15 NBAers Who Could Become First Time All-Stars in 2016/17

Being chosen for an All-Star team is a proud achievement in any sport. Some players are superstars right out of the gate. LeBron James was an NBA All-Rookie in his first season and has gone on to play in 12-straight NBA All-Star Games. With guys like him and other perennial All-Stars such as Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony, openings on the NBA Eastern All-Star Team are at a premium. With Kobe Bryant’s retirement, a long-held spot has become vacant out West but the competition is tough. 2016 All-Star Game MVP Russell Westbrook appears poised to be an All-Star for years to come, as does Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.

When there are so many athletes that are worthy of All-Star status, it makes it hard to choose who to select. Names like Paul George, DeMar DeRozen, and the up-and-coming Klay Thompson will be near the top of the list for years to come but there is always room made for that special young star. Kawhi Leonard and Andre Drummond both made their All-Star debuts in 2016. The previous All-Star Game saw Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler in their first appearances and the year before that saw Stephen Curry and John Wall make the cut. There was even room for veteran Paul Millsap to make the team for the first time in his 10-year career.

The NBA always seems to make way for the new blood and the 2017 All-Star Game should be no different. Whether they are veterans or young players, the following list contains the names of players that are on the All-Star bubble. Here are 15 NBAers who could become first time All-Stars in 2017.

15 15. DeAndre Jordan

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The towering 6’11" Clippers center played in 360 straight games before sitting out in January 2016 with pneumonia. At 27-years-old, DeAndre Jordan has been an important piece of the Clippers for the past few years. After almost signing with Dallas before the 2015 season, several Clipper teammates personally visited DeAndre in a last ditch effort to keep the two-time NBA rebound leader in L.A. It worked. Jordan re-signed with the Clippers and he had another great season in which he nearly led the NBA in rebounds per game and became the Clippers’ all-time rebounds leader.

14 14. Serge Ibaka

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This seven-year veteran power forward has led the league in blocks while proving that he is an excellent two-way player. Unfortunately, he has some stiff competition in a quest for his first All-Star selection. With perennial All-Star Kobe Bryant out of the picture and the possibility of Kevin Durant playing in the Eastern Conference next season, it is not out of the question that Serge Ibaka would get some long-awaited recognition with an All-Star nod in 2017, especially if Durant leaves and Ibaka gets more touches.

13 13. Karl-Anthony Towns

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12 12. Andrew Wiggins

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The Toronto born first overall pick, Andrew Wiggins, was traded to Minnesota before the start of the 2014 season. He had a memorable year that earned him several Rookie of the Month honors, the Rookie of the Year Award, and a spot on the All-Rookie First-Team.

11 11. Gordon Hayward

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10 10. Giannis Antetokounmpo

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9 9. Nerlens Noel

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Aside from having one of the coolest names in the NBA, Nerlens Noel is one of the league’s best young talents. Drafted sixth overall by the Hornets at the 2013 Draft but immediately traded to Philadelphia. Nerlens earned a spot on the NBA All-Rookie First Team and he has been steadily improving his play. As he quickly develops, Noel’s name is beginning to get mentioned when it comes to All-Stars.

8 8. Mike Conley

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7 7. J.J. Redick

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Another wily veteran who has become a very good player is J.J. Redick. An eleventh overall pick of the Orlando Magic, J.J. has been a member of the L.A. Clippers since 2013. He has been playing the best basketball of his career and has proven to be a guy who produces when given enough minutes. Of course, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul do more than their share which makes it a little harder for him to get noticed.

6 6. Derrick Favors

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5 5. Bradley Beal

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4 4. Andrew Bogut

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A lot was expected out of Andrew Bogut when the Bucks picked him first overall in 2005. The seven-foot tall center has shown flashes of brilliance but has been often injured. Since being shipped to Golden State in 2012, Bogut has seen a decline in production but his reduced playing time is largely responsible. He only averaged 20.7 minutes per game in 2015 thanks to the depth of the Warriors’ lineup.

3 3. Nicolas Batum

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It’s too bad that a player like Nicolas Batum has never been an All-Star. His workload and production have been high over the past few seasons and he is coming off a fine year in which he led his team in average assists per game. He helped the Charlotte Hornets reach the playoffs where they were once again eliminated in the first round.

2 2. Reggie Jackson

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After being traded from the Thunder to the Pistons in 2014, Reggie Jackson has seen his game reach new levels. He averaged a career high and team leading 18.8 points per game and he is a cornerstone of the Pistons revival. Getting in the way of Reggie getting his first All-Star selection is the sheer volume of equally deserving point guards that play in the Eastern Conference.

1 1. Khris Middleton

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Along with the aforementioned and hard to spell Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton is one of the league’s best young talents and he is trying to bring success to the Milwaukee Bucks. The 24-year-old second round pick in 2012 had a superb 2015 season in which he led his team with 18.2 PPG. Middleton is a more realistic All-Star candidate of the two young Bucks stars, but they should both be in the running for an All-Star appearance. After his breakthrough 2015 season, Khris is in a great spot to have an even better 2016, which would give him serious consideration at an All-Star nod.

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15 NBAers Who Could Become First Time All-Stars in 2016/17