Which players look primed to make their first All-Star appearance?
by Joseph King | by Yunchu Li
Tyrese Maxey: Point Guard, Philadelphia 76ers
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. 76ers' point guard Tyrese Maxey has exploded this season, with the trade of James Harden truly unlocking the former Kentucky Wildcat’s potential. The signs were always there with Maxey, who averaged 20.2 points per game last season in 33.6 minutes. However, an increased role this season has seen the 23-year-old shoot up to 26.3 points (ninth-highest in the NBA) on ridiculously efficient shooting splits of 46/41/91. The increased ball-handling and playmaking duties have also seen Maxey increase his assist numbers from 3.5 last season to a career high 7.4 per game this campaign. Tyrese Maxey has certainly made his mark in the young season and grabbed fans’ attention with a superb 50-point performance against the Pacers on November 12th.
Check out Maxey's impressive numbers for the current season below:
|Min per game
Scottie Barnes: Small Forward, Toronto Raptors
The third-year Toronto Raptor is having a fine season, seeing an almost universal increase of his statistics across the board. Barnes has made the jump from a 15.3 points per game average to 19.7 in 2023/24 while increasing his three-point shooting by more than 10% to .382. Not only that, the 22-year-old has increased his rebounds (6.6 to 9.1 per game) and assists (4.8 to 5.7), becoming a more complete player overall. Barnes has always been an absolute menace on the defensive end of the floor and is playing at an even higher level this time around. The 2021/22 Rookie of the Year award winner is averaging 1.3 blocks per game and 1.7 steals per game, up from 0.8 and 1.7, respectively. In addition to his first All-Star appearance, Scottie Barnes will also be targeting NBA All-Defensive honors this season.
Below is Barnes current stat line for the 2023/24 season:
Desmond Bane: Shooting Guard, Memphis Grizzlies
It certainly has not been the kind of start that the Grizzlies would have envisioned heading into the year. The suspension of Ja Morant for the first 25 games has clearly had an enormous impact on this team as they flounder towards the bottom of the Western Conference. One of the silver linings, however, has been the emergence of shooting guard Desmond Bane as a legitimate first-choice scoring option. Of course, the suspension of Morant means that Bane is getting the most looks on the team and has seen his field goal attempts rise from 16.2 in 2022/23 to 19.5 in 2023/24. The fourth-year pro has upped his points per game from 21.5 to 24.3, as well as his assists, steals and blocks. It remains to be seen if Bane can maintain the same points per game average when Morant eventually returns.
Check out Desmond Bane's stat line below:
Jalen Brunson: Point Guard, New York Knicks
Point guard Jalen Brunson is delivering on the massive four-year, $104 million contract that the Knicks paid to bring him over from the Dallas Mavericks two years ago. With Julius Randle’s struggles to start the season, the impact of Brunson has been even more evident as he has led the team to a 9-6 record. Many fans felt that the 27-year-old was snubbed from the All-Star game last year, so this could be the year that the NBA voters make it up to him. It wouldn’t solely be based off of that though, as Brunson is having another stellar year. He’s averaging a career-high in points at 24.2 and despite shooting 45% from the field, he’s currently shooting a scorching 47% from three-point range. Brunson ranks first out of the top 12 leaders in three-pointers made with his .471 three-point percentage.
Here are the numbers for Jalen Brunson's 2023/24 season so far:
Below are a few players that have upped their games and could be in contention for one of the 24 spots in Indianapolis.
The Rockets big has taken an eyebrow-raising jump in both his scoring and his playmaking. He has stated that Nikola Jokic is his idol which is becoming more and more evident in his on-the-court production. Jokic and Sengun are now two of just six players this season to post an average of 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Sengun is averaging 20.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game this season, establishing himself as one of the league's most dangerous offensive centers.
The Cavaliers power forward is one of the most consistent defensive players in the league and could have a serious case made that he is the most versatile. The former USC Trojan will be eyeing up All-Defensive honors this season and could also possibly sneak an All-Star nod. He'll have to maintain his current level of play and perhaps raise it in the build up to the festivities. Mobley is averaging career-highs in points, FG%, rebounds and assists. His current stat line is: 16.2 points per game, 10.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.6 blocks.
Head over to our NBA Livescore page to follow each of these players throughout the season!
Most Improved Player of the Year Award
Three of the players on our list are also among the current front-runners for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Below you can see the top five. You can keep on top of the latest odds by heading over to SportyTrader's NBA betting odds page.
- Tyrese Maxey - 1.95
- Scottie Barnes - 6.00
- Cam Thomas - 8.50
- Alperen Sengun - 9.00
- Cade Cunningham - 13.00
Looking for analysis and predictions throughout the NBA season? See our experts' opinions over at SportyTrader's NBA betting tips page!
Odds found on bet365