He wasn't named a starter, but Luka Doncic could very well hear his name called tonight when the reserves for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game are announced.
Prior to their matchup with the Detroit Pistons on Thursday, Doncic is averaging 20.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game on a Dallas Mavericks team that is still in the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
The notion that Doncic could make the All-Star team isn't entirely unheard of. Both Dirk Nowitzki and Rick Carlisle discussed the potential following the Mavericks win in Charlotte while we had our very own debate right here at NBA.com.
Though it's now relatively rare, there is a rich history of rookies to make the All-Star team.
Here are all 45 players that have done it.
Blake Griffin - 2011
After sitting out the 2009-10 season with an injury after being drafted first overall in 2009, Griffin was dominant from Day 1 during his rookie season in 2010-11.
He dropped 20 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in his NBA debut and would go on to average 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game as a rookie.
Not only was he a unanimous Rookie of the Year winner, Griffin finished tied for 10th in MVP voting.
Yao Ming - 2003
Yao Ming was larger than life as a basketball pioneer from China. Due to his immense popularity overseas, Yao was voted in as the starting centre in the Western Conference, beating out Shaquille O'Neal.
In fact, Yao finished second in All-Star voting in the Western Conference behind only Kobe Bryant.
That shouldn't take away from the fact that he was impact early on with the Houston Rockets as he averaged 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game in 2002-03 while appearing in all 82 games.
Tim Duncan - 1998
Not only was Duncan an All-Star as a rookie, he was one of the best players in the entire league as he became the first player since Larry Bird in 1979-80 to be named first-team All-NBA.
He averaged 21.1 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game for the Spurs in 1997-98, the first of 19 seasons with the Spurs. Duncan would go on to make 15 All-Star teams.
Grant Hill - 1995
How popular was Grant Hill as a rookie?
He led all players in All-Star voting.
Hill would go on to share Rookie of the Year honours with Jason Kidd after averaging 19.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game. He scored 10 points in the All-Star Game while wearing those legendary dessert threads.
Shaquille O'Neal - 1993
From the moment he stepped on the floor with the Orlando Magic, Shaq was the most physically imposing force in the NBA.
Coming along in a golden age of centres that included Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo and Alonzo Mourning among others, O'Neal proved he more than belonged while averaging 23.4 points, 13.9 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game as a rookie.
O'Neal scored 14 points in his first All-Star game.
Dikembe Mutombo - 1992
Mutombo ranked among the most dominant defensive players in the NBA from the start, averaging 3.0 blocks per game as a rookie which foreshadowed a Hall of Fame career in which he would lead the league blocks three times while winning four Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Mutombo averaged 16.6 points per game as a rookie which would actually go on to be a career-high as he never scored more than 14 points per game for the rest of his career.
David Robinson - 1990
Robinson came to the NBA as a chiseled 24-year old Navy veteran. As a rookie, The Admiral averaged 24.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 3.9 blocks per game, showcasing a full arsenal on both ends of the floor. The Spurs went 56-26 with Robinson as a rookie after winning just 21 games the year prior.
Robinson's immediate impact as a rookie and immediate turnaround for the franchise foreshadowed the arrival of Tim Duncan a decade later.
Patrick Ewing - 1986
Perhaps the most revered player in the history of the Knicks entered the NBA a legend following a dominant college career at Georgetown. The No. 1 pick in the 1985 draft, Ewing averaged 20.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game as a rookie and became the first Kncks rookie in over two decades to win Rookie of the Year.
An 11-time All-Star, Ewing helped usher in a golden age of centres. No Knicks player that's come along since has been able to capture the hearts and minds of Knicks faithful in the way that Ewing was able to do in Madison Square Garden.
Michael Jordan - 1985
Jordan started the All-Star game as a rookie and would go on to win Rookie of the Year while pouring in over 28 points per game. Since the NBA-ABA merger, no other rookie has come close to matching Jordan's prolific scoring ability. He finished third in the league in scoring as a rookie, foreshadowing a career in which he won 10 scoring titles, by far the most in NBA history.
Despite the Bulls winning just 38 games his rookie season, Jordan finished sixth in MVP voting while receiving a pair of first-place votes. It was clear from the beginning that the next 15 years would belong to His Airness.
Hakeem Olajuwon - 1985
Olajuwon was good enough as rookie - 20.6 points, 11.9 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 1.2 steals per game - to steal 20 first-place votes for Rookie of the Year from Michael Jordan. The Dream made the All-Star team in 12 of his first 13 seasons, the lone exception in 1990-91 when he missed all of January and February but still managed to league the lead in blocks per game.
The Complete List
Those are the most recent rookies to make the All-Star team. Here is the complete list:
|1971-72||Sidney Wicks||Trail Blazers|
|1970-71||Geoff Petrie||Trail Blazers|