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2022 Eastern Conference All-Stars So Far: Zach LaVine And DeMar DeRozan Join Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant And Giannis Antetokounmpo

2022 Eastern Conference All-Stars So Far: Zach LaVine And DeMar DeRozan Join Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant And Giannis Antetokounmpo

The NBA season is about a fourth of the way completed. For some, it might feel too early to start thinking about the league’s rundown of All-Stars. However, it’s never too early to start thinking about the best players in the league right now. The All-Star Game is scheduled for Sunday, February 20, 2022, so there is plenty of time for some players to fall or be added to this list.

If the All-Star Game was tomorrow, there is a lineup that can be displayed. Some teams such as the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards are making a splash in the standings. With some names old and others new, these are the Eastern Conference All-Stars so far.


Starters


Zach LaVine

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Stats: 25.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.2 BPG

The Chicago Bulls are contenders in the Eastern Conference for the first time in five years. After getting snubbed from his first All-Star appearance in 2020, LaVine has risen to the top of the league’s best players. Barring any injuries, LaVine is poised to make his second straight All-Star appearance this season.

LaVine is second among all shooting guards in player efficiency rating (PER). He is second in points per game, as well as third in field goal percentage, capitalizing on 48.7% of his shots this season. Without LaVine, the Bulls would not be the same offense, even with DeMar DeRozan. LaVine easily deserves to be a starter this season after barely playing last season.


DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan

Stats: 25.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.4 BPG

Among small forwards, DeRozan is one of the best, which is why some believe he could be a top-5 finisher in the MVP voting. DeRozan is second in PER, third in assists and sixth in field-goal percentage among all small forwards. DeRozan is shooting 48.9% from the field. The combination of LaVine and DeRozan is coming for over 50 points per game, while DeRozan is also facilitating at a high rate as well.

His scoring is the best among all small forwards in the league. His 25.9 points per game lead all players to the position. Many called this signing by the Bulls the worst pickup of the offseason. Many people are eating their words now.


Jimmy Butler

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Stats: 23.6 PGP, 5.8 RPG, 5.3 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG

The only player that DeRozan is trailing in PER is Jimmy Butler, another potential MVP candidate this season. Butler is leading all small forwards in assists and steals. After leading the league in steals last season, Butler is in contention to lead the league in steals a second straight year.

Butler is shooting 51.9%, which is second among small forwards in field goal percentage. Given that Butler is shooting at a high volume, this is incredibly impressive. Butler has the stats to prove he deserves to be a starter, while the Heat is in contention for the No. 1 seed in the East too.


Kevin Durant

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Stats: 28.6 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 5.4 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG

Durant is a frontrunner to win the MVP, so naturally, he deserves to be a starter. Durant leads the league in scoring, not just all-power forwards. He is also second in PER and is third in assists. The assist total is even more impressive because of the void Kyrie Irving left the team when he stopped playing. Not only is Durant scoring at high volumes, but he is facilitating at a high rate as well.

Durant is shooting 54.8% from the field, as well as 41.1% from the three-point range. Durant is shooting 85.4% from the free-throw line, so he has a chance to finish as a member of the 50-40-90 club by the time the season ends.


Giannis Antetokounmpo

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Stats: 27.0 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.8 BPG

Durant is trailing only Giannis in PER, where he leads by a large margin. Right now, the MVP voting is easily a two-horse race between Durant and Giannis. Without Khris Middleton, Giannis kept the Bucks afloat and the team is fighting with the Bulls for the top of the Central Division.

Among other accolades, Giannis is second in double-doubles and rebounds to only Domantas Sabonis, who is going to be the biggest snub off the All-Star list due to the Pacers’ inability to win. He is also second in assists and second to only Durant in scoring. Not to mention, he is beloved by many and will get the most votes from fans.


Bench


Trae Young

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Stats: 26.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 9.0 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG

Among point guards in the entire NBA, Young is making a case for second-best to Steph Curry. Young is second in points and assists among all players at the position. He is averaging a double-double in points assists. As an individual, Young is having a stellar season despite the Hawks coming out of the gate slowly.

When John Wall ran the Wizards years ago, he was a near double-double machine in points and assists. Even with the Hawks not playing like a top-3 team in the standings, you can’t deny a player of Young’s resume. If he were to be snubbed a second year in a row, it would cause mayhem in Atlanta.


Bradley Beal

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Stats: 22.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Beal is not anywhere close to the scoring race, but his team is competing for a No. 1 seed. No player has accepted a different role better than Beal this year. Last year, Beal and Westbrook barely made the Wizards qualify for the playoffs. This year, Beal is averaging about nine points less per game, but that is because he doesn’t have to score as much. Even with that dropoff, he is scoring the fifth-most points among players at the position.

With the new additions to the team, Beal is rebounding more, but also dishing out 6.0 assists per game. He is taking good shots, but also converting at a high rate at the free-throw line, where he is the leader among small forwards.


James Harden

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Stats: 20.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 9.4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Some will jump at this selection because Harden is leading the league in turnovers. If Harden is leading the league in turnovers, why isn’t Russell Westbrook considered an All-Star? The difference is that the Lakers are a .500 team, while Harden had to replace the void left by Kyrie Irving and the Nets are the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference.

That’s a significant difference. Not to mention, Harden is leading all shooting guards in assists and blocks. He also owns 12 double-doubles this season, where the next most has five. Even With the turnover disparity, he is fourth among all shooting guards in PER. Harden is quietly having a successful season even without getting to the free-throw line as much as year’s past.


Jayson Tatum

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Stats: 24.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Among small forwards, Tatum is fourth in assists, while his other numbers are near the top-10. What we forget is that Tatum also has to play power forward at times, which can change up his game. These are respectable, All-Star with numbers as Tatum has inserted himself as the team’s best player.

The Celtics need to win more games for this to be a done deal, but it’s highly unlikely that at least one of the top two players on the team doesn’t make the All-Star. Where his numbers are right now, Tatum has the best chance.


Montrezl Harrell

Montrezl Harrell

Stats: 16.1 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.7 BPG

If the Wizards keep winning, Harrell is going to make his first All-Star appearance and have a chance to win the Most Improved Player of the Year Award. Harrell, the 2020 Sixth Man of the year, was misused with the Lakers last season. With his new team, Harrell is third among centers in scoring in the Eastern Conference and eighth overall. He is also fifth in field-goal percentage among all players.

The stat that solidifies his reasoning to be included among the reserves is that he owns the second-best PER among centers in the entire NBA. Harrell is very efficient and is playing a huge role in the Wizards winning. If Washington remains a top-4 team in the East, Harrell will cut, especially with a shortage of true talent at the center position.


Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown

Stats: 22.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.5 BPG

This is a toss-up between Jaylen Brown and Tyler Herro. The latter has an impressive stat line of 21.8 points and 5.7 rebounds and his Heat have the better record. With that said, fans love Jaylen Brown, so he is likely to get more votes at the moment. Also, Brown has a solid slash line statistically too.

Brown would be one of the last players to get into the All-Star game if we started today. Both the Celtics and Brown have work to do if he wants to get in for sure.


Bam Adebayo

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Stats: 18.7 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Adebayo is a toss-up too because the selection could go either Butler/Herro or Butler/Adebayo. With votes involved, Adebayo has a better chance because he is more of a household name. With that said, he leads all centers in the Eastern Conference in scoring and is fifth overall. He is also fourth in assists and fifth in steals. Some elements help his case, but with the center position hurting in the East, it helps Adebayo’s case.

It will come down to where the Heat is in the standings. The team has been hovering in the top-4, so that would help the Heat land two All-Stars. The question is who are those two players going to be?

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