Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been phenomenal for the Oklahoma City Thunder so far. If he keeps the same momentum going, he is definitely primed to make his first NBA All-Star Game. However, he is not alone in his bid to debut in the ASG.
There are several others who could join the elites and finally get that All-Star label next to their names. A lot of young players and up-and-coming stars like SGA are having breakout campaigns, which could culminate to an appearance in the yearly festivities.
With that being said, here are some players primed for their first NBA All-Star Game selections in 2023.
4. De’Aaron Fox
With teams such as the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers having slow starts, it is opening the doors for others to shine. That is the case for the Sacramento Kings, who are 9-6 and fifth in the Western Conference. Most of the Kings’ success is due to De’Aaron Fox and his big jump in efficiency.
The former Kentucky Wildcat is averaging 25.4 points, 4.8 boards and 6.4 assists. He is making 55.8 percent of his field goals, 38.2 percent of his 3-point attempts and 84.5 percent of his free throws. Last season, his shooting splits were 47-30-75.
The last time Sacramento made the playoffs was in the 2005-06 season. If Fox continues leading the Kings to a positive record with a shot at the postseason, he can earn the All-Star selection as a reward for the team’s resurgence.
3. Lauri Markkanen
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the season is how well the Utah Jazz is playing. Projected to be at the bottom of the standings in preseason predictions, Utah finds itself at the top of the West with a 12-6 record. Part of that strong first month is thanks to the breakout year of Lauri Markkanen.
The Finnish is in his first season with the Jazz after being involved in the trade that sent Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2022-23, Markkanen is averaging 22.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists. He is shooting 54.4 percent from the field, 36.9 percent on 3-pointers and 81.3 percent from the charity stripe.
Markkanen is not only a potential first-time All-Star, but he is also one of the frontrunners for the Most Improved Player of the Year award. Should the Jazz stay in the top positions of the West, the forward could receive the All-Star selection to represent the team in the festivities.
2. Tyrese Maxey
While the Philadelphia 76ers are 8-8 and struggling in the East, Tyrese Maxey has been one of the few bright spots on the team.
The point guard has averages of 22.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists. He is hitting 46.2 percent of his field goals and 42.2 percent of his shots beyond the arc. For his career, Maxey only averages 13.2 points.
He is also writing history for Philadelphia. Maxey scored a career-high 44 points on 15-of-20 from the field, including nine made 3-pointers, on a 112–90 win over the Toronto Raptors. He joined Hall of Famers Hal Greer and Allen Iverson as the only Sixers to put up at least 40 points in a game prior to the age of 23, according to the team’s stats department. The guard also tied a franchise record with the most 3-pointers made in a single game.
It is worth noting that Maxey is expected to miss up to a month due to a foot injury. His potential first All-Star selection will depend on how he responds to adversity. If he returns and continues playing as he did early this season, Maxey can certainly help Embiid and lead the team to big things, plus earn some individual accolades in the process.
1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Even though most people project the Oklahoma City Thunder to finish the season in the lottery, there are some bright spots on the team. Without a question, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been the MVP of the team so far this 2022-23.
The guard is having a career year. He is averaging 31.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists. He is fourth in the entire league in points per game, only trailing Doncic, Curry and Joel Embiid. Notably, Gilgeous-Alexander is shooting 53.4 percent from the field, 40.9 percent from 3-point land and 90.7 percent from the charity stripe. If he keeps those numbers, he would join the illustrious 50-40-90 club. His display is extremely efficient and should be taken into consideration.
At age 24, SGA is very close to making his first All-Star Game appearance. The question is if the team’s poor record will play against him in the voting. He will also need to battle many elite guards in the West, but it will be difficult to ignore the youngster if he continues playing like he is currently doing with the Thunder.