Ranking the likeliest NBA players to make their All-Star debut this year

This year, several players are on the brink of the very real opportunity of making their first All-Star team. Here, we’ll rank 11 such talents – from speedy guards to nimble big men – who are making a real case for themselves to be added to the 2024 All-Star roster.

Check it out below:

Jalen Williams

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 stats: 18.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.1 spg, 54.4 FG% 

It may surprise people to see Jalen Williams on this list and as high up as he is. But that’s likely because most fans are still discovering what the sublime OKC team has to offer. Many already know the incandescent talent that is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, he of the yo-yo herky-jerky handle and midrange game. But along with Chet Holmgren, the Thunder have a legit Big Three.

Williams, of course, is the third star of that bright trio, and he’s a major reason why OKC sits at No. 2 in the Western Conference (just barely out of first place). The second-year player is shooting 45.5% from three and a remarkable 57.0% from two, along with 82.6% from the free-throw line.  

For the latest Jalen Williams rumors, click here.

Victor Wembanyama

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 stats: 20.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 2.9 apg, 3.2 bpg, 46.4 FG%

During the 2019-20 season, Atlanta was 15-41 at the All-Star break and yet their blossoming sophomore guard Trae Young was still named to the team. So, there’s at least some precedent for the bottom-feeding 2023-24 San Antonio Spurs and standout rookie centerpiece Victor Wembanyama, whose team is currently 8-35 with about a month left before the break. 

While Wemby isn’t averaging 29-plus points like Young was four years ago, he is leading the NBA in blocks at 3.2 per game and doing so in less than 30 minutes (he’s also averaging about 20 and 10). Not only that, but the league would love to feature the 7-foot-4 Frenchman this year in its signature showcase as seeing the Spurs center is truly something to behold. 

Everyone knows he’s tall, but up close, he’s GIANT, towering over even other centers. He’s also got handle, the ability to shoot from anywhere, quick hands and a knack for passing.

For the latest Victor Wembanyama rumors, click here.

Jamal Murray

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 stats: 21.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 6.5 apg, 0.8 spg, 47.8 FG%

Murray often being injured is the main reason why he’s never made the All-Star Game. (Aside from the fact the league is stacked with talent at the point guard position). This year, he’s already missed 14 games due to nagging issues. 

But none of that is to take away from his talent. Murray proved as much in last year’s playoffs, averaging 26.1 points, 7.1 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, helping to lead his Denver Nuggets to their first championship. No one doubts Murray’s skill. But as with most things in life, timing matters.

Still, given that the eight-year veteran has never been selected the All-Star game, maybe the coaches will vote him in as a reserve this year to ensure that he gets at least one star on his Basketball Reference page. He deserves it; the guy’s two-man game with two-time MVP center Nikola Jokic is prettier than a sunset.

For the latest Jamal Murray rumors, click here.

Tobias Harris

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 stats: 17.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.0 spg, 50.9 FG%

Tobias Harris isn’t necessarily having his best statistical year, but he is likely having his best overall one as a pro. Harris, who in the past has been forced to play the role of corner three-point shooter on a good team or bucket-getter on a bad one, is doing it all for the 76ers this year while also shooting a near-career high from the field.

The 13-year vet is a major reason why Philadelphia is near the top of the standings in the Eastern Conference. While in past seasons the forward’s nearly $38 million contract might make him a likely trade candidate, he’s simply playing too well for Philly to deal him. In many ways, Harris is the X-factor for his team’s success.

Sure, Philadelphia has stars like Joel Embiid, but Harris often defends the opposing squad’s best player, is scoring nearly 18 points per game, is rebounding well and is shooting 50.9 percent from the field (along with 35.9 percent from three). Though he likely won’t make the All-Star team this year, he’s definitely worth consideration.

For the latest Tobias Harris rumors, click here.

Scottie Barnes

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 stats: 20.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 5.7 apg, 1.3 spg, 48.0 FG% 

Scottie Barnes had something of a disappointing campaign in his sophomore season after winning Rookie of the Year. The swingman from the Toronto Raptors, however, has more than made up for it in 2023-24.

Not only is his scoring up from 15.3 points per game to 20.2, but his assist, rebound, steal and block numbers are also higher than his previous two seasons in T-dot. Barnes is a one-man wrecking crew for the Raptors, using his big body to rebound and defend and his skills to handle the ball and distribute to open teammates.

He’s the reason why GM Masai Ujiri ultimately felt comfortable trading cornerstones OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam away this year. In Barnes he trusts. Really, the only reason why Barnes wouldn’t make the All-Star team is because the Raptors are 16-28, which is good for 12th place in the East. But his raw talent and numbers say he’s deserving.

For the latest Scottie Barnes rumors, click here.

Chet Holmgren

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 stats: 17.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, 2.6 bpg 54.1 FG%

The “red shirt rookie,” as ESPN’s Tim MacMahon has dubbed him, Oklahoma City Thunder center Chet Holmgren is having a better season this year than anyone outside his family could have imagined. The knock on Holmgren coming into the league was that he was too thin for the NBA, that bruisers would beat him up. 

But so far, that just hasn’t been the case. Okay, on the occasional night, he still might look like a rookie out there, but on most nights, the seven-footer has a nastiness and a snarl about him that makes him seem like a five-year veteran (the new beard really helps). 

He can score, shoot (he’s averaging 38.2 percent from three), handle the ball and defend like one of the best in basketball (he’s currently averaging 2.6 blocks per game). Chet has also got to be one of the top players many executives would pick to start their team with from scratch.

For the latest Chet Holmgren rumors, click here.

Paolo Banchero

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 stats: 22.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 4.8 apg, 1.0 spg, 45.0 FG% 

Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Paolo Banchero is the centerpiece of a rising Orlando Magic roster. The Duke product is a natural power forward but he can also slide into small ball center and even handle the ball as the hub of the team’s offense. Today, the Magic are squarely in the playoff picture and it’s largely due to Paolo (especially with Franz Wagner out lately). 

More than any stat from his 22.5 points per game to his 7.0 rebounds and nearly five assists –  Banchero gives the Magic that star presence that the Floridian team has sorely lacked since the departure of Dwight Howard. He’s the kind of end-of-game scorer who’s essential to winning. Without Paolo, the team would merely be plucky. 

But he makes them dangerous. If the Magic keep winning and rise up from their current 8th-place slot in the East (earlier this year, they were hovering around a top-four seed), then Banchero is a sure-fire All-Star.

For the latest Paolo Banchero rumors, click here.

Derrick White

Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports
Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 stats: 16.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.8 apg, 1.2 bpg, 47.2 FG% 

It’s true that Derrick White isn’t exactly a household NBA name. But the first place Boston Celtics wouldn’t be where they are today without his steady point guard play, incredible defense, heady rebounding and 40.4 percent shooting from three.

While other players may grab the headlines White is probably the least well known of Boston’s starting-five it’s White who is perhaps the most valuable Celtic. Though his stats are strong, it’s hard to precisely quantify just what he brings to the team in terms of intangibles. White he won’t get voted in by the fans, the coaches may just elect him to the team given his cerebral game, big heart and steady hand.

For the latest Derrick White rumors, click here.

Alperen Sengun

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

2023-24 stats: 22.0 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.2 spg, 53.8 FG% 

While the Rockets are on the edge of the play-in tournament, currently sitting at No. 11 in the West at 20-22, they have been one of the surprise teams. And it’s largely thanks to the player many affectionately dub “Discount Jokic.” 

Not only does the third-year big man score and rebound at an elite level, but he’s averaging a whopping five assists per game. He makes his teammates better, which is no easy task for one comprised of mostly young guys. For Sengun, who was picked 16th in the 2021 draft, the Rockets have become his team. You can just tell Coach Ime Udoka trusts him. 

Get him at the nail from 16 feet and he’s a killer with a drive, jumper or pass. Even if Sengun doesn’t make the All-Star roster this season, he’ll almost surely make one in the near future. Even from the center position in a league full of athletic wings, he’s just that well-rounded, impactful and helpful.

For the latest Alperen Sengun rumors, click here.

Jalen Brunson

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 stats: 26.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 6.5 apg, 1.0 spg, 47.5 FG%

In basketball terms, Jalen Brunson is a killer. While standout coach Becky Hammon recently said that short players like Jalen can’t be a team’s No. 1 option if they want to go far in the playoffs, the 6-foot-2 Brunson may yet prove her wrong. He’s a hoops assassin, capable of scoring amongst the league’s best while making it look facile.

Despite averaging 24.0 points per game last season for the New York Knicks, Brunson didn’t make the All-Star team. But that’s not likely to happen again this year. Sometimes voters need to see those stats carry over to the following season to be sure a player’s deserving, which is why Brunson is likely to make the team this go-round.

Without him, the Knicks, which are currently fifth in the East, would be dead in the water. He’s the reason the team felt comfortable going all in and adding OG Anunoby in a recent trade with Toronto. He’s the engine that makes the team from Manhattan go, averaging 35 points per game in a recent string (not to mention this incredible social media video).

For the latest Jalen Brunson rumors, click here.

Tyrese Maxey

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

2023-24 stats: 25.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.7 apg, 1.1 spg, 44.9 FG% 

Has anyone made a bigger leap this season than Tyrese Maxey? From 20.3 points per game last year to 25.8 this year. From 3.5 assists to 6.7. From 2.9 boards to 3.7. He’s left the entirety of Philly saying, “James Harden Who?” Maxey is the perfect lead guard next to the imposing center and reigning MVP, Joel Embiid. 

He can take over a quarter, win a game on a buzzer-beater, or set up the big fella. And he does it while being a positive presence in a locker room that’s seen its fair share of discontent. In a league where all you need to win are two stars and a collection of excellent role players, the 76ers are set thanks to the rise of Maxey, the former 21st pick in 2020.

Before the season, many thought Philly should trade Maxey to Portland for Damian Lillard. But now? The 76ers would hang up the phone if Milwaukee proposed a swap of Dame for Maxey today (and Dame is playing well!). It’s just a testament to how talented the 23-year-old is and how much higher he may still climb.

For the latest Tyrese Maxey rumors, click here.

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Story originally appeared on HoopsHype