With the draft and the hottest period of free agency long gone, especially with no movement on Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, We’re in the dog days of the NBA offseason. It’s now time to look ahead to some potential first-time NBA All-Star players in this upcoming NBA season.
The league is currently brimming with so much young talent — probably the best it’s ever been. With many great young players, some have yet to make the jump to All-Star status. Before taking a look at some of the brightest up-and-comers, let’s give credit to two players who are on the cusp of making this jump, but didn’t make the final cut.
Honorable Mentions to become a first-time NBA All-Star
Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns: The No.1 pick in 2018 has improved every year in the NBA, but he hasn’t reached the point where he’s competing for an All-Star game just yet. The Suns are coming off a disappointing playoff performance last season that saw them lose in embarrassing fashion to the Dallas Mavericks. Adding insult to injury, that team was led by Luka Doncic, who was chosen two spots after Ayton.
The 6-foot-11 center signed a massive contract this offseason after the Suns matched an offer from the Indiana Pacers. Phoenix is betting on Ayton to become the dominant interior force he can be, and now is the time to become a franchise cornerstone.
Tyler Herro, Miami Heat: The reigning Sixth Man of the Year for the No. 1 seed in the East balled out last season by averaging 20.7 points, five rebounds and four assists per game. He shot 45% from the field and nearly 40% from three.
Herro does not lack confidence as he has shown throughout his young career. If he wants to make the jump from Sixth Man to NBA All-Star, ala James Harden, he’ll have to continue improving on both sides of the floor. While his offensive production needs to increase, Herro also must become more of a disruptor on the defensive end of the floor, where he averages less than a steal per game.
If Herro can make a similar jump to the one he made last offseason, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him as an All-Star reserve in Salt Lake next year.