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3 best players who will make their first NBA All-Star team in 2022

NBA All-Star Team, CJ McCollum, LaMelo Ball

The NBA All-Star Weekend is definitely one of the most highly anticipated events of the season. While the Saturday Night festivities, headlined by the Slam Dunk Contest and 3-point Shootout, get the fans fired up, the main spectacle of the weekend is still undoubtedly the All-Star game on Sunday night.

The 2021 edition was up for discussion for much of last season, due to the circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the end, the league found a way to push through with the one-day exhibition of stars, which still proved to be a fun show for the fans. Likewise, this gave the opportunity to Zion Williamson, Jaylen Brown, Zach LaVine, Julius Randle, and Mike Conley to make their first All-Star nod in their careers.

With the talent growing around the league, it isn’t surprising to see new players emerge every year and take their rightful place as All-Stars in the NBA. With that, here are the three best candidates to make their first All-Star selections in the NBA’s special 75th Anniversary season, which is set to take place in Cleveland.

1. LaMelo Ball

Fresh off a Rookie of the Year campaign, perhaps the most popular bet to make his first All-Star appearance is Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball. The 20-year old did not waste time in establishing himself as one of the most exciting young stars in the NBA last season. Ball won top rookie honors with impressive numbers of 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 6.1 assists. With a year under his belt, it’s easy to envision the incoming sophomore to take a big leap this season and settle down as the lead man in Charlotte.

With his flashy passing and slick ball-handling, Melo’s flamboyant game is definitely tailor-made for the bright lights of All-Star Weekend’s main event. Ball’s rookie season highlight reel included plenty of full-court touchdown passes, behind-the-back dimes, no-look feeds, and alley-oop connections that often sent Hornets announcer Eric Collins into a frenzy. In addition, the creative guard also showed out with his nifty dribbling and

Furthermore, it also helps Ball’s case that he is playing in the Eastern Conference. No offense to the East, but it’s just simply tougher to make an All-Star team in the West, especially with the loaded crop of stars in the guard position. With his overall talent and lesser competition in the conference, LaMelo Ball should be a lock to make his first All-Star selection this season.

2. C.J. McCollum

Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum looked well on his way to making his very first All-Star team last season. He was having an incredible start to the 2020-21 campaign, averaging 27.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists, while shooting 47 percent from the field and draining close to five 3-pointers a night through the first dozen games. Unfortunately, he suffered a fractured foot midway through January 2021 and this completely derailed his chances of finally getting an All-Star nod.

It’s honestly mind-boggling how McCollum hasn’t made an All-Star appearance yet. He is unquestionably an All-Star caliber player with his elite offensive game and ability to put up points on the board. The LeHigh standout has been a consistent 20-point scorer for six straight seasons now and has been a major reason for Portland’s success over these years.

Playing as a guard in the West has definitely hurt McCollum’s chances over these past six seasons and it’s just a bummer that when he had his best opportunity, he got hurt in the process. If he is able to duplicate the insane production he put up at the beginning of last season and help lead the Blazers into a good record in the West midway through the 2021-22 campaign, the multi-talented shooting guard should finally get his rightful recognition as an NBA All-Star.

3. De’Aaron Fox

When you look at De’Aaron Fox’s numbers from the 2020-21 season, you will definitely wonder how in the heck did he not make the All-Star team last season. Well, as mentioned earlier, it’s just incredibly hard to make that select group in West and the Sacramento Kings point guard’s exclusion is a good example of that.

Fox’s numbers last season read: 25.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists on 47.4 percent field goals shooting. The shifty lefty definitely had a case, especially when some doors opened up through the injury replacement route. In the end, commissioner Adam Silver gave the nod to Utah Jazz veteran Mike Conley, who likewise deservingly and finally made his All-Star game debut at age 34.

With the 23-year old’s All-Star worthy campaign last year, it wouldn’t be shocking if he finds a way to sneak into consideration this time around. Furthermore, Fox has a penchant of making highlight plays, especially in the open floor, with his quickness and speed when running downhill.

Being in the West with the likes of Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, and Damian Lillard definitely doesn’t help his case. Likewise, playing in a small-market and mediocre squad like the Kings hurts him. But if Fox continues his upward trajectory and somehow manages to keep Sacramento in the thick of a postseason berth, it’s going to be tough to keep Swipa off the ballot this upcoming season.