The Eastern Conference sent five frontcourt players to the NBA All-Star Game in 2022, and it’s almost automatic that four will return in 2023 for the Feb. 19 contest in Salt Lake City.
Kevin Durant (12), Giannis Antetokounmpo (six), Joel Embiid (five) and Jason Tatum (three) have a combined 26 All-Star nods, all of whom should be locks for another appearance under the bright lights among the league’s best players. . After that, though, the group in the frontcourt becomes murky for potential Eastern Conference All-Stars, especially when you consider two prospects playing on teams that currently sit under .500.
As explained before, the starting lineups for both conferences consist of two guards and three frontcourt linebackers. The reserves consisted of two guards, three frontcourt players, and two wildcard selections. Due to Durant’s injury, only four frontcourt players participated in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game for The Eastern Conference, which used wildcard points on guards Darius Garland and LaMelo Ball (who served as an injured replacement).
Listed alphabetically, here’s a look at eight frontcourt players from the Eastern Conference who appear in the mix of spots in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game:
Giannis Antitekounmo, Milwaukee Bucks
Season stats: 31.0 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 5.2 apg
Antetokounmpo helped Milwaukee start their current five-game trip in New Orleans strong on Monday by pumping out 42 points on 12-for-17 shooting to hand the Pelicans their fourth straight defeat. The performance is recorded as the 28-year-old’s fourth 40-point performance of the season (Milwaukee is 3-1 in those games), as two-time MVP Kia scored 18 points in the second quarter alone on 8-for-10 shooting. Antetokounmpo is currently on track to become the eighth player in NBA history to average 30 or more points, 10+ rebounds and five assists in a single season. In the previous seven cases, only three of those players shot better than 50% from the field – and Antetokounmpo currently shoots 53.3%.
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
Season stats: 21.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 5.9 apg
He missed seven games in November with a sore right knee, but Miami has been 6-3 since Butler returned to the lineup on December 2. FG ratio). But Butler is likely to make his sixth All-Star Game appearance with Miami on a largely four-game winning streak. In 20 games so far this season, Butler scored 20 or more points on 13 occasions prior to Tuesday’s game against Chicago (7:30 ET, league entry).
Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
Season stats: 30.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 5.3 apg
The Nets overcame some adversity on Sunday en route to their sixth straight win, trailing as many as 19 points in that game before defeating the Pistons, 124-121. Durant contributed a game-high 43 points (his second appearance of the season with more than 40 points), scoring 20 of his 26 points in the third quarter in the final 3:18 to become the first player in the last 25 seasons to achieve this. Several points in the last four minutes of any quarter. Durant has also moved into 16th leading scorer in the NBA (26,398 points), and is on his way to his 13th All-Star Game.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Season stats: 33.0 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 4.6 apg
Embiid had the longest active 30-point streak, but it ended at six on Monday when he scored 28 points (and had 11 rebounds) in a 104-101 overtime win against the Toronto Raptors. Embiid hit his 13th career double-double as Philadelphia won its fifth straight game — a must-do considering five teams in the Eastern Conference can boast of winning at least four games. Another lock of the 2023 All-Star Game — which will be his sixth in a row — Embiid averages career highs in scoring, field goal percentage (52.9%), assists (4.6) and steals (1.2).
Christaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards
Season stats: 22.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.7 apg
Washington Porcingis’ record could prevent a second All-Star appearance, but the 27-year-old is shining in only his second season with the Wizards. Most don’t associate Porzingis with defense, but Bustle’s stats say the big man ranks fifth in the league in contested shots per game (11.9) and has made 345 total shots so far this season, good for fourth in the NBA. Now for the tough part: Washington is currently battling through a 10-game losing streak and is 3-13 on the road. So while Porzingis produces like an All-Star, the team’s veteran record may leave the outside looking in when it comes to Salt Lake City.
Julius Randle, New York Knicks
Season stats: 22.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 3.6 apg
The NBA is in a better place when the Knicks are in the mix, and they are currently riding their best seven-game winning streak with Randle leading the team in scoring and rebounding. The one-time All-Star has scored 25 or more points in five of his last six games and his 13-double-double is 14th in the NBA. Randle hit two 3-pointers in Sunday’s win over Indiana to move past Nate Robinson for ninth in franchise history (415) as well as pass Walt Bellamy for 28th on the team’s all-time scoring list (5,083 points).
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
Season stats: 25 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 6.8 apg
He scored a season-high 38 points in Monday’s loss to the Sixers, who marked his fourth performance of 30 or more points. Toronto, however, dropped their sixth game in the league, which was decided by a margin of three points or less. In addition, the Raptors are mired in a six-game losing streak, which is just the third skid of five games or more in head coach Nick Nurse’s five seasons with the team. Toronto’s record may prevent Siakam from making what will be just his second All-Star appearance. But he has already had the most career games (five) in Raptors history with at least 35 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Jason Tatum, Boston Celtics
Season stats: 30.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 4.1 apg
Tatum averages over 30 points for one of the league’s best teams and is considered a candidate for the 2023 Kia MVP Award. Basically, Tatum is a lock to his fourth consecutive All-Star appearance. The 24-year-old is currently averaging career highs in scoring and minutes (37) as well as shooting a career-best 55.7% on two-point field goals. The sixth-year veteran missed Sunday’s loss to the Orlando Magic for what the team called “personal reasons.” But the forward is already reaching four 40-point games this season and 15 in his career, which is the third most in franchise history behind Larry Bird (47) and Paul Pierce (21).
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Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can email him hereFind his archive here and follow him Twitter.
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