by Julian Spivey
NBA All-Star voting has been underway for about two weeks now on NBA.com and the NBA app allowing fans a chance to help get their favorite players and the league’s best players into the starting lineup of the midseason celebration, which is returning to the classic Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format in 2024.
Fans may vote once daily between now and Saturday, Jan. 20 but there are a few days during the vote that will count for three times as many votes. The remaining days where your vote will count for three times the number are Friday, Jan. 5, Friday, Jan. 12, Monday, Jan. 15 and Friday, Jan. 19.
The starters for the 73rd annual NBA All-Star game will be revealed on TNT on Thursday, Jan. 25 during tip-off of that night’s national broadcast. The 2024 All-Star Game will be held on Sunday, February 18 at 7 p.m. from Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the home of the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis. That game will be broadcast on TNT.
I recently filled out my first ballot for the 2024 NBA All-Star Game and will now reveal my selections.
Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
The NBA’s reigning MVP Joel Embiid is an obvious pick as he may very well be working on his second consecutive MVP award. Embiid is currently leading the league with 34.8 points per game and is fifth in the league with 11.8 rebounds per game. Embiid’s 76ers are currently third in the East with a 23-10 record and are three games behind the Boston Celtics for first place.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
Former two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is once again putting up massive numbers for the Milwaukee Bucks, whom he’s helped to lead to a 24-10 record thus far to rank second in the East, 2.5 games behind the Celtics. Antetokounmpo’s 30.9 points per game are fourth in the league and his sixth in the league in rebounding with 11.3 per game.
Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
The Boston Celtics have pretty much been the best team in the Eastern Conference all season thus far and have two players who are certain to be All-Stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Tatum has the better overall numbers this season, as is usual, with 27 points per game (10th in the league) and 8.5 rebounds but the way he consistently falls asleep in the postseason for his team has kind of led to me not believing in him or respecting him so I’ll give my vote to his teammate Jaylen Brown, who is averaging 22.7 points per game this season with 5.1 rebounds per game and 3.6 assists per game. Admittedly, Tatum deserves the spot more based on his numbers, but this is an exhibition game created solely for the pleasure of the fans and this fan would rather see Brown get this starting nod.
If you’re looking at overall numbers for your All-Star ballot then your best option of any of the backcourt players in the East is Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young with his 28.2 points per game and 11.3 assists per game. But if you look at the standings and see the Hawks are currently in 10th place maybe you’d rather give a starting nod to someone on a winning team at the moment. Young can be a reserve.
Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers)
One of the league’s breakout players this season has been Indiana Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton, who leads the league with 12.7 assists per game while also scoring 24.7 points per game. He led the Pacers to the championship game of the in-season tournament if that means anything to you and it would also be terrific fan service for Pacers fans to have one of their own in the East starting lineup for the midseason celebration – so Haliburton is on my ballot.
There are so many good options for starting backcourt in the East right now with Young, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell and Jalen Brunson that not only are really good players going to miss out on the starting lineup but most likely the All-Star game altogether.
Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia 76ers)
I was tempted to vote for Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers here because his numbers are both very good and similar to those of Maxey and it would’ve made for five different starters from five different teams, which is always nice for the fans of those respective teams, but I feel like Maxey has been such a surprising and standout option for the 76ers that he deserved this opportunity a bit more. After all, Maxey has never made an All-Star team and Mitchell has made a handful. Maxey is averaging 25.9 points per game this season with 6.4 assists per game.
LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
You honestly didn’t think he wasn’t going to be here, did you? It’s amazing the kind of impact the man, who recently turned 39 years old, is still having on the league. He’s still in the top 20 in scoring with 25.4 points per game, he’s top 10 in assists per game at 7.4 and manages 7.4 rebounds per game, which is more than potential All-Star caliber centers in the league like Kristaps Porzingis and Myles Turner. Yes, the Lakers have been quite the enigma this season looking at times like the best in the league by winning the in-season tournament with a perfect record and then also looking like a team that might not make the postseason with their current record of 17-17 having them as the 10th place team in the West but James is still the face of the game and must be front-and-center at the All-Star game.
Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
Many people, including myself, view Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic as the current No. 1 player in the league and with him averaging 25.7 points per game (14th in the league), while also being top five in the game in rebounding (12.3) and assists (9.1) it’s hard to pick against him. Jokic is also the best player on the league’s reigning champion and has the team currently only one game behind the surprising Minnesota Timberwolves as the best team in the West. He’s a lock to start.
Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns)
The Phoenix Suns have undoubtedly been a disappointment this season, especially given the fact that they should’ve been considered the favorite to win the Western Conference, but some injury issues have led to the team’s big three (Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal) almost spending no time on the court together. Durant has been Phoenix’s constant this season averaging 29.9 points per game (6th in the league), along with 6.3 rebounds per game and 6 assists per game.
Stephen Curry is my favorite player in the NBA and a huge reason for my getting back into the game I had faded away a bit from during my college years and statistically, he’s having a good season – leading the league in three-pointers made per game and in the top-10 in scoring but I have to be a bit more objective here. Curry can come off the bench this time.
Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
Luka Doncic is the leading scorer in the Western Conference thus far this season (second in the NBA) with 33.4 points per game and he’s third in the league in assists with 9.4 per game. He also pulls down 8.3 rebounds per game – pretty impressive for a point guard. His team is also three games better at this point than Curry’s so it makes it a slightly easier pick.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder)
So, most fans should know the name Shai Gilgeous-Alexander by now but because he plays in a small market like Oklahoma City and Thunder haven’t been all that great for most of his tenure in the league thus far maybe some haven’t gotten to know him just yet. But he’s led his Thunder team to the second-best record at the moment in the West at 23-10 and is averaging 31.4 points per game, which is third in the league. He’s also averaging 6.4 assists per game and 5.9 rebounds per game. He might not have the star power to get a starting spot over say Stephen Curry just yet but he certainly deserves a spot in the West’s starting five.