As the Christmas games approach, it’s the time of the year when fans who were focused elsewhere in the sports world start to pay more attention to the NBA. It’s also fewer than two months until the All-Stars gather in Salt Lake City.
The usual suspects always find their way into the annual contest and this season’s event in Utah should be no different. Fans will never stop clamoring to see LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Giannis Antetokoumpo duke it out in the exhibition.
For some fans, however, the most exciting part of the game is seeing the players who are All-Stars for the first time. The players, typically young guns in the league, finally get to see how they stack up with their peers and continue an ascendancy into NBA stardom.
With the 2023 NBA All-Star Game rapidly approaching, who are five players who deserve to be All-Stars for the first time in their careers?
There was a whopping seven first-time All-Stars last season. From the Eastern Conference were Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (who was an injury replacement for Durant), and Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (who was an injury replacement for James Harden). In the Western Conference, there was Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins, and San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (an injury replacement for Draymond Green).
Inevitably, there will be injuries this season to go along with the rise of players who have been unheralded in the past. Those factors should combine to support another crop of debuting All-Stars.
Here are five players who deserve to be All-Stars for the first time this year.