For the fourth straight year, the decision-makers in the league office offered me a chance to be one of the media members who votes on which players should start in the NBA All-Star Game. (Reminder: Fan voting makes up 50% of the final result, with player and media ballots accounting for 25% each.) I accepted, because this one time a T-shirt told me that if I didn’t vote, I would die, and I don’t know about you guys, but I listen to laundry.
I’m also a glutton for punishment who simply can’t resist the opportunity to feel guilty about being forced to leave multiple deserving players off a ballot that only has space for three “frontcourt” players and two guards in each conference. So, without further ado: Let’s work hard, feel bad and make Diddy proud. (All stats and records used entering Wednesday’s games.)
As a sentient being reading about basketball in 2023, you probably don’t need to be convinced that Jokic deserves a spot; I’ve also written a bunch about Jokic and Denver recently, so I won’t make too big a meal out of this. Suffice it to say that when you’re one-tenth of an assist away from averaging a 25-point triple-double with the NBA’s second-highest true shooting percentage, you’re leading the league in a frankly hilarious number of advanced metrics, you’ve arguably been even more efficient and effective than you were in winning the last two MVP trophies, and you’re the best player on the No. 1 seed in your conference, we’re writing your name on the ballot in Sharpie.
Ditto for Doncic, who roared out of the starting blocks looking like the best player in the world through the season’s first month and hasn’t really slowed down, despite a workload that even his head coach can’t believe. Luka leads the league in scoring and ranks fifth in assist points created, serving as the every-possession engine of a top-five offense that has kept Dallas steady through some rough patches. He’s not solely responsible for the Mavs sitting just a couple of games out of home-court advantage in the West; with all due respect to Christian Wood and Spencer Dinwiddie, though, he’s not far off. His was the second name I locked into place on…