Earlier this week, I examined the potential Western Conference All-Star starters. The list included the likes of LeBron James, Steph Curry, Luka Doncic and more. Now, it is time to look at the East.
The Eastern Conference (specifically the frontcourt) is stacked and there are several players worthy of being a starter. But as always, there can only be five. Here are five Eastern Conference players bound to be All-Star starters.
1.) Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
Kevin Durant is the leading vote-getter in the East. With a total of 3,118,545 votes, Durant is clearly leading the way in the East. And it is not surprising.
Durant averages 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.5 blocks. His performance this season helped the Nets turn things around and helped them become the second seed of the East. But the Nets have a slight problem.
Durant suffered an MCL sprain of his right knee on Sunday, and is expected to miss at least a month. This not only could impact his status for All-Star, but the Nets have to maintain their place in the standings without him. Do the Nets have the pieces to do so? Regardless, Durant leads in the East and if he returns before All-Star, fans will see him in his 13th All-Star game.
2.) Giannis Anteokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to shine. He is one of the league’s brightest stars, and at times he takes over games with his dominance. Antetokounmpo averages 31.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists. He is third in points per game this season (behind Luka Doncic and Joel Embiid) and at this rate, he is an MVP candidate.
Antetokounmpo currently has 2,998,327 votes. The only East player to have more votes than him is Durant, which means Antetokounmpo is practically a lock as an All-Star starter. So, fans will see him in his seventh All-Star game.
3.) Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum is having an excellent season. He averages 30.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.1 steals. Tatum is an MVP candidate that continues to compete with the likes of Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and more.
Tatum has a total of 2,178,330 votes. Sixers center Joel Embiid has more votes, as Embiid has a total of 2,226,712 votes. Embiid will likely secure the final frontcourt spot (alongside Durant and Antetokounmpo) but the race is close. But with the Celtics being first in the East, I give the nod to Tatum.
4.) Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving is an exceptional talent. When Irving is locked in, he is one of the toughest players to guard in today’s game. And the fans want to see him play.
Irving has a total of 2,071,715 votes. He has a significant lead over East guards such as James Harden, Jaylen Brown, Trae Young and more.
The Nets are doing well after a rough start, and like Durant, Irving is a factor. Irving averages 26.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists. These are All-Star caliber numbers and come All-Star, Irving will put on a show.
5.) Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers
Donavan Mitchell has been one of the most talked about players this season. He was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week after an amazing week that included a 71-point game.
Mitchell averages 29.3 points, 4.8 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals. He and the Cavaliers are getting recognition, and in the first return of All-Star votes, Mitchell had a total of 1,637,374 votes. His teammates Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen also received votes.
Mitchell is second in voting for East guards, and chances are, we will see an Irving/Mitchell backcourt at All-Star.
All-Star voting continues, and with the second return being released soon, we’ll have a better idea of who becomes a starter.
Featured image by Charles Rex Arbogast/AP