NBA All-Star season is upon us, which means it’s time for everyone to yell at each other for their respective ballots.
The first returns of the fan voting portion were released by the NBA and went exactly as expected, with Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose out totaling breakout stars Darius Garland and Fred VanVleet. Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rudy Gobert had fewer votes than Lakers bench player Carmelo Anthony.
While the fan vote can create some entertaining responses, HoopSocial ran its poll to select the all-star teams. Each person surveyed was allowed to name up to 12 players, including following the traditional two guards, three forward starters and seven bench players. All player positions were determined by NBA.com’s ballots, so centers counted as forwards. One voter insisted DeMar DeRozan was a forward vote, but his pick was quickly changed to guard.
The voting process brought back plenty of diverse opinions, but eventually, the list was cut down to 12 players in each conference. Without further ado, here are HoopSocial’s official all-star teams.
Western Conference – Starters
Stephen Curry, guard, Golden State Warriors (Unanimous choice)
Donovan Mitchell, guard, Utah Jazz
LeBron James, forward, Los Angeles Lakers (Unanimous choice)
Nikola Jokic, forward, Denver Nuggets (Unanimous choice)
Rudy Gobert, forward, Utah Jazz
Not much debate over three of the players selected. Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Nikola Jokic are consistently rated among the five best players in basketball and were picked unanimously.
Curry and the Warriors raced out to the best record in basketball and gave him plenty of early MVP buzz. He’s at 26.8 points per game, even though his efficiency has waned a bit in his last few games. Regardless, he was a lock for the team and is joined in the backcourt by Donovan Mitchell, who barely edged out Ja Morant and Luka Doncic is one of the tightest voting races of the poll.
Mitchell once again is proving to be one of the best guards in the NBA. He’s top 10 in the league in points per game (second among Western guards behind Curry) at 25.5 points per game. The Jazz also ranks at the top in offensive rating at 117.4, over three points higher than the second-best team.
The forwards didn’t have much debate. Jokic and James have carried teams in less than ideal situations, the Nuggets dealing with a plethora of injuries to key players, the Lakers dealing with Russell Westbrook. Those two have kept their respective teams afloat with elite-level play.
Gobert sneaks into the starting five ahead of the injured Paul George and Brandon Ingram in HoopSocial’s poll.
Currently ninth in the fan vote among Western forwards, the stifle tower leads a top-five defense in the NBA with his patented rim protection. While a lot of his work goes unnoticed on traditional stat lines, Gobert is making as big an impact as any player in the NBA.
Western Conference – Reserves
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzles
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans
Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns
Doncic was the next highest vote-getter, even with missing a handful of games early in the season. The Slovenian continues to put up strong numbers despite the belief that he’s isn’t at 100 percent.
He’s joined in the backcourt by first-time all-star Ja Morant, the breakout star of the NBA season. He narrowly missed out on a start but has propelled the Memphis Grizzles into a top-four seed in the conference.
Despite missing a little bit of time, Morant’s most significant rise has been his efficiency from the field. He’s at a career-high shooting percentage from the 3-point line and in his true shooting percentage, plus he’s scoring at over 70 percent of his attempts from 0-3 feet.
Outside of Morant, Paul George had several votes, but likely won’t be available for the game given his injury timeline. If he’s unavailable, our next highest vote-getter was Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins, who would be making his first all-star game appearance.
Missed the cut:
Wiggins, Kristaps Porzingis, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Damian Lillard, Anthony Edwards and Karl Anthony-Towns
Eastern Conference – Starters
DeMar DeRozan, guard, Chicago Bulls
Zach Lavine, guard, Chicago Bulls
Kevin Durant, forward, Brooklyn Nets (Unanimous choice)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, forward, Milwaukee Bucks (Unanimous choice)
Joel Embiid, forward, Philadelphia 76ers (Unanimous choice)
The forward spots were no debate whatsoever. Every voter had Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid on their ballots, and for a good reason. Embiid is currently carrying a Philadelphia team without Ben Simmons and is shooting nearly 40 percent from 3-point land.
Durant, debatably, has been the best player in basketball. He leads the NBA in points per game on his patented hyper-efficient game. Without Irving in his starting lineup most of the season and Harden working his way into shape, Durant has continued never to miss a beat and has the Nets among the contenders again.
While no guards were given a unanimous selection, the Chicago Bulls have been one of the season’s stories. The duo of DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine is among the best scoring duos in basketball and both were credited with all-star starter nods.
With DeRozan fourth and Lavine sixth in scoring, they’re the highest-scoring teammates in the NBA, ahead of Durant and James Harden. Lavine was named the starter by a tiebreaker vote over Harden, as the two were tied after the initial vote.
Eastern Conference – Reserves
James Harden, Brooklyn Nets
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers
With DeRozan and Jaylen Brown listed as guards for the ballot, the vote between those players became a lot tighter. That meant players like Fred VanVleet, Jrue Holiday and Bradley Beal were left off the roster, with Darius Garland getting the hometown bump on the tiebreaker.
Garland is well-deserving of the honor, however, given his breakout season. He’s at a career-high in points, assists, and true shooting percentage, while currently leading the upstart Cavs team to a playoff spot. He’s been dynamic with Cleveland’s new big lineup, showing his stature as one of the best passers in the game.
He’ll also be joined by first-time all-star LaMelo Ball, who surprisingly outranked VanVleet and Holiday for the final ballot. In his second year, Ball is the best pick of the 2020 NBA draft, averaging 19 points and nearly eight assists per game. He’s also continued to show his flair for the dramatics as a creative passer.
Missed the cut:
VanVleet, Bam Adebayo, Holiday, Beal, Jarrett Allen and Kris Middleton
That’s our ballot. Where did we miss? Who is the biggest snub?