As the fan and media voting ends later this week, it is time for us to share with you the AfroBallers All-Star nominees!
In spite of the fact that we still put a lot of value in winning, we give more leniency in that for All-Star teams. Being selected to the All-Star Game is less legacy defining than All NBA selections and it is a mid-season celebration for the fans and not a end of the season valuation of the players’ performances.
With no further ado, we present to you the 2021-2022 All-Star Starters!
More difficult to pick than the West, there is so much talent in the East, so many deserving players and not nearly enough slots to give out.
The starting front court was rather easier – as I find hard to believe there is anyone other than our guys taking any of the spots. As for the starting backcourt and the entire reserve team, it was a bloodbath.
Backcourt: DeMar DeRozan
It would be unfair to the Windy City and to the Bulls organization not to have one of their stars starting. I have heard many people outside of Chicago arguing that both Lavine and DeRozan should take the starting backcourt spots.
With the late cool-off from the still #1 team in the Conference, choosing one of them to start felt like the right decision.
As the main force during what Pat Riley calls “Winning time”, DeMar is among the league leaders in 4th quarter Points Per Game, Field Goal %, 3-Point %. The icing in the cake is how he made history in becoming the only player in the NBA’s 75 years to hit back-to-back game winners in consecutive days.
Backcourt: Darius Garland
You probably read our article on the bright future of the NBA Small Markets and by now already know how we feel about Garland. Nevertheless, we like to praise in abundance!
The young Point Guard is a true floor general, with a knack to make tough decisions with perfect timing and unparalleled judgment. He is sixth in assists per game, while being in the top 15 in Net Rating and OnCourt Plus/Minus.
For the 4th placed Cavs, he is the team leader in Points Per Game, Assists Per Game and Made 3-Pointers. He also leads them on and off the court and therefore is the perfect choice to represent the home of this season’s All-Star Weekend in the game’s starting lineup.
Frontcourt: Kevin Durant
Unfortunately KD will not play in the game, due to his recent MCL injury. That fact does not erase his spectacular season, nor should it deprive him of his deserved starting spot.
More often then not, we talk about the circus that is the Brooklyn team. From costars that believe the regular season is intended to be a time to get in shape (rather than starting it that way) to others that believe the earth is flat and that vaccines are inherently evil, you can find it all with the Nets. Those are not only distractions to the team, but they also keep those players out of the lineup regularly.
I guess none of that matters for the third placed Nets, when one of the Top 5 players in the world is willing to be among the 5 players who play the most minutes per game, while leading the league in points scored in those contests.
Frontcourt: Giannis Antetokounmpo
We made our thoughts on this AfroBaller very clear throughout our Mid-Season Awards article, but he never stops giving us great reasons to talk about him.
Member of the recently selected 75 Years Anniversary Team of the NBA and ranked by The Athletic as the 24th best player in the history of the game, Giannis should not only start another All-Star Game, but maintain his Captain status as well.
Whatever statistic is your favorite, he is among the league leaders. If you like traditional stats. he’s in the Top 3 in points plus in the Top 10 in rebounds and blocks per game. If you are a fan of advanced metrics, he is in the Top 3 in all the major stats: PER, VORP, BPM, Simple Rating, RAPTOR, LEBRON and EPM.
The fact that remains is, if the Bucks are still favored to repeat as Champions this season, their past, current and future success in mainly due to Giannis’ historical brilliance.
Frontcourt: Joel Embiid
Whenever you are mentioned on a list that includes only yourself, Allen Iverson and Wilt Chamberlain, you know you are doing something special. When your All-NBA Point Guard has not played a single game in the season (and has no plans of changing that), being special is the only way to keep your team afloat.
AfroBaller Embiid is doing it all for the Sixers. His Top 5 marks in Points, Top 10 in Rebounds and Top 15 in Blocks per game are the main reason why the Sixers win 69% of the games he plays in – much different than the modest 27% winning rate without him.
Whether you are a fan of The Process or not, the Cameroonian’s starting spot has been earned for this season’s All-Star Game.