That was once as high as 2.75.

It’s especially silly to keep All-Star rosters at 12 considering active rosters have been 13 players for several years (and are up to 15 this year).

But – with the exception of 2019 – that same problem has existed since the Raptors and Grizzlies entered the NBA two-and-a-half decades ago

What makes this year so exceptional?

The NBA is having an offensive explosion and a pace uptick.

Teams are averaging 112.2 points per game – the highest mark since the early 70s. The number of possessions per 48 minutes is the third-highest in the last 30 years (trailing only the last two seasons). At a faster pace, players have more opportunities to accumulate counting statistics. Quicker play also tends to benefit offenses, as defenses set less often. League-wide points per possession – 1.119, per Basketball-Reference – is the highest ever.

Four reasons stand out for the stylistic shift:

  • Players are more skilled, especially as shooters.

  • Offensive strategy is more optimal, particularly realizing the value of 3-pointers.

  • Players are better-conditioned, allowing them to play at a faster pace.

  • Rules changes have limited physicality of defenders.

The coronavirus pandemic might have exacerbated the situation. Perhaps, players are less committed to defending hard with everything else happening. Who hasn’t let something slip in These Times?

But the game has been trending this direction for years. Coronavirus is a minor factor, if at all.

For the moment, it’s less important understanding why the NBA has changed than understanding that the NBA has changed.

Players like Julius Randle and Zach LaVine – to pick on a couple borderline All-Star candidates – are posting historic numbers. But they aren’t competing against less-efficient players from years past for 2021 All-Star selection. Randle and LaVine are competing against other players who are also playing in this season’s unprecedented offensive environment.

All-Star is an annual, relative honor. That’s the only reasonable way to view it.

Otherwise, you’ll end up with 77 players who look deserving of All-Star status, and that’s obviously absurd.

NBA has 77 players who look like they deserve to be All-Stars originally appeared on NBCSports.com