Early NBA All-Star predictions: How many Sixers are in contention?

Joel Embiid, Sixers All-Star (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Sixers All-Star (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

Western Conference NBA All-Star predictions

Starting Five

Stephen Curry, Warriors: Golden State has struggled, relatively speaking, out of the gates, but the tides are turning in their favor. Largely due to the impressive, MVP-level basketball of Stephen Curry. His efficiency is back to absurd levels (.502/.436/.908) and his unique style continues to elevate those around him.

Luka Doncic, Mavericks: Luka Doncic would be the runaway MVP favorite if the Celtics (and by extension Jayson Tatum) weren’t obliterating every team in their path right now. Doncic is leading the NBA in scoring (32.9) while contributing prolifically in the other primary statistical categories too. He’s shooting 50.1 percent from the field (the highest mark of his career) and his best teammate is who, Dorian Finney-Smith?

Zion Williamson, Pelicans: The former No. 1 pick is rapidly ascending into the upper-echelon of NBA stardom for the current No. 1 seed in the West. Zion Williamson is still the most unstoppable interior scorer in the game, as well as a legitimate lead creator for the Pelicans offense. He’s even starting to turn the corner defensively.

Domantas Sabonis, Kings: In all honestly, LeBron James will probably get this spot because of fan voting and his indelible reputation. But the Kings are 4.5 games ahead of LA in the standings and Domantas Sabonis has been the impressive orbital center of that offense, obliterating defenders in the post and supplying a steady source of playmaking from the elbows. His incredible precision, both as a scorer and a passer, has unlocked Sacramento’s suddenly elite offense. He deserves all the credit in the world.

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets: Despite noticeable dips in scoring volume and aggressiveness, the Nuggets still plummet off a cliff whenever Nikola Jokic sits. He’s on track for career-high assist numbers (9.1 per game) and his efficiency hasn’t slipped at all. There’s still nobody who can blend blunt force dominance and creativity-driven finesse like the two-time reigning MVP.


Devin Booker, Suns: The sheer volume of elite talent in the NBA is doing Devin Booker no favors here. In almost any other season, it feels like he would be an All-Star starter and a leading MVP candidate. The backcourt depth in the West is out of control right now. Booker has captained Phoenix’s elite two-way attack and helped the Suns to overcome multiple key absences.

Ja Morant, Grizzlies: Similarly to Booker, we’d probably be talking a lot more about Ja Morant’s MVP chances in a “normal” season. He is once again leading one of the youngest teams in the NBA to the top of his conference. Morant is one of one, a truly unique slasher who defenses basically can’t keep out of the paint no matter how hard they try.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder: OKC’s overall struggles could hurt Shai Gilgeous-Alexander once February rolls around, but the production is undeniable. He’s one of the best individual scorers in the NBA right now (30.8 points per game on 50.1 percent shooting) and he looks like a player who can one day lead the charge for a contender.

Anthony Davis, Lakers: What a season for Anthony Davis. Written off by many before the season, Davis has turned back to clock and dominated both sides of the ball. LA’s struggles hurt his case, but few players have influenced both sides of the ball to the extent Davis has.

Andrew Wiggins, Warriors: It would appear that Wiggins’ 2022 All-Star appearance was less of a fluke than anticipated. He has crystalized his role as Golden State’s 3-and-D expert, a model of efficiency and steadfast wing defense — quite the surprise for those who remember his first few years in Minnesota.

Paul George, Clippers: The Clippers have been able to survive countless injury scares in large part due to Paul George’s steadfast presence (when he himself hasn’t been hurt). It hasn’t been George’s most explosive season, but the production is there and he’s one of the most reliable two-way stars in the NBA.

LeBron James, Lakers: James has conceded lead scoring duties to AD for the most part and the Lakers aren’t really good enough to have two All-Stars. But he’s LeBron and the numbers, however milquetoast in comparison to other LeBron seasons, are still remarkable (25.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists).

Honorable mentions: Anthony Edwards (Timberwolves), Lauri Markkanen (Jazz), Jerami Grant (Blazers), Anfernee Simons (Blazers), De’Aaron Fox (Kings), Deandre Ayton (Suns), Brandon Ingram (Pelicans), Desmond Bane (Grizzlies)