Reggie Jackson, Detroit
Delivered on his first season as a full-time starter in Detroit and at age 26 has yet to peak as a player. We should see a better version of Reggie Jackson this time around.
Mike Conley, Memphis
His consistent on-court performance has not paid off in the form of many NBA accolades, but it sure did from a financial standpoint as he just signed the biggest contract in NBA history. Lack of flash and TV exposure have hurt his All-Star chances in the past.
CJ McCollum, Portland
Not many were expecting the Damian Lillard-CJ McCollum to work, but it did and then some. The Most Improved Player of the Year called the fact that no Blazers were selected for the 2016 All-Star Game “a travesty” back in February. They may have two next year if Portland can keep surprising people.
Gordon Hayward, Utah
Would have probably made the All-Star Game already had he done the same thing for a winning team. The do-it-all forward has improved his scoring every year since his rookie season and appears to be on the verge of an All-Star selection.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee
He’s been a Vine All-Star for a couple of years now and it would surprise nobody if he played the Sunday game at the February festivities in 2017. What a great fit he would be there with his coast-to-coast skills and dunking prowess.
Kemba Walker, Charlotte
At another time when excellence at the point guard wasn’t the usual thing (as it is today), Walker would receive way more recognition. It’s tougher when you play in a league with Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul or Kyrie Irving. If the Hornets win enough, he may have a shot at the All-Star Game, though.
Hassan Whiteside, Miami
Gets triple-doubles with blocks – which, as Whiteside himself often remind us, nobody else does. His off-court persona may make it look like he’s not that serious about the game, which perhaps damages his All-Star chances, but you can’t question his performance on the court.
Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota
Everybody is expecting a breakout season from the up-and-coming Timberwolves. Karl-Anthony Towns may have usurped Wiggins’ position as face of the Timberwolves’ franchise, but the Canadian forward has shown development that could culminate in an All-Star berth pretty soon. Perhaps even next year.
DeAndre Jordan, LA Clippers
It’s been quite a year for the Clippers center, who made the All-NBA 1st Team in the spring and won the Olympic gold medal with Team USA in August. Recognition for his game is at an all-time high and could materialize into an All-Star selection come February with a solid first half of the season.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota
Put together one of the best seasons in recent NBA history and has superstar written all over him. Only Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin and Brandon Roy have made the All-Star Game before their third NBA season in the last decade. You will probably have to add him to the list pretty soon.