Although there will be no official NBA All-Star Weekend in 2021, the league is still going to announce All-Star teams.
Some players are locks to be named; players like Lebron and Giannis will be All-Stars barring any injury. But who has a shot at cracking the squad for the first time this season?
I chose the one player from each position that I think can make that jump this season.
Point Guard: Ja Morant- Memphis Grizzlies
Ja is perhaps already one of the top five most entertaining players in the entire league. If it weren't for Zion Williamson, Morant would have been a lock for the top pick in last year's NBA draft, and he did not disappoint his rookie season. He averaged 17.8 points and 7.8 assists as a rookie and nearly led Memphis back to the playoffs. After starting the year off with a 44 point performance against the Spurs, Morant is very likely to make the team.
Shooting Guard: Jamal Murray- Denver Nuggets
Jamal Murray isn't the only option here; Zach Lavine is one hell of a basketball player too. I give the nod to Murray here simply because his team is much better. Murray proved his worth last year in the bubble when he turned into one of the best players on the planet. Murray averaged 26.5 points per game and shot 45% from three-point range in last years playoffs. I would expect him to continue this hot streak and prove the Nuggets right for handing him $170M over five years this offseason.
Shooting Forward: Jaylen Brown- Boston Celtics
The former top-3 pick in the draft is finally starting to turn some heads nationally. He has embraced the number 2 (or three at times) roll on the Celtics roster and is running with it. He took a massive leap from 2019 to 2020, and is off to a hot start in 2021. If Brown becomes the all-star player Boston hopes he can be, the Celtics will be a tough opponent for anyone in the East this year.
Power Forward: Zion Williamson- New Orleans Pelicans
We've known since he was in high school that Williamson was going to be special in this league. Now here in 2021, his first full and healthy campaign, there's a good shot he makes the all-star squad. In just 24 games last season, Zion dropped 22.5 points, 6.3 boards, and shot 58% from the field. With a full offseason of training and getting to know the flow of the NBA a little better, this kid is going to be a problem.
Center: Deandre Ayton- Phoenix Suns
There's a reason the Suns took Ayton with the first overall pick a few years ago; this guy has talent. He was up to 18.2 points and 11.5 rebounds last season, which was a nice jump from his rookie year in 2018-19. Now with one of the best team leaders in NBA history, Chris Paul, running the point for the Suns, it wouldn't shock me to see him improve even more this season.
Honorable Mentions: Zach Lavine- Chicago Bulls, De'Aaron Fox- Sacramento Kings, Fred Van Vleet- Toronto Raptors, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander- Oklahoma City Thunder, Devonte' Graham- Charolette Hornets, Montrezl Harrell- Los Angeles Lakers