The 2017 NBA All-Star Game was moved from Charlotte to New Orleans due to a discriminatory bill. Nevertheless, it is expected that several first-time All-Star selections will play during the Sunday showcase. Here is SportsRageous’ list of top ten potential first-time NBA All-Stars this season.
10. Harrison Barnes (SF, Dallas Mavericks)
A lot of people expected Harrison Barnes to blossom into an NBA All-Star when he signed with the Dallas Maverick this summer. He is currently putting up career numbers of 21.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.1 assists while shooting 49.4 percent from the field.
The only thing barring Barnes from making the All-Star team is the Mavericks’ record. Dallas is currently last in the Western Conference with a record 2-12.
9. Andrew Wiggins (SG, Minnesota Timberwolves)
Just like Barnes, many people see a lot of All-Star game appearances for Andrew Wiggins. He is having a great start to the season as he recently put up a career-high of 47 points. The 21-year-old is averaging 23.9 points per game but he is shooting a career-low of 43.5 percent.
The Timberwolves are off to a good start with a 4-10 record but there is still some time to improve it. He is also up against many players in his position like Klay Thompson, James Harden, and C.J. McCollum.
8. Rudy Gobert (C, Utah Jazz)
The heart of the Jazz’s defense is The Stifle Tower, Rudy Gobert. The Frenchman is putting up solid stats with 10.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks this season.
It will only continue to improve as the season continues as the Jazz are the poised to make the playoffs. However, Gobert will have some stiff competition in order to be named in his first-ever NBA All-Star game.
7. C.J. McCollum (SG, Portland Trail Blazers)
Last year’s Most Improve Player has maintained his production in the first month of the season. C.J. McCollum is currently averaging 21.9 points per game while shooting 44.6 percent from threes.
If he can improve his scoring average by five points more, he can be named to his first NBA All-Star game. The final backcourt spot for next year’s All-Star game will likely come down between him and Klay Thompson.
6. DeAndre Jordan (C, Los Angeles Clippers)
Yes, DeAndre Jordan has never been named to an NBA All-Star game in his career. However, this could the season he finally becomes one as the Clippers is the best team in the Western Conference.
Jordan is fresh off winning a Gold Medal in the Olympics wherein he was the team’s best defender. He is averaging a solid 11.1 points, 12.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game so far this season.
5. Hassan Whiteside (C, Miami Heat)
The departure of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade has paved the way for Hassan Whiteside to be the number one option on offense. So far this season, Whiteside is the NBA’s best rebounder with 15.4 per game while also averaging 17.9 points and 2.6 blocks.
The Heat are 4-10 and their record will hurt Whiteside’s chances of becoming a first-time NBA All-Star. However, the team’s schedule is going to be easier as the season progresses and more wins are expected from them.
4. Kristaps Porzingis (PF, New York Knicks)
The NBA’s unicorn is proving all the doubters wrong. Kristaps Porzingis has taken over New York this season. He is averaging 21.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks.
His star power could easily take over the NBA All-Star ballot at the expense of stars like Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. He continues to improve every game and it is only a matter of time before the Knicks becomes his team.
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3. Kemba Walker (PG, Charlotte Hornets)
Kemba Walker was one of the biggest snubs in last season’s NBA All-Star game. He has taken his game to the next level this season and helped the Hornets to a great start.
Walker is currently averaging 24.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 steals while shooting a career-high 47.4 percent. If he does not get into the NBA All-Star game, it would be one of the biggest snubs in NBA history.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (SF, Milwaukee Bucks)
“The Greek Freak” started from where he left off in the second half of last season. Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 21.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.2 blocks per game.
The stats alone could put him in the 2017 NBA All-Star game despite the thick frontcourt competition in the Eastern Conference. However, fans can bank on Giannis being an All-Star this season.
1. Karl-Anthony Towns (C, Minnesota Timberwolves)
KAT probably is one the best big men in the NBA today alongside Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. It is despite being in his second season in the league. Even if the Timberwolves does not have a winning record, Karl-Anthony Towns will surely make his first NBA All-Star game.
The 20-year-old center is averaging 21.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. His numbers are underwhelming at the moment but it is just going to improve as the season progress.
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