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Giannis, Luka headline starter picks

The 2023 NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City is just around the corner. While the game itself isn’t until Feb. 19, fan voting has already closed and we’ll learn who the starters are on Thursday.

As a reminder, fans account for 50% of the voting, while players and media members account for 25% each. Although not final, the NBA released the fan-voting results two days before it closed, so we have a pretty good idea who will top the lists. However, there is still some room for predicting who will make it.

With that said, here are our picks for the NBA All-Star game starters.

Eastern Conference:

Frontcourt: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Although Giannis has struggled with injuries at points this season, he has still been one of the very best players in the league. The Milwaukee superstar is fourth in the league in scoring, averaging 31 points per game. He is also second in the league in rebounds with 11.9 per game. Giannis leads the NBA All-Star fan-voting among Eastern Conference front court players, so he’s all but a lock to start.

Frontcourt: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Embiid has been a superstar for years, but he’s in the middle of a career year this season. The Philadelphia center is averaging 33.6 points per game, tied for the most in the NBA while shooting 53.7% from the field. He is currently day-to-day, but he should be ready to go once the game itself rolls around.

Frontcourt: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics currently have an NBA-best record of 35-12, largely thanks to the play of Tatum. The small forward has had a spectacular season so far, averaging 31.2 points per game, good for third in the league. He also leads the team in rebounding with 8.5 per game. After leading Boston to the NBA Finals last season, Tatum has elevated his game even further this year.

Guard: Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers

Mitchell has been simply outstanding in his first season in Cleveland. The guard is averaging career highs in points, playing time, and every kind of shooting percentage. Of course, the biggest highlight of his season came when he dropped 71 points in a game against the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 2. The Cavaliers are firmly in the playoffs after losing in the play-in last year, and the sky’s the limit with Mitchell. He’s an NBA All-Star lock.

Guard: Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

Although Tatum seems to get most of the attention, Brown has also had a great season in his own right. He is averaging a career-high 26.9 points this season, while also playing a career-high 35.7 minutes a game. Brown is also averaging a solid 7.1 rebounds and 3.3 rebounds per game.

Western Conference:

Frontcourt: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

The back-to-back MVP is making quite the case for his third straight. Averaging 25.1 points, 11 rebounds, and 9.9 assists per game, he is just shy of averaging a triple-double on the season. Predictably, he leads the NBA with 14 triple-doubles, and only one other player even comes close to him. The Nuggets hold the best record in the Western Conference at 33-14, but without Jokic, they’d probably just be a fringe playoff team.

Frontcourt: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

At 38 years old, LeBron James is still just as dominant as ever. The King is averaging 29.8 points (sixth in the league), 8.5 rebounds, and 6.9 assists, all while playing over 36 minutes a game. The only really noticeable drop-off is in his three-point shooting percentage, but he has adjusted his game very well. Although the Lakers are struggling this season, LeBron is doing all he can to bring them back into the playoff picture.

Frontcourt: Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Despite the recurring injury issues, Davis has been fantastic when healthy this season. In his 25 games this season, he is averaging 27.4 points and 12.1 rebounds per game, both of which are his highest since he joined the Lakers. Davis should be back in the lineup soon, and if he can stay healthy and continue his great play, Los Angeles has a real chance to get back in the race.

Guard: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

A superstar since day one, Doncic has cemented himself as a top-three player in the NBA this season. He is scoring 33.6 points per game, tied with Embiid for the most in the league, and averaging 8.9 rebounds and 8.7 assists. His 10 triple-doubles this season are second only to Jokic’s 14, and no one else comes close to them. The Mavericks have been just average for most of the season, save for their seven-game winning streak in December and early January, but Doncic gives them a chance in every single game. He’s a surefire NBA All-Star.

Guard: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Although the defending champions aren’t having the most thought this season, Curry is holding up his end of the deal. The Warriors superstar is averaging 29.2 points a game, along with 6.3 rebounds and assists. He continues to be lights-out from beyond the arch, hitting nearly 42% of his attempts.

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