The All-Star season is upon us in the NBA. Around the New Year, the league starts the All-Star voting period and major discussions ensue around the community. Some players are considered locks, some are on the fence, and some previous All-Stars are nowhere to be found. For the Philadelphia 76ers, the squad will definitely have one player omitted from the event – Ben Simmons. However, there is still All-Star talent on the roster, thus here are two Sixers players who need to be All-Stars.
Sixers' All-Star players
Starting with an obvious one, Joel Embiid needs to and will be an All-Star this season. The Cameroonian center has been sensational for the last few years. Even though he had a lot of injuries in his first few seasons for the Sixers, Embiid has established himself as a great player. He is also in some MVP discussions, but that will be hard to achieve, due to the contenders for that award. However, an All-Star berth is more or less guaranteed.
This season, Joel Embiid is averaging 26.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.4 blocks, on 46.8% shooting from the field, and a great 40% from three-point land. However, it is not only about the pure numbers. With NBA awards and events such as the All-Star Weekend, context and narrative are sometimes more valuable than pure statistics. Embiid is doing all this without a second star, as Simmons is out of the roster. The Sixers center took on more responsibility and did not look back.
Additionally, there is one frontcourt position that is up for debate in the East. Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo hold the first two, but the competition thins out after the duo and Joel Embiid. Of course, Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, Pascal Siakam, and others, are great players, but the Sixers superstar is a level above them all. The bench will be filled by many of these names mentioned, as the starting spot simply must go to the trio of Durant, Antetokounmpo, and Embiid.
There is a big caveat on Embiid's season, which is the Sixers' success. Philly is currently on a 19-16 record and while that is over .500, it is still under the expectations of many around the league. This hurts the case of Embiid, but it is clear to everyone involved that the record is despite Embiid's amazing form, not because of it. It would probably hurt his MVP case more than it hurts his All-Star starter spot. Regardless, Joel Embiid simply must be one of the five players walking out in Cleveland for the Eastern Conference in February of 2022.
In a very different pick, Tyrese Maxey might be a long-shot for one of the guard spots on the bench. There are a few reasons why the Sixers sophomore guard has a dog in the All-Star fight. He has been great this season and he seemingly came out of nowhere. Drafted with the 21st selection in the 2020 NBA Draft, Maxey had an okay first season, just to jump out to a great start in this season and make Sixers fans almost forget about the whole Ben Simmons drama.
While it has not translated to a ton of Sixers team success, Tyrese Maxey is having a breakout year. He is averaging 16.8 points, 4.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds, on 47.3% shooting from the field, and 38% from three. As it was said with Embiid above, narratives are also important and if the statistics go with the narrative, then the player can hope for a spot. Maxey has definitely got the narrative going.
For instance, playing against East rivals the Brooklyn Nets, Maxey shot 5/8 from three and hit a huge shot in the fourth quarter to seal an important win for the Sixers. Additionally, he has turned it on since November started and translated the form into December fairly well. In November specifically, Maxey averaged 19 points, 5.7 assists, on 47% shooting from the field and a great 40% from the field. While numbers took a bit of a dip in December, the sophomore guard can have a big January riding on the huge role he played in the pivotal game versus the Nets to secure a spot on the bench.
If he can ride the narrative wave and tighten the loose ends, Maxey can definitely be the second Sixers' representative in Cleveland. This would be a surprise, of course, due to the strength of the Eastern Conference guards. With guys like Trae Young, DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Bradley Beal, and such, it will be a mountain to climb. However, if there are any COVID-19 and injury-related absences, Tyrese Maxey should be on the top of that list.