Thoughts on the 2022 NBA All-Star Rosters, and Participants for the Festivities

February 4th, 2022

By Alan Lu

Two of the biggest stars in the game, Kevin Durant and LeBron James are both NBA All-Stars this year.
(Photo: Bob Donnan/NBC Sports)

Hello, readers!  I’ve been slightly under the weather all week, so I’ll try to keep it brief, but yesterday, the reserves were announced for the 2022 NBA All-Star game.  One injured player that was announced to the Western Conference All-Star team this year already has been said to decline the invite in advance, so that will open up a spot for another player as a replacement for him.

In the meantime, here is the Eastern Conference All-Stars, and my thoughts on how I feel how they did in making their picks for the squad.

2022 NBA Eastern Conference All-Star Starters

C Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
F Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
F Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
G DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls
G Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

2022 NBA Eastern Conference All-Star Reserves

G-F Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
G Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers
G James Harden, Brooklyn Nets
G Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
F Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
F Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
G Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors

2022 NBA Western Conference All-Star Starters

C Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
F LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
F Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors
G Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
G Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

2022 NBA Western Conference All-Star Reserves

G Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
G-F Luka Doncic, Milwaukee Bucks
C Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
F Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
G Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
G Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns
C Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

Generally, I like the picks that the people made, and I have no real objections to the list of All-Stars that were selected to this game.  Overall, in making my selections in my personal blog, I only had two players that didn’t end up getting selected to the 2022 NBA All-Star Game.  I had left off Jayson Tatum and Andrew Wiggins off the picks I had made on my personal blog three weeks ago, but I am happy both have gotten into the 2022 NBA All-Star game.  I did pick both Fred VanVleet and Darius Garland to make my Eastern Conference reserves.  VanVleet has been a good player for a long time, and it’s good to see him get rewarded for his strong play this year.  Garland has been playing very well on a soaring Cleveland Cavaliers’ team.  I wanted to see if I could find a spot for LaMelo Ball out on the East squad, but it was a crowded field, so I ended up leaving him off.  He’s a really good player though, and I feel he’ll make an All-Star team one of these days.

In the Eastern Conference, I did pick a Boston Celtic, but I had picked Jaylen Brown instead of Jayson Tatum.  Selecting between which Celtic should get in was a hard one for me, because I felt that Brown had better shooting percentages, but Tatum had better per-game numbers.  I also thought though that the Celtics were underachieving, so they didn’t deserve two All-Stars this year, unless if some of the players that already have made it decide to not attend the game. I also thought about the idea of picking a fellow St. Louis native in Bradley Beal for this year’s game (as he’s been a fun scorer and versatile offensive player over the years) but passed on that, as he’s not shooting the three-ball very well, he hasn’t played great defense, and the Wizards have been slumping right now.

In the Western Conference, I had picked Anthony Edwards for the final spot out in the West, and Andrew Wiggins didn’t make my initial squad of whom I would pick when I decided to make picks of who I would select several weeks ago.  I wanted to reward Anthony Edwards for his strong play this season, and I feel that the Minnesota Timberwolves are currently over-achieving, playing better than expected, and yet are also finally playing closer to their true potential.  As Draymond Green has been said to be turning down the invite due to being injured, there is a chance Anthony Edwards could get in anyways as a replacement for him.  That said, Andrew Wiggins is shooting the ball very well, and the Golden State Warriors are one of the best teams in the NBA, and it’s good to see that the Warriors are being rewarded for having a very good season this year.

As for the All-Star starters, some of you would find it curious about some of the players I left off there.  I am well-aware that Joel Embiid is playing very well and is having a near MVP-level worthy season, but I felt that Jimmy Butler is also playing very well, and stylistically, it would be more fun to have Butler out there, as the Eastern Conference would play a faster, more up-tempo lineup, because they could then have Giannis essentially operate as a point center, but both Butler and Embiid made the All-Star team regardless. I also voted for James Harden instead of Trae Young on my ballot. I had them both make my All-Star team, and Trae Young is playing very well, but I knocked him a little bit because the Atlanta Hawks are underperforming considerably this season. I still picked Trae Young to make my All-Star team, though, and he’s well-deserving of making the team this year.

I was going to pick Stephen Curry as my first Western Conference All-Star guard to vote for, so that left it between Ja Morant and Luka Doncic for my other guard to vote for in the West.  It was a really tough one, because I wanted to see if I could vote Luka in as a front-court option, since he’s tall enough to play small forward, but they wouldn’t let me.  Both were well-deserving of my vote, but I felt that Ja edged out Doncic in getting my vote this year, because Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies have been playing really well, and at this place, Ja Morant has already surpassed and looks to far outpace the fabled Zion Williamson as the definitive, best player to come out of the 2019 NBA Draft.

As for the third front-court spot alongside LeBron and Jokic, I had considered picking between Karl-Anthony Towns and Draymond Green, as I wanted to reward Green for his strong play, especially on the Warriors over the years, but Towns has been having a very good season on a surging Timberwolves’ team. That said, I am perfectly okay with Andrew Wiggins being named an All-Star starter to this year’s team and wish him a hearty congratulations for getting in, and it’s great that the Warriors are getting three All-Stars for this year’s game.

Thoughts on the 2021-22 NBA Rising Stars’ Rosters:

Shams Charania posted a list of the 28 players that will attend, and there were a lot of big names that were included. 

(Source: Twitter/@ShamsCharania)

There are a lot of names, so just go to the tweet to see exactly who made it.

In looking at the list, I also like the list of players that were invited to the Rising Stars game, and I don’t have any real objections as to who made it and who didn’t get a spot in that game.

I mean, you could easily make a case for Golden State Warriors’ rookie Jonathan Kuminga, who has flashed a lot of potential in his role as a very athletic, energy player on a winning team. New York Knicks’ rookie guard, Quentin Grimes has also been shooting the three-ball well off the bench for his team, has also been praised for his defense, and also could’ve earned a slot on the rookies’ team.  Then, there are several other big guys that have been productive in their roles, such as Brooklyn’s Day’Ron Sharpe, Indiana’s Isaiah Jackson, and Oklahoma City’s Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

As for the sophomores, a notable omission would be Atlanta Hawks’ center, Onyeka Okongwu, who has been very good as an energetic, per-minute big man this year, but he’s also been injured over the years, and has been backing up Clint Capela, so that may serve as to why he was left off.  Also, San Antonio Spurs’ guard, Devin Vassell has shown improvement as a scorer off the bench on his team, but he too, was left off the list. He’s been sharing the ball and has been sort of hidden amongst a lot of other talented players on a rebuilding Spurs’ team, so that may also be why he was left off.

For the G-League Ignite, I agree with all of those picks.  If there was any other player that was also deserving of going, it might have been G-League Ignite’s forward, Michael Foster, but he is ranked lower than the other 2022 draft prospects, and Scoot Henderson is both having a very good season this year in the NBA G-League, and is one of the best 2023 draft prospects.  As Foster may not have as much star potential as the other four, even though he has been putting solid numbers too, Foster ends up getting left off. As for Fanbo Zeng, he’s had some good games, and he is a talented, but unpolished forward that could perhaps warrant a late second round selection this year, but he hasn’t played anywhere nearly as well as the other draft prospects in the G-League nor received nearly as much playing time, and his draft stock has been virtually non-existent this year.

Thoughts on the participants for the 2022 NBA Slam Dunk Contest:

Jalen Green, Houston Rockets
Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic
Obi Toppin, New York Knicks
Juan Toscano-Anderson, Golden State Warriors

I saw Shams put out the tweet a couple of days ago, and there is one major surprise on this list, Juan Toscano-Anderson.  It’s hard to get behind the idea of Toscano-Anderson getting the spot to the dunk contest, especially since that they also have Jonathan Kuminga, who’s a very explosive dunker in his own right, and had thrown down high-flying dunks throughout this season, and also in the G-League last year.  However, after checking out some highlights, Toscano-Anderson could be an interesting dark horse to win, or at least to make it entertaining.

As for the other three, I like that they invited Jalen Green.  Green is a very athletic, high-flyer that threw down some terrific jams (along with Kuminga) for the G-League Ignite during the 2020-21 NBA G-League season, so I’ll be excited to see what he comes up with there.  Obi Toppin is a former participant in the NBA slam dunk contest, and he’s a solid performer that has been known to throw down smooth jams.

Cole Anthony could be the pick to win, as he is very athletic, and he is also the smallest at 6-3, and the judges tend to gravitate towards smaller dunkers (and too much so sometimes), so he could be the new Anfernee Simons in this year’s contest.  I think it’ll probably come down to Anthony and Jalen Green for the 2022 NBA Slam Dunk contest championship.  As much as I’d find it tempting to pick Jalen Green to win, the recent history of the judges’ voting of past dunk contests would suggest that Cole Anthony would be the likely candidate to win this year.  While I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t invite Kuminga, but it seems like we’ll be treated to a good dunk contest during the NBA All-Star Weekend this year.

Right now, we didn’t know who are the participants for the 2022 NBA Three-Point Contest, so I don’t have any thoughts on that yet.  When they announce them, I may have some thoughts, because the three-point contest has essentially become the marquee event.  Anyways, those are my thoughts for now, and thanks for reading.

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