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Projecting the 2023 NBA All-Star Game starters: See who makes the cut

NBA All-Star Game
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Dec. 20 marked the first day fans could begin voting for the 2023 NBA All-Star game starters. It’s a similar format to what we’ve seen in the past, except voting via Twitter is no longer allowed after a K-Pop star promoted Andrew Wiggins, boosting his votes by a large margin a season ago.

In turn, fans can only vote through the NBA app or directly on the NBA website. Being that fans have a large hand in determining the starters for the All-Star game, accounting for 50% of the vote, players rely on the support of the community.

Voting can be a fun activity for all basketball fans to get involved in, and naturally, who should be an NBA All-Star vs. who shouldn’t be is always a heated debate. Here’s who we would pick for our 2023 NBA All-Star ballot.

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Who should be the NBA All-Star starters?

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Western Conference All-Star starter ballot

  • G: Luka Doncic – Not only is Doncic leading the NBA in scoring, he’s also the only player to average 30+ PPG, 8 RPG, and 8 APG this season. Doncic does it all for the Mavericks, keeping them in playoff contention. He’s a superstar, not an All-Star.
  • G: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – While SGA may be on a bad OKC Thunder team, it’s due to a lack of effort on his end. Alexander ranks fifth in scoring, fifth in steals, and first in free throws made. He’s well on his way to becoming a first-time All-Star. Stephen Curry would be an appropriate replacement as he comes back from injury, and being that he leads all guards in All-Star votes, Curry will likely be the starter.
  • F: LeBron James – Shouldering a bigger workload since Anthony Davis’ injury, James is averaging 29.8 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 7.0 APG, plus 1.5 steals/blocks per game and is the current vote-leader in the West. With another trip to the ASG, LBJ is set to tie Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most all-time All-Star appearances with 19.
  • F: Zion Williamson – Another player who’s taking the league by storm, and getting into the MVP conversation, is Zion Williamson. The 22-year-old sensation continues to increase his versatility, posting a career-high assist rate while maintaining a scoring average of 26 points per game. Hopefully his hamstring strain doesn’t keep him out for too long. Otherwise Lauri Markkanen would be a strong replacement.
  • C: Nikola Jokic – Any time you’re mentioned in the same breath as Wilt Chamberlain, you’re doing something right. Jokic is already a two-time MVP, and he’s once again nearly averaging a triple-double. There’s no way he’s not an All-Star starter, it’s a lock.

Related: Updated 2023 NBA Rookie of the Year race

Eastern Conference All-Star starter ballot

  • G: Donovan Mitchell – Changing teams hasn’t impacted Mitchell at all. He’s instead taken his game to the next level, averaging a new career high in scoring. Plus, the Cavaliers have one of the best records in the East. Not to mention, Mitchell dropping 71 points just shows he’s among the elite scorers of the modern era. He deserves to start.
  • G: Trae Young – The usually accurate Ice Trae has hit a cold spell from three-point land, shooting just 32%, but he’s still the only player averaging 27 PPG while also chipping in close to 10 assists per game. That has All-Star starter written all over it.
  • F: Jayson Tatum – This might be the toughest choice on the ballot, choosing Tatum over Kevin Durant. Both players are well deserving of starting the All-Star game, and we had been leading toward Durant, simply because he’s shooting 55% from the floor, which is incredible considering over a quarter of his shots have been three-point attempts. Basically, he’s been the NBA’s best shooter this season. But now that Durant has an MCL sprain, it gives us an easy excuse to squeeze Tatum into our starting five.
  • F: Giannis Antetokounmpo – There’s no way we can keep the Greek Freak out of the starting lineup. No one else can average north of 30 points plus nearly 12 rebounds per game. Antetokounmpo doesn’t really have a major weakness to his game, excelling in all areas aside from outside shooting. He’s who the people want to see.
  • C: Joel Embiid – Also one of the best all-around players in the NBA, Embiid ranks second in the league in scoring, is nearly chipping in ten rebounds per game and likes to get his teammates involved too. Oh, and averaging a combined 2.7 steals and blocks per game doesn’t hurt, either. He’ll be an All-Star starter once again, that you can be sure of.

Who are the leaders in NBA All-Star fan voting?

The Jan. 19 update from the association revealed the updated leaders in NBA All-Star fan voting and points to LeBron James in the Western Conference with over 6.5 million votes. The Eastern Conference leader in All-Star voting is Giannis Antetokounmpo, with over 5.9 million votes.

Saturday, Jan. 21 is the final day of All-Star fan voting, which officially wraps up at 11:59 PM ET.

What ultimately determines the All-Star team is a formula that takes into account 50% weight from fans and 25% apiece from NBA players and members of the media.

Once the fan vote has concluded, the leaders from each conference will have earned the title of captain. Both captains will then proceed to draft from the pool of All-Stars to determine their teams once play begins.

The NBA will announce the All-Star starters on Jan. 26 at 7 PM ET on TNT.

Related: NBA Power Rankings

When is the 2023 NBA All-Star Game?

This season’s NBA All-Star Game tips off on Sunday, February 19, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

But that’s just the All-Star Game, the NBA plans an entire weekend of festivities for basketball enthusiasts to enjoy, which begin two days earlier, on Friday, the 17th.

There’s the NBA All-Star Rising Stars Challenge, which features two teams comprised of first and second-year players who are projected to become household names in the near future.

The NBA All-Star Skills Challenge groups together some of the best point guards, point forwards, and even skilled bigs who navigate through an obstacle course of sorts, only relating to typical basketball moves we see every day, such as passing through tight windows, taking jump shots, and driving coast to coast for an easy layup.

The NBA All-Star 3-Point Contest is fairly self-explanatory. We see the top perimeter shooters go around the world with a shooting rack, hoping to score more points than their competitors. Money balls raise the stakes, giving players their choice on when to take advantage of trying to score more points in their preferred shooting spots, such as the corner three.

Lastly, but definitely not least, is the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, in which we see the most memorable moments of All-Star Weekend. Basketball fans will never forget Michael Jordan jumping from the free throw line or Vince Carter’s 360 slams in 2000.

This is where we see players use all sorts of funny props, such as cupcakes, Superman capes, and even teammates or stars on hand for the activities. Simply put, the Dunk Contest is by far the most entertaining event of All-Star Weekend.

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Who won last year’s NBA All-Star Game?

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Last year we saw Team LeBron take on Team Durant. As usual, the score was outrageous, with LeBron’s team outpacing Durant’s 163-160. Stephen Curry won All-Star Game MVP after sinking 16 3-pointers and finishing with 50 points.

The NBA Skills Challenge saw Team Cavs win, with Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen securing the victory. This was fitting, as the weekend’s events were held in Cleveland, giving the local fanbase a show.

Last year’s NBA Rising Stars winners saw Team Barry defeat Team Isiah, with Detroit’s Cade Cunningham being named MVP for the game.

Karl-Anthony Towns won last season’s 3-point contest, becoming the first center in NBA history to accomplish the feat.

The Dunk Contest was won by New York’s Obi Toppin, who had several highlight-worthy slams.

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