NBA 2023 All-Star Starter Snubs


All-Pro Reels | Wikimedia Commons

Vasileios Michaelides

The National Basketball Association announced on Jan. 26, this year’s starters for the All-Star game, which will be held in Utah on Feb. 19. Giannis Antetokounmpo will captain the Eastern Conference All-Stars, while LeBron James will lead the West.

The rest of the Eastern Conference starters are Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets, Jayson Tatum from the Boston Celtics and Donovan Mitchell from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Luka Doncic from the Dallas Mavericks, Stephen Curry from the Golden State Warriors, Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets round out the other four Western Conference starters.

Of course, as with every All-Star selection, it can be argued that some players got snubbed and that is exactly what is going to be discussed today.

Starting in the Western Conference, let’s talk about the new supernova of the Oklahoma City Thunder: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He has cemented his spot as a superstar in the league and not many can deny that statement. He has started every game he has played in this season and is averaging nearly 31 points, five rebounds and 5.6 assists, as well as 1.7 steals and a block a game. These are legendary numbers that have not been done by anyone in the league since the late-1980s. The last person to do it? Michael Jordan.

SGA is spearheading a burgeoning young Thunder team that is fighting for play-in contention this year. Most expected the Thunder to be in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, but not on Gilgeous-Alexander’s watch.

It’s difficult to replace the other front court starters but maybe, just maybe, if Steph Curry didn’t carry his heavy name and legacy, Gilgeous-Alexander would be starting his first NBA All-Star game.

Now for the bigs of the Western Conference. Sacramento Kings’ star Domantas Sabonis has been nothing short of amazing this season.

Sabonis is posting averages of 18.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, 7.3 assists and nearly half a block a game. There were questions around how Sabonis would fit and play in Sacramento following his trade from the Indians Pacers, but Sabonis quickly put those doubts to bed as he continued to show his excellent offensive and passing game, demonstrating how he is one of the best big men passers of this generation.

Sabonis could have arguably taken Zion Williamson’s spot based on his availability and consistency, which he has over the young star from the Pelicans. There is no doubt Williamson is an exciting, explosive and skillful player but as many say, availability is the best ability.

Over on the East Coast, there is another youngster who has been on a tear but is currently injured: Indiana Pacers’ guard Tyrese Haliburton, who was on the other side of the Sabonis trade. Haliburton is averaging just over 20 points, 10.2 assists, four rebounds and nearly two steals on 48% shooting from the field. Fantastic numbers for the fifth-year pro.

It is difficult to argue against the likes of Irving and Mitchell, who are the selected starters, but Haliburton has been the head of the Pacers who are unexpectedly an above .500 team whereas Irving is in Brooklyn playing with future hall of famer Durant.

Nonetheless, the talent in today’s NBA is at its highest level ever, arguably. There will always be “snubs” and the discussions and debates will be ongoing.