With one-third of the NBA season already in the history books, we can start thinking about how the All-Star Weekend is going to look like and make our predictions accordingly.
Obviously, a lot of things can still happen and change our perceptions, and even injuries could prevent some players from making it to the All-Star Game as always.
However, judging by what we’ve seen out of the Western Conference so far, I think we’re more than ready to say who’s going to make and miss the cut:
Damian Lillard keeps playing at an All-Star level but doesn’t get enough recognition. Also, the fact that his Blazers have struggled all year doesn’t help his cause. Still, he’s definitely going to make the cut after averaging 26.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 1.0 steals, and 3.2 three-pointers per game on 44% shooting.
Devin Booker claimed that he’s done with not making the playoffs, and he’s surely playing like a man on a mission. Not only he’s scoring at a high clip, but he’s also doing it with Stephen Curry-ish efficiency. So far, he’s averaging 25.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 6.4 assists with 2.3 triples per game on 51/45/91 shooting.
Love him or hate him, you just can’t ignore the fact that Russell Westbrook is a perennial All-Star. He may not be efficient, but he’s still the primary facilitator from one of the most entertaining offenses in the league. Thus far, Westbrook is averaging 23.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game.
Paul George missed the start of the season but hasn’t missed a bit since coming back from his shoulder injury. He keeps proving that he’s one of the best two-way players in the league, and has perfectly embraced his role next to Kawhi Leonard. So far, he’s averaging 25.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.6 steals, and 4.1 three-pointers per game.
Andrew Wiggins was clearly upset about missing the cut for ESPN’s top 100 players. He’s played with a chip on his shoulder all year and has finally improved his horrid inefficiency. He’s proving why he was the first-overall pick with averages of 25.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 2.2 three-pointers per game on 46% shooting.
Karl-Anthony Towns wants to take the Timberwolves to the playoffs and he’s clearly taking every game like a game 7. He wants to prove his doubters wrong and is one of the most gifted scoring big men in the world right now. You can tell by his averages of 26.5 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 3.6 triples, 1.0 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game that he’ll be an All-Star.
Rudy Gobert is constantly snubbed from the big game, but this will be the year he’ll finally make the cut. The 2-time DPOY winner continues to alter shots with his presence and improve as a scorer, posting averages of 14.8 points, 13.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.8 blocks per game on a league-leading 67% from the floor.
Guard – Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic almost makes the All-Star Game during his rookie season, but he’s definitely going to be one of the most-voted players this year and for good reasons. He’s been on a tear to start the year and is leading the Dallas Mavericks to the 4th best record in the Western Conference.
Doncic already surpassed Michael Jordan for the longest streak averaging at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, and could become the youngest player to average a triple-double for a season with his averages of 29.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 3.0 triples, and 1.2 steals per game on 47/32/81 shooting.
Guard – James Harden
James Harden is almost a lock to win this year’s scoring title. He’s putting incredible numbers, and while some people may hate his style, you have to give him a lot of credit for blending the rules in his favor to destroy opposing defenses.
Harden is averaging a league-leading 38.5 points while going to the line 13.0 times a game. He’s also handing out 7.5 assists and grabbing 5.8 boards with 5.0 three-pointers and 1.9 steals per game. He’s been simply unstoppable this season.
Forward – Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard is taking things slow so far, but there’s no doubt his numbers are going to trend up once he’s back at full strength and stops sitting in the back end of back-to-backs. When healthy, he’s been the best player on the floor at all times.
Leonard is the most dominant two-way player in the league and is not even close. He may not talk much, but his game does all the talking for him. Thus far, he’s averaging 25.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.7 three-pointers, and 1.7 steals per game.
Forward – LeBron James
LeBron James is playing with a huge chip on his shoulder this season. He’s just determined to prove that he’s not washed and that he’s still one of the greatest players in the world and so far, he’s definitely made his point loud and clear.
LeBron is playing defense again and is filling the stat sheet on ways some thought he wouldn’t be able to do it anymore. Through 29 games, he’s averaging 25.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, a league-leading 10.6 assists, 2.2 three-pointers, and 1.2 steals per game on 50% from the floor.
Forward – Anthony Davis
Frank Vogel and LeBron James are making their case for Anthony Davis to be this year’s Defensive Player of the Year, but he could actually win the MVP as well, as he’s proved why the Lakers risked their entire future to get him from the Pelicans.
Davis has embraced his role as the Lakers’ alpha dog and is dominating every aspect of the game. So far, he’s averaging 27.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.4 steals, 2.6 blocks, and 1.1 three-pointers per game on 50/33/87 shooting.