Almost every season, there are a number of new players who are selected to the All-Star team for the first time in their careers.
Who will those players be this season?
With the regular season around the corner, our NBA.com Staff predicts which players will be first-time All-Stars in 2019-20.
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): I think Pascal Siakam will be an All-Star for the first time in his career this season.
Siakam came close to making the All-Star team last season as the second and sometimes third option on the Raptors. Now that he's clearly the No. 1 option, he shouldn't have a problem putting together the numbers you'd expect to see from an All-Star - something along the lines of 20 points, eight rebounds and three or four assists per game - on a Toronto team that should have a winning record by the time voting rolls around.
Furthermore, the Eastern Conference saw a couple of stars move to the Western Conference this offseason in Kawhi Leonard and D'Angelo Russell. There's also a few other spots up for grabs, with Victor Oladipo unlikely to return from injury in time for All-Star consideration and Kyle Lowry and Khris Middleton potentially not having the seasons they did last year.
Siakam won't be the only rising star gunning for one of those spots - Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls and Trae Young or John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks are three other options - but to me, he has the clearest path.
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): I think Donovan Mitchell will earn the nod for the first time this season.
It's Year 3 of his career and he's gradually progressed to this point - there was plenty of conversation surrounding whether or not he should have earned an All-Star selection in 2019, and it was a compelling argument.
This upcoming season, with Mike Conley as his backcourt mate, Mitchell should again make another leap in his development to build upon already impressive numbers in the early stages in his career. It doesn't necessarily have to be a spike in production, either, as an increase in efficiency would suffice.
That, and the team success should be there. This Jazz team is by far the best he's played on in his young career, and he has an opportunity to prove himself to be the best player on it, or at least the player with the most star power.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): This isn't much of a hot take, but I think Luka Doncic will be an All-Star for the first time this season.
The rookie sensation nearly made the All-Star Game last year after posting ridiculously impressive numbers for a first-year player. Doncic averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game and he didn't have that much help around him. Had the Dallas Mavericks been a playoff team around the time of the All-Star voting, I think Doncic would have made his All-Star debut last season.
So with that being said, I don't see how Doncic wouldn't make the All-Star Game this season. With Kristaps Porzingis by his side, he'll have much less attention on him from opposing defences. If he was scoring 21 points per game as a rookie, I don't see that number going south as a second-year player who's more accustomed to the speed of the NBA. His assist numbers will likely increase, too.
I don't even think the Mavericks need to be a playoff team this time around, either. You can lock in a spot for Doncic on the Western Conference All-Stars as long as his numbers are at or around what they were in his Rookie of the Year campaign.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): I'm going with Donovan Mitchell here. The Jazz should have one of the better records in the Western Conference by the All-Star break if all goes to plan for Utah.
If they have one of the best records in the West, it likely means Mitchell is playing at an All-Star level. His numbers don't even have to skyrocket - the 23.8 points, 4.2 assists and 4.1 rebounds he averaged last season should be enough to get him the nod.
The only thing that will stop him is injury or Rudy Gobert making it before him, but I think Mitchell has garnered enough respect around the league and will break through to All-Star level this season.
Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13): LOL.
Two of you picked a Jazz player, but NOT Rudy Gobert. I won't stand for the disrespect that continues to be flung in the direction of The Stifle Tower.
This is the year that Rudy Gobert finally gets his proper due.
The two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year also just happens to be coming off a FIBA World Cup in which he absolutely dumptrucked Team USA on both ends of the floor, reducing fellow potential first-time All-Star Myles Turner into a shell of himself.
He's the single most dominant defensive player in the league that is essentially a defensive system unto himself, much likes James Harden or Stephen Curry are on the offensive end of the floor. All of those preseason player rankings that everyone loves so much?
- NBA.com pegged Gobert 12th, 11 spots ahead of Donovan Mitchell
- Sports Illustrated slotted Gobert 14th, 15 spots ahead of Mitchell
- ESPN ranked Gobert 14th, six spots ahead of Mitchell
Gobert isn't as fun as Karl-Anthony Towns or Anthony Davis or Joel Embiid or Nikola Jokic. He doesn't take guys off the dribble. He doesn't fire off 3s. He doesn't have this well-defined offensive game. But he's immensely valuable and not just as a rim protector. Gobert led the NBA in dunks and field goal percentage last season and even if he's largely the beneficiary of others attacking the seams to either finish off lobs or clean up misses, that's an important skill!
The Jazz are going to be really good. And it SHOULD be impossible to deny Gobert a ticket to the 2020 All-Star Game.
Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane): Trae Young says he has a chance to be an All-Star this season ... and I believe him.
Young has the benefit of playing in the Eastern Conference, making his path to an All-Star selection a little easier. And after his sizzling rookie campaign, the Hawks point guard looks set for more of the same in Year 2.
In 23 games after the All-Star break last season, Young averaged 24.7 points and 9.2 assists per game. If he can produce similar numbers on a Hawks team that has their sights set on competing for the eighth seed, sneaking into the All-Star Game might not be that far fetched.
Winning will be the biggest factor standing in his way. Putting up numbers on a bad team won't be enough to get him to Chicago, but if the Hawks get off to a strong start, Young's play will be a big reason why and the All-Star chatter is sure to follow.
Yash Matange (@yashmatange2694): I have one of these three Indiana Pacers making their first All-Star Game: Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon or Domantas Sabonis.
The Pacers are almost certainly going to be among the top four teams in the East. With a respectable number of wins by the cut-off date in a weaker Eastern Conference and no Victor Oladipo, who could return by December at the earliest, the Pacers have a chance to field a first-time All-Star, possibly two.
None of these three might be superstars but they are vital to the Pacers' performance in the 2019-20 campaign.
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