If last season’s NBA All-Star Game was any indication, then the next generation of NBA talent is upon us. While the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry have been carrying the NBA for years now, the NBA will be in great hands as we slowly but surely transition to the next wave of NBA superstars.
This year, that trend looks to continue as plenty of new faces are ready to take their games to the All-Star level. So, that all being said, which first-time NBA All-Stars could we see earn a roster spot in 2021?
Potential 2021 First-Time NBA All-Stars
1. Jaylen Brown
Season Averages: 27.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.5 APG, 53.1 FG%, 44.3 FG3%
Starting off with the most obvious first-time NBA all-stars candidate, Jaylen Brown has been a man on a mission in 2021. While many look at the Boston Celtics and point to Jayson Tatum’s name as the primary option, Brown has elevated his game to Tatum’s level, and may have even surpassed it. Brown continues to add a new layer to his game season after season, and it has gotten him to where he is today at just the age of 24 years old.
The amount of NBA All-Star level of talent across the league makes it very difficult for any team to have two NBA All-Stars take part in the yearly festivities, but with a market as big as the Boston Celtics, and with the undeniable play of Brown this season, leaving Brown off the roster is criminal. He should not have to worry about that possibility, as if he is able to maintain his stellar level of play, he may even find a way to push his name into the starting five in the Eastern Conference.
Expect to see Jaylen Brown amongst the 2021 NBA All-Stars. Plain and simple.
2. Zach LaVine
Season Averages: 26.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.2 APG, 51.1 FG%, 41.6 FG%
Next up on the list of potential first-time NBA All-Stars is Zach LaVine. Once thought of as a pure athletic dunker, LaVine has improved as a well-rounded NBA player who is able to score at will against almost anybody. While the Chicago Bulls have been stuck in limbo as an organization for quite some time now, it has not slowed LaVine down a bit, as he continues to develop into one of the better young players in the NBA today.
LaVine’s ability to score the basketball has often been overlooked. With the Eastern Conference being as loaded as it has ever been this year, securing a spot amongst the NBA All-Stars this year will be extremely tough, as the field has never been this crowded. Despite this, LaVine may comfortably find himself gaining plenty of votes in the coming weeks, as fans and media should overlook his team’s mediocrity and see the talent that LaVine possesses.
3. Christian Wood
Season Averages: 23.6 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 55.3 FG%, 38 FG3%
One of the best “feel-good” stories of the NBA is Christian Wood. From benchwarmer to out of the league to borderline All-Star in 2021, Wood has had to work for every opportunity he has been given in his NBA career, and it is finally paying off. With the Detroit Pistons unwilling to pay up for the young star this offseason, he quickly jumped ship, joining the Houston Rockets in a move that will pay dividends for his career moving forward.
Despite having a handful of former All-Stars on the roster in John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Victor Oladipo, the future of the Houston Rockets focuses on Christian Wood. He is putting up career-high numbers across the board this season, making a strong case for Most Improved Player in the first chunk of the season. If Wood is able to secure a first-time NBA All-Stars selection this year, it may just cement his campaign as a breakout star in this league.
4. Julius Randle
Season Averages: 22.4 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 6.0 APG, 47.3 FG%, 37.5 FG3%
The New York Knicks are finally mediocre! If that is not the textbook definition of a back-handed compliment then I don’t know what is. For a franchise that has been considered the laughing stock of the NBA for years now, the Knicks are quietly building their young prospects into NBA caliber talent. At the forefront of that movement is Julius Randle.
The New York Knicks having a representative among the 2021 NBA All-Stars may be a significant challenge, as the Eastern Conference has plenty of talented bigs this year worthy of consideration. Randle’s evolution to an All-Star level talent has been huge for the Knicks, regardless if the former Kentucky big is voted as 2021 NBA All-Star, as the Knicks may slowly but surely be turning their luck around, especially with the play from R.J. Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, aside from Randle’s contributions.
5. Collin Sexton
Season Averages: 24 PPG, 4.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 50.4 FG%, 43.1 FG3%
The Cleveland Cavaliers have reason to be excited for the first time since LeBron James’ run in Ohio. Collin Sexton has made a tremendous leap this season that saw the Cavs reach the top of the Eastern Conference at the start of the 2021 season. They have since fallen a little back down to Earth, but currently hold the 7th seed in the East as of Monday afternoon. Ask anyone in Cleveland and they’ll tell you Sexton should be one of the first-time NBA all-stars.
Sexton is a workhorse that exemplifies what a little added effort and grit can do for a player. In his third season, Sexton has made great improvements as he has developed his consistency on both the offensive and defensive end. The Cavs are a young team building their core, and Sexton is at the helm of their future. Should Sexton miss out on this year’s NBA All-Star Game, I highly expect to see him at the annual festivities for the foreseeable future as Sexton has established himself as a worthy candidate capable of playing at that tier.
6. Zion Williamson
Season Averages: 23.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.3 APG, 58.7 FG%
If it was not already clear enough, Zion Williamson is being positioned as a future superstar in the NBA. Perhaps no other player in the league is more marketable than he is, which is why the New Orleans Pelicans are at all relevant in today’s NBA. Despite the team underperforming significantly thus far, Zion has not been responsible for the team’s shortcomings.
The viral sensation has shown that he is more than a few YouTube clicks on a nightly basis. His combination of size, speed, strength, and athleticism is built for the big stage, which is what will appeal to most voters this year. Zion’s game belongs amongst the NBA All-Stars, both for his level of talent and the massive spotlight that he attracts each game. Fans can confidently say that Zion will be a popular voting candidate this year as we urgently wait for the 20-year-old phenom to ascend to the next level, which may be coming sooner than expected.