It feels like the NBA gets deeper with talent every year. With only 12 spots in each conference up for grabs in the NBA All-Star game, some players and fanbases are bound to have hurt feelings. The starters for the 2024 NBA All-Star have now been announced, and the lineup features both no-brainer picks and a couple controversial decisions.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James were the leaders in the fan vote for their respective conferences once again. Last year, James and Antetokounmpo were the captains for the All-Star draft. That format is out this year, and the game will return to East vs. West for the first time since 2017.
The NBA determines the All-Star starters by using the fan vote for 50 percent, a player vote for 25 percent, and a media vote for 25 percent. Each conference gets three front-court players and two backcourt players as starters, with positions determined on the ballot. The All-Star reserves will be announced on Feb. 1 on TNT. The 2024 NBA All-Star Game takes place in Indianapolis on Sunday, Feb. 18.
NBA Eastern Conference All-Star starters 2024
Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers: Embiid is having one of the greatest scoring years in league history, and that’s no exaggeration. Embiid is averaging 36.12 points per game, which would be the eighth-best single-season scoring mark in league history, and the third-best if you exclude Wilt Chamberlain seasons from the mix. Embiid is scoring with remarkable efficiency, posting a ridiculous 65.1 true shooting percentage. In addition to having his best scoring season ever, Embiid is also having his best passing season ever, raising his assist rate 10 points from last year. He’s even better than he was last year as the league’s MVP winner.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Milwaukee Bucks: Antetokounmpo might be having his best offensive season ever this year at age 29, which is wild to consider when you remember he already has two MVPs and an NBA championship. The Bucks superstar currently owns his career-high in scoring (31.3 points per game) and field goal percentage (60.5 percent). The most terrifying sight in the NBA is Giannis attacking in the open floor, where his combination of speed, power, and ball handling remains unmatched. He’s a top-three player in the world alongside Embiid and Nikola Jokic, and if you wanted to put him at No. 1, you wouldn’t get a ton of pushback here.
Jayson Tatum, F, Boston Celtics: Tatum is the best player on the best regular season team in basketball. Somehow, he still doesn’t turn 26 years old until March. While Tatum’s scoring has dropped off slightly with Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis now next to him in Boston, it feels like he’s become a more complete player, showing an improved back-to-the-basket game while focusing a bit more energy on defense and rebounding. Tatum is a true three-level scoring threat who can finish at the rim, hit mid-range pull-ups, and fire threes, especially off the catch. He needs a playoff breakthrough to truly cement his legacy, but he has plenty of time for that. It still feels like Tatum is getting better.
Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Indiana Pacers: No player in the NBA has enjoyed a more dramatic rise this season than Haliburton. The Pacers point guard has emerged into one of the very best offensive players in the league by blending scoring and playmaking at a high level for an Indiana team that currently has the most efficient offers in league history. Haliburton is leading the NBA in assists by a mile (12.6 per game), and he’s one of the league’s best three-point shooters, knocking down 40 percent of his looks from deep on 8.6 attempts per game. A player like this was simply made for the All-Star even if it weren’t being played in his home arena. Get ready for lots of alley-oops and daring full-court passes for the East with Haliburton in charge.
Damian Lillard, G, Milwaukee Bucks: Lillard’s move to Milwaukee just before this season will ultimately be judged on how he and the Bucks perform in the playoffs, but there is still plenty of reason for optimism despite an uneven start that led to Adrian Griffin’s dismissal. Lillard remains one of the great clutch scorers in the league, and there aren’t many players alive who can match his combination of rim pressure and high-volume pull-up three-point shooting. Here’s hoping Doc Rivers runs the two-man game with Dame and Giannis with more frequency and more variety. The pairing that was started last year during the All-Star draft has come full circle.
NBA Western Conference All-Star starters 2024
Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets: Jokic powered the Denver Nuggets to their first championship in franchise history last season, in the process minting himself as the front-runner for the mythical title of best player in the world. Jokic’s combination of skills has never been seen before: he’s the league’s best post scorer, best passer, and best defensive rebounder. He has put together another amazing season this year by anyone else’s standards, but for the first time in years he doesn’t feel like a top-two or three candidate for MVP. At this point, Jokic is playing for championships only. It’s possible we won’t really see his best level until the playoffs.
LeBron James, F, Los Angeles Lakers: James may not be the best player in the world anymore at age 39, but on any given night he’s capable of turning back the clock to still perform like a true tier-one superstar. LeBron’s production in Year 21 is almost incomprehensible: He’s scoring nearly 25 points per game on 61.2 percent true shooting while having the second-best three-point shooting season of his career thus far. James getting a starting spot this year feels like something of a lifetime achievement award, because he hasn’t been one of the three best front-court players on the West ballot this season, but if anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, it’s LeBron. It’s a joy to still watch him play at this high of a level.
Kevin Durant, F, Phoenix Suns: Even at age 35, Durant remains one of the very best scorers alive. KD is averaging 29 points per game, and he’s doing it while making 45.5 percent of his three-pointers, the best mark of his career. Durant helped keep the Suns afloat when Devin Booker missed a stretch of games with injury, and since both Booker and Bradley Beal returned to the lineup, the trio has formed the most unstoppable offense in the NBA. Booker might be the engine, but Durant is the player who takes Phoenix to the next level, and gives them a puncher’s chance in a series against any team in the league. He’s still unstoppable as a scorer all these years later.
Luka Doncic, G, Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic is a one-man offensive machine. On the brink of his 25th birthday, Doncic has already proven himself to be a killer in the playoffs and a magician with the ball in his hands. He’s too strong, too smart, and too skilled for any one defender to stop. Doncic’s improvement as a three-point shooter this year — he’s making 37.3 percent of his threes on a career-high 10.4 attempts per game — has created an unwinnable pick-your-poison scenario for opposing defenses. He can get off a step-back three at any time, and he’s also a load going to the rim who can fling a pass to an open shooter or roller at any moment. Doncic has been one of the game’s best players from very early in his career, and he’s not done adding elements to his game just yet.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, Oklahoma City Thunder: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made a surprising run to be named First-Team All-NBA last season. What he’s done this year is even more impressive. SGA has lifted the Thunder from the play-in to the very top of the Western Conference standings. He’s the engine of the team, and at his best, a scoring assassin who is simply too crafty and too audacious for any individual defender. SGA doesn’t take or make many threes, but he still has defenders at his mercy with a crazy-tight handle, impeccable footwork, and the belief he can pull off any move he tries. His 64.7 true shooting is a monumental number for a player with above a 30 percent usage rate. He’s also getting it done defensively by leading the league in steals. Embiid might be destined to win the MVP, but Gilgeous-Alexander has a pretty damn good case too. The more the Thunder keep winning, the better it gets.