The results are almost here.
On Thursday, Feb. 18 (ET), the starters for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game will be announced.
Who should those starters be? Our NBA.com Staff give their picks ahead of the big reveal.
Vote for NBA All-Stars here!
|Yash Matange||Scott Rafferty||Carlan Gay||Juan Estévez|
|Guard||Donovan Mitchell||Damian Lillard||Damian Lillard||Damian Lillard|
|Guard||Stephen Curry||Stephen Curry||Stephen Curry||Stephen Curry|
|Frontcourt||LeBron James||LeBron James||LeBron James||LeBron James|
|Frontcourt||Kawhi Leonard||Kawhi Leonard||Kawhi Leonard||Kawhi Leonard|
|Frontcourt||Nikola Jokic||Nikola Jokic||Nikola Jokic||Nikola Jokic|
Yash Matange (@yashmatange2694): Winning must be rewarded, which is why I've got Mitchell as one of my starting guards.
At 22-5, the Utah Jazz have been the best team in the league, and the 6-foot-4 guard is averaging career-highs in nearly major stat category with 24.2 points, 5.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds while knocking down a career-high 3.5 3-pointers at a career-high 39.7 percent clip.
Given the balanced nature of the Jazz's play, Mitchell isn't the only reason for the team's success, but he's certainly among the biggest.
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): James, Leonard and Jokic are all locks as far as I'm concerned. It's the backcourt where it gets interesting because a strong case can be made for a variety of players, namely Curry, Lillard and Luka Doncic.
It feels weird not having one of them starting, as Curry, Lillard and Doncic are each having terrific seasons. When I did this exercise a couple of weeks ago, I had Lillard and Doncic as the starters. Right now, I'm leaning towards Lillard and Curry, partly due to team success. The Dallas Mavericks have been better lately, but the Golden State Warriors are still ahead of them in the standings and the Portland Trail Blazers somehow have the fifth-best record in the Western Conference despite being down two starters due to injury.
Team record matters less for me when picking All-Stars compared to All-NBA, but when it's this much of a coin flip, it feels like a worthy tiebreaker.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): I don't really feel like there should be much debate here. It was relatively easy for me to pick these five starters in the West. I love what the Jazz and Mitchell are doing and he'll make the team, but it shouldn't be over Curry and Lillard as a starter.
Utah has been great all year and Mitchell deserves some of the credit for that, but so does Rudy Gobert. In fact, you can argue Gobert has been a bit more impactful than Mitchell on the Jazz's success, but that's a different conversation for another day.
Luka has also been, well ... Luka this season. He'll be an All-Star as well but I can't pick him as a starter over Lillard and Curry, who are both having better years in my opinion.
Juan Estévez (@JuanEstevez90): The West backcourt is the most difficult selection in this process because we have at least four players with a legitimate case of being picked: Curry, Lillard, Mitchell and Doncic.
It's tough, but I'll go with Dame and Steph.
Lillard has been the main reason the Blazers have a 16-10 record even though they have been without four of their five starters at times. He has been a little more consistent and productive than Mitchell, and it's hard to pick Doncic when the Mavs have been one of the bigger disappointments of the season so far, even when he clearly has the numbers to back his potential All-Star selection.
As for Curry, he's in the MVP conversation and I think the Warriors are overachieving, so there's not a lot to debate there in my opinion.
|Yash Matange||Scott Rafferty||Carlan Gay||Juan Estévez|
|Guard||Bradley Beal||James Harden||James Harden||Kyrie Irving|
|Guard||Jaylen Brown||Bradley Beal||Jaylen Brown||Jaylen Brown|
|Frontcourt||Kevin Durant||Kevin Durant||Kevin Durant||Kevin Durant|
|Frontcourt||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Giannis Antetokounmpo|
|Frontcourt||Joel Embiid||Joel Embiid||Joel Embiid||Joel Embiid|
Yash Matange: The frontcourt is pretty simple. I know I mentioned winning while discussing the West guards, but I've got Beal as one of my Eastern Conference guards even though the Washington Wizards have the worst record in the league.
Beal's 32.9 points per game is not only a career-high but leads the entire league. And a big reason for the Wizards struggling this season have been because of injuries and Health and Safety protocols. Unlike last season, the team's record can't completely be used to pull Beal down, because he's playing brilliantly.
He's scored 24 or more in all but one game, including tying the franchise record of 60, also a career-high.
Scott Rafferty: Three more no-brainers in Durant, Antetokounmpo and Embiid, each of whom are in the MVP mix this season. Once again, the backcourt is where it gets interesting.
Harden gets one of my spots. He's been terrific since being traded to the Brooklyn Nets, averaging a near triple-double with 23.0 points, 11.6 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game. There were a lot of questions as to how it would work in Brooklyn with three ball-dominant players, but Harden becoming more of a facilitator has helped the Nets hit the ground running.
As for the other spot, I gave a lot of consideration to Brown, Irving and Trae Young before ultimately settling on Beal. Like Yash mentioned, he's having another absurd season scoring the ball. With an average of 32.9 points per game, he's on pace to have the 22nd highest single-season scoring average in NBA history. He's also been scoring with decent efficiency, posting .471/.339/.897 shooting splits as of this writing.
The Wizards have been bad, but Beal has been ridiculously good.
Carlan Gay: I told myself I wasn't going to hold Washington's record against Beal, and I think I was able to give him a fair shake. Beal should still be an All-Star - he's having a terrific year, no question about it. I just believe Brown is more deserving of a starting spot.
Brown isn't leading the league in scoring or in any statistical category, but the Boston Celtics have dealt with the same injury and health and safety issues that Washington has, and Brown has kept them afloat with his play.
And as good as Beal has been on a bad team, when you look at VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) he's currently tied with Brown at 1.4, meaning both have had the same impact on their individual teams. Brown has been spectacular and deserves recognition for it. Beal will make the team, he just shouldn't be as a starter in my opinion - especially when there's a comparable option to put in his place.
Juan Estévez: I also won't pick Beal for the same reason I didn't pick Luka - he has been amazing scoring the ball, but the Wizards have the worst record in the East and, to be honest, the St. Louis native has a role in that, especially with his lack of defence. Also, he has the highest usage rate in the league this season but has not shot the ball particularly well from outside (33.9 percent from 3-point range).
All-Star selection? Sure. But not a starter for me.
Instead, I will go with two players who have not only produced great numbers like Beal but also play on teams that are near the top of the Eastern Conference standings: Irving and Brown. Picking both of them over Harden is hard, but we can't forget about how Harden started the season with the Houston Rockets.
The frontcourt is the same situation as in the West - three names are clearly above the others, with Durant, Antetokounmpo and Embiid taking those spots.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.