Wednesday, May 25 2022

NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced Thursday night, and they will include some familiar names.

LeBron James. Steph Curry. Kevin Durant. All three are perennial All-Star starters who stand a good chance to be selected again for this year’s game in Cleveland on Feb. 20. In the most recent fan returns released last week, James, Curry and Durant were the top three in voting.

With so many rising young stars around the league, there could be some new faces among the starters as well.

Who will make the cut and start the NBA’s 71st All-Star Game next month? Ahead of Thursday night’s official announcement, USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt, Cydney Henderson, Larry Starks and Matt Eppers made their picks for NBA All-Star starters.

Note: Starters are selected based on voting by fans, players and media. Fans count for 50% of the vote, while players and media count for 25% each.

Jrue Holiday has proven his worth offensively and defensively for the defending-champion Bucks.Jrue Holiday has proven his worth offensively and defensively for the defending-champion Bucks.

Jrue Holiday has proven his worth offensively and defensively for the defending-champion Bucks.

Jeff Zillgitt

Eastern Conference

Backcourt: DeMar DeRozan, Bulls; Jrue Holiday, Bucks.

Frontcourt: Kevin Durant, Nets; Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks; Joel Embiid, Sixers.

Western Conference

Backcourt: Steph Curry, Warriors; Ja Morant, Grizzlies.

Frontcourt: LeBron James, Lakers; Nikola Jokic, Nuggets; Rudy Gobert, Jazz.

Bold pick: Jrue Holiday over James Harden and Trae Young. Holiday impacts winning on a team that is 30-20 and two games out of behind Miami for first place in the Eastern Conference. Holiday averages 17.8 points, 6.4 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals, while shooting 48.9% from the field and 38.1% on 3-pointers. Of the Bucks’ starting five, Holiday has the highest net rating (plus-9.1 points per 100 possessions), proving his worth offensively and defensively. Milwaukee is 26-11 when Holiday plays this season and 4-9 when he doesn’t, which translates to a higher winning percentage than MVP-caliber teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo. Holiday might not be the flashiest All-Star star, but the two-way star deserves to start. If he’s not voted in, the coaches better make sure he’s on the team.

Fred VanVleet has become the Raptors' go-to player after the departures of Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard.Fred VanVleet has become the Raptors' go-to player after the departures of Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard.

Fred VanVleet has become the Raptors’ go-to player after the departures of Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard.

Cydney Henderson

Eastern Conference

Backcourt: DeMar DeRozan, Bulls; Trae Young, Hawks

Frontcourt: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks; Kevin Durant, Nets; Joel Embiid, Sixers

Western Conference

Backcourt: Steph Curry, Warriors; Ja Morant, Grizzlies

Frontcourt: LeBron James, Lakers; Nikola Jokic, Nuggets; Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Bold pick: Fred VanVleet. From an undrafted player, to a G League superstar, NBA Champion and now All-star? VanVleet has become the main man in Toronto following Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard‘s departures. He’s leading the league in minutes at 38.2 per game and shooting 42.1% and 39.9% from three. He’s made 160 threes this season, only behind Stephen Curry and Buddy Hield. This would mark VanVleet’s first All-Star selection.

Should Bulls guards DeMar DeRozan (11) and Zach LaVine (8) become the first teammates to share the backcourt as All-Star starters since the Knicks' Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier in 1975?Should Bulls guards DeMar DeRozan (11) and Zach LaVine (8) become the first teammates to share the backcourt as All-Star starters since the Knicks' Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier in 1975?

Should Bulls guards DeMar DeRozan (11) and Zach LaVine (8) become the first teammates to share the backcourt as All-Star starters since the Knicks’ Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier in 1975?

Larry Starks

Eastern Conference

Backcourt: DeMar DeRozan, Bulls; Zach LaVine, Bulls.

Frontcourt: Kevin Durant, Nets; Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks; Joel Embiid, Sixers.

Western Conference

Backcourt: Steph Curry, Warriors; Ja Morant, Grizzlies.

Frontcourt: LeBron James, Lakers; Nikola Jokic, Nuggets; Karl-Anthony Towns, T’wolves.

Bold pick: Zach LaVine over Trae . The Bulls have been among the top teams in the East for most of the season and there’s a lot of credit to go around. The additions of DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball garner most of the headlines, but the steady play of LaVine has also been a key factor. It’s tough to argue with 24.9 points, 4.3 assists and 40.4% shooting from three. I can understand the reluctance of having the backcourt from the same team as All-Star starters, but DeRozan and LaVine deserve the spots.

Karl-Anthony Towns is having a strong season on the offensive and defensive end and is one of the main reasons the Timberwolves are in the playoff race.Karl-Anthony Towns is having a strong season on the offensive and defensive end and is one of the main reasons the Timberwolves are in the playoff race.

Karl-Anthony Towns is having a strong season on the offensive and defensive end and is one of the main reasons the Timberwolves are in the playoff race.

Matt Eppers

Eastern Conference

Backcourt: DeMar DeRozan, Bulls; Trae Young, Hawks.

Frontcourt: Kevin Durant, Nets; Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks; Joel Embiid, Sixers.

Western Conference

Backcourt: Steph Curry, Warriors; Ja Morant, Grizzlies.

Frontcourt: LeBron James, Lakers; Nikola Jokic, Nuggets; Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves.

Bold pick: Karl-Anthony Towns over Rudy Gobert. Towns has been one of the best offensive big men in the league again this season, averaging 24.1 points per game on over 50% shooting from the field and over 40% from 3, while his defensive effort has been better for a team that has drastically improved on that end of the floor.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NBA All-Stars: Our predictions for who should be in starting lineup

Source: Yahoo Sports

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