All-Star Weekend will soon be upon us once again. As usual, everybody won’t be happy with the picks for the All-Star game and many people will have their choice of snubs.
Of course, not everyone can be an All-Star. However, here are 5 guys that I truly believe are primed to make their very first All-Star appearances next season.
5.) Clint Capela, C. Houston Rockets
2017-18 stats: 45 games played. 26.9 mpg., 14.2 ppg., 10.8 rpg., 1.1 apg., 65.8% FG, 59.9% FT, 1.8 bpg., 0.8 spg., 1.6 topg
Clint Capela has steadily become one of the best big men in the NBA. He has an unlimited ceiling defensively and has become a reliable option down on the block and his career high field goal percentage is leading the NBA. He has averaged more shot attempts per game than at any time in his career, but he takes smart shots only and he makes them.
4.) Ben Simmons, G/F. Philadelphia 76ers
2017-18 stats: 47 games played. 35.1 mpg., 16.7 ppg., 7.8 rpg., 7.3 apg., 52.8% FG, 56.1% FT, 1.8 spg., 0.9 bpg., 3.8 topg
As badly as I (and many other fans as well) would love to see a rookie in the All-Star game, once again it just won’t be the case. However, the 6’10”, 240 lb. floor general has been absolutely exquisite this season and is already a top 10 player at his position. Yes, I said it. This guy is due for a triple double every night. He has 5 to his credit so far this season.
I expect him and his partner in crime in the city of Brotherly Love, Joel Embiid to both approach double digit appearances in All-Star games. No doubt in my mind.
3.) Nikola Jokic, C. Denver Nuggets
2017-18 stats: 45 games played. 31.6 mpg., 16.5 ppg., 10.5 rpg., 5.5 apg., 47.6% FG, 33.5% 3PTFG, 84.1% FT, 1.1 spg., 0.8 bpg., 2.7 topg
Nikola Jokic has slowly but surely become one of the most, if not the most complete center in the NBA. He runs the floor so smoothly and is a masterful ball handler for a 6’10” post player. He is a perennial banger in the post with a very reliable jump shot and don’t even get me started on how fluid of a passer he is. The man has eyes in the back of his head.
He is an absolute virtuoso and a franchise player on a team that is making noticeable strides towards a playoff appearance. The Joker has a helluva to do with that. This is only the beginning of Nikola Jokic. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Trust me.
2.) Devin Booker, G. Phoenix Suns
2017-18 stats: 41 games played. 34.1 mpg., 24.4 ppg., 4.4 rpg., 4.8 apg., 43.4% FG, 38.3% 3PTFG, 89.4% FT, 1.0 spg., 0.2 bpg., 3.6 topg
The youngest player in NBA history to drop 70 points in a game was questionably left off of the All-Star roster yet again. More so due to his team’s porous record of 18-35. They currently have the 5th worst mark in the NBA.
Nonetheless, Devin Booker has gotten better in every season since being the No. 13 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft out of the University of Kentucky. He is a tremendous shooter with a reckless abandon for anyone defending him and a nose for getting tough shots to go when driving inside.
His defense still has a way to go, but the 21-year old can definitely fill it up. No way he’s not an All-Star next season.
1.) Donovan Mitchell, G. Utah Jazz
2017-18 stats: 49 games played. 31.9 mpg., 19.7 ppg., 3.4 rpg., 3.5 apg., 45.0% FG%, 35.7% 3PTFG, 83.6% FT, 1.5 spg., 0.4 bpg., 2.6 topg
Everyone likes surprises. The 13th overall pick (Coincidence, huh?) in the 2017 NBA draft has been exactly that. After taking over the starting 2 guard spot in Utah, he has not looked back since. Mitchell made himself a household name with a career performance against the New Orleans Pelicans, scoring 41 points.
This young man has surprised us all with his tenacity and mature all around game. He’s probably the best rookie in the NBA and has an extremely bright future ahead of him after adding another 40 point game to his credit. Donovan Mitchell is without a doubt the NBA’s worst kept secret.