The likeliest players to make their All-NBA debut this season

Right now, there are 26 active NBA players who have been All-Stars in their careers but who have yet to make an All-NBA Team, which is arguably the league’s highest individual honor besides winning Most Valuable Player or Finals MVP.

That list features some huge names, including Zion WilliamsonAnthony EdwardsBam Adebayo, Brandon Ingram and Jalen Brunson.

Several of those players stand a good chance of making their All-NBA debuts in the 2023-24 season. Today, let’s explore the most likely candidates to achieve this milestone.

Jalen Brunson (New York)

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

2023-24 stats: 27.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.4 apg, 1.0 spg, 40.0 3PT%
Global rating ranking:
9th overall

Without a doubt one of the best lead guards in the NBA this season, there’s a high likelihood that New York Knicks ball-handler Jalen Brunson will make his All-NBA debut at campaign’s end. Brunson was already a first-time All-Star this season, marking this is as easily the best campaign of his pro career so far.

According to our Global Rating metric, Brunson is in line for 2nd Team All-NBA this season while VORP and BPM agree, with both advanced metrics placing him among the league’s 10-best players in 2023-24.

Brunson has the Knicks playing some of their best basketball in a long time and considering his playoff career averages (23.9 points on 47.0 percent shooting over 29 games in his last two postseason appearances), there’s no question he can do it on the highest of stages, too, as the former Villanova standout has established himself as one of the best guards in the league.

For Jalen Brunson’s contract and salary info, click here.

Anthony Edwards (Minnesota)

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 stats: 26.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.3 spg, 46.7 FG%
Global rating ranking:
14th overall

Brunson seems like a lock to make his All-NBA debut this season, as does Minnesota Timberwolves star 2-guard Anthony Edwards, who has developed into arguably the best pure shooting guard in the league this year.

According to our Global Rating metric, Edwards (along with Brunson) should be the 2nd Team All-NBA guards for 2023-24. BPM and VORP aren’t quite as high on Edwards, though, as the former No. 1 overall pick ranks merely Top 25 in the former and Top 20 in the latter.

Regardless, even if the award voters steer particularly towards the analytical data for their All-NBA votes, Edwards should at worst make 3rd Team All-NBA this year, as not only is he putting up huge numbers, he also has his Timberwolves sitting among the Top 3 teams in the Western Conference.

For Anthony Edwards’ contract and salary info, click here.

Zion Williamson (New Orleans)

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

2023-24 stats: 22.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.1 apg, 0.9 spg, 58.2 FG%
Global rating ranking:
42nd overall

Beyond Brunson and Edwards, the likelihood of players making their All-NBA debuts in 2023-24 quickly decreases, but there are still promising candidates in the mix who could secure their first All-NBA recognition this season.

One such candidate is New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson, which speaks to his dedication and the turnaround he’s had this campaign considering what the talking points were earlier in 2023-24. Lest we forget, much of the discussion surrounding the former No. 1 overall pick before January dealt with Williamson being out of shape or was about what he was doing off the court and not so much about his play.

That has changed of late, though, as the former Duke standout has averaged 24.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists over his last 20 games while shooting 56.9 percent from the floor. What’s more, the Pelicans have gone 13-7 in those contests and currently sit fifth in the loaded Western Conference, over two games ahead of the Play-In Tournament spots.

Williamson currently sits 25th in VORP and 21st in BPM despite missing out on All-Star honors this season. Is that All-NBA level? It’s probably just below it, which our own Global Rating metric agrees with, as our stat thinks Williamson would make 5th Team All-NBA this campaign if such a level existed.

Even so, there’s still a small outside chance Williamson makes it. More likely, however, is that he will carry over this level of play into 2024-25 and earn All-NBA honors for the first time next year.

For Zion Williamson’s contract and salary info, click here.

Paolo Banchero (Orlando)

Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports
Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 stats: 22.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.0 spg, 46.4 FG%
Global rating ranking:
29th overall

Another former No. 1 overall pick who has performed at a near All-NBA level this season is Orlando Magic point-forward Paolo Banchero. Banchero has the Magic firmly in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, sitting fifth in the East and over two games ahead of the Play-In picture.

However, even despite the former Duke Blue Devil upping his three-point percentage to 36.7 percent this year (up from 29.8 percent his rookie year), the advanced analytics still aren’t enamored with his game, as Banchero sits just 53rd in BPM this season and 43rd in VORP for 2023-24.

On the other hand, our own Global Rating metric believes the talented forward would make 4th Team All-NBA this year if that existed, so our stat is a little more bullish on Banchero’s 2023-24 contributions.

Banchero making his All-NBA debut this season is looking somewhat unlikely (he should receive some consideration in the form of 3rd Team votes) but his excellent sophomore season has added to the belief that he’ll be an All-NBA player sooner rather than later in his career.

For Paolo Banchero’s contract and salary info, click here.

Victor Wembanyama (San Antonio)

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 stats: 20.8 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 3.5 apg, 3.5 bpg, 46.7 FG%
Global rating ranking:
77th overall

Since 1979-80, only four players have made an All-NBA team in their rookie season, all of them legends and all first-ballot Hall-of-Famers. Those names are Larry BirdMichael JordanDavid Robinson and Tim Duncan. Coincidentally enough, the rookie who’s had the strongest shot to earn All-NBA honors in quite some time is another San Antonio Spurs big man, Victor Wembanyama.

Some factors are hurting Wembanyama’s case, however, despite his individual brilliance, which has shone even more brightly of late, with the former No. 1 pick averaging 22.7 points, 11.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.6 steals and 4.6 blocks on 36.9 percent shooting from three over his last 14 games.

For starters, his Spurs are 15-53, the third-worst record in the NBA this year. It’s tough to fault Wembanyama for that but it is the reality. Furthermore, some of the advanced stats don’t love his output, as the French native sits 135th in Win Shares this year and 131st in Win Shares/48 Minutes. (He does rank roughly in the Top 20 of both BPM and VORP, though.)

In addition, Wembanyama missed out on receiving All-Star honors this season, giving him an even higher mountain to climb as far as getting named to an All-NBA team, as it becomes tougher to receive the latter honor in campaigns you missed out on the former.

In the past 10 seasons, only seven players have made an All-NBA team in a year they weren’t an All-Star: Jimmy Butler, Pascal Siakam, Rudy GobertDeAndre JordanDamian LillardGoran Dragic and Al Jefferson.

None of them were rookies.

Additionally, not only were they all veterans but also on teams that had winning records by year’s end, meaning Wembanyama would really be bucking the trend if he were able to pull off All-NBA status in his first season.

The fact we’re even considering the possibility just speaks to how brilliant the big French shot-blocker has been as a rookie, and to the ceiling he has. We’re probably looking at a future MVP here and at a player who should have multiple 1st Team All-NBAs to his credit by the time he retires.

For Victor Wembanyama’s contract and salary info, click here.

Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia)

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 stats: 26.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 6.2 apg, 1.0 spg, 44.9 FG%
Global rating ranking:
17th overall

A player who might have a higher chance to make their All-NBA debut this season than given credit for is Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey.

Maxey looked well on his way to accomplishing the feat earlier in the season but his play tapered off a bit (until recently) and the 76ers have been heading downhill since losing reigning MVP Joel Embiid to a knee injury.

Still, Maxey is charging back up the potential All-NBA rankings with his play of late, as the former Kentucky standout is averaging 30.0 points, five rebounds and six assists on 39.3 percent shooting from three over his last three games, really putting the Sixers on his back as they try to stay afloat in Embiid’s absence.

As of now, our Global Rating metric believes Maxey would make 4th Team All-NBA if the season ended today (and if such a thing existed), meaning the 23-year-old star is right on the cusp of All-NBA in the eyes of our statistic.

For Tyrese Maxey’s contract and salary info, click here.

Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana)

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 stats: 20.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 11.3 apg, 1.1 spg, 47.6 FG%
Global rating ranking:
43rd overall

What looked possible, if not likely, around six weeks ago now looks pretty improbable as Indiana Pacers lead guard Tyrese Haliburton, once looking like an All-NBA lock, has seen injury and a serious downtick in efficiency severely hurt his All-NBA prospects.

Haliburton missed a little over two weeks ago back in January with an ugly hamstring injury before returning, albeit looking like a shell over his pre-January self.

Over 32 games before Jan. 8, Haliburton was putting up 24.2 points and 12.7 assists per game while shooting 40.4 percent from three and leading the Pacers to the championship game of the In-Season Tournament. Since returning from the hamstring injury, however, the former Iowa State Cyclone is averaging 15.6 points and 9.2 assists on 28.2 percent shooting from three. As of this writing, Haliburton has hit just six of his last 36 three-point attempts (16.7 percent).

Our Global Rating metric has Haliburton on 6th Team All-NBA if the season were to end today, which is unfortunate considering how excellently he started off the year. Haliburton also has a lot riding on making his All-NBA debut campaign this year because his contract extension, which kicks in next season, would be for 30 percent off the cap if he makes All-NBA for 2023-24 as opposed to 25 percent if he were to miss out on All-NBA, which is looking more likely at this point.

For Tyrese Haliburton’s contract and salary info, click here.

Honorable mentions: Bam Adebayo (Miami), Alperen Sengun (Houston)

Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Now for a couple of serious long shots who had stronger All-NBA cases a month-plus ago, two elite young centers, Houston Rockets big man Alperen Sengun and versatile Miami Heat big Bam Adebayo, looked like they had a chance to make their All-NBA debuts this campaign.

But Sengun, unfortunately, suffered an ugly leg injury that luckily wasn’t worse, pretty much ending his All-NBA chances for this season,  while Adebayo, who made All-Star in 2023-24 for the third time in his career, has been let down by his team. Miami, once again in the Play-In picture, just hasn’t been good enough to earn an All-NBA player this year – especially not a debutant.

Story originally appeared on HoopsHype