FULL ALL-STAR GROUP NAMED: Late yesterday afternoon, the entire 2019-20 All-Star group was announced, and various players will be making their first appearance in the prestigious competition. This year’s debutants in the All-Star Game, barring injury, will be Trae Young, Luka Doncic and Pascal Siakam, who were announced as starters last week, as well as Jayson Tatum, Brandon Ingram, Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Bam Adebayo and Domantas Sabonis.
Nine first-time All-Stars would be the highest number of debutants for the contest since 2010, when guys like Deron Williams, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose made their All-Star debuts. (Doesn’t time fly?) What’s more, this year’s average age for the distinguished group is 27.05, making it the youngest crop of All-Stars since 2004, when the average age was 26.97. That speaks highly to the future of the league, as many of this year’s first-time All-Stars have huge upside, and project to receive the honor for years to come, meaning the league’s next crop of marketable superstars are being formed right in front of our eyes.
One thing to keep an eye on here, though, and something that could change those two impressive numbers pretty markedly is the health of second-year phenom Doncic, who suffered another ankle sprain in practice yesterday and is set to receive an MRI tomorrow. If he’s forced to miss a few weeks of action, look for arguably this season’s biggest All-Star snub, Devin Booker, to take his place. Booker is 23, making him three years old than Doncic, so his inclusion would make the average age of the 2019-20 All-Stars jump up at least a bit.
ALL-STAR GAME FORMAT: For a few years now, the NBA has been looking at different ways to spice up the All-Star Game a bit, as the level of competitiveness in the competition had gotten laughable at one point.
This year, the league is going all in with changes to the game’s format, with the score resetting in each of the first three quarters before getting restored in the fourth, and the winners of the first three quarters earning $100,000 that will go to Chicago-based charities. Additionally, the final quarter will be untimed, with the winner being decided by whoever reaches 124 points first, a nice little tribute for Kobe.
MORE KOBE TRIBUTES: The City of Los Angeles is considering naming a street after fallen legend Kobe Bryant, though discussions on that topic are still early on in the process. Additionally, a memorial for Kobe, his daughter Gianna and the seven other victims is being planned, but it might not be for another couple of weeks.
LATEST TRADE SCUTTLE: Another day, another batch of trade rumors as we approach the 2020 deadline.
The Clippers have registered interest in Knicks forward Marcus Morris, though the floor-spacing big man would prefer staying in New York long term.
Dallas made an offer for Andre Iguodala over the summer, one that included sending Courtney Lee and Golden State’s second-round pick to Memphis, but haven’t budged on improving the deal.
The Timberwolves have expressed interest in Magic swingman Aaron Gordon, who would fill a major hole the team has at the 4-spot.
MORE ON THE TRADE MARKET: We ranked the five players who have appeared most often in trade rumors over the past week, according to our site metrics. Andre Drummond’s name is still getting thrown around quite a bit.
FRESH POD: Our own Alex Kennedy is joined by New York Times best-selling author Jeff Pearlman, who wrote a book about the Shaq-and-Kobe Lakers teams from the early 2000s, to discuss the fallen 2-guard.
BRUTAL ALTITUDE: The Nuggets are an excellent three-point shooting team on the road (37.2 percent) but a porous one at home (32.2 percent), leading some to think Denver’s high altitude, which causes the air to feel dry, could have something to do with that.
FUTURE PLANS: Gordon Hayward is the Celtics’ likeliest trade candidate this season, with the rest of the team pretty firmly locked into the team’s future. He discusses his role with the team and what he’s heard about his future in Boston.
FIRST-TIME HONORS: Trae Young talks about what it’s like being named an All-Star for the first time in his career.
ALL-STAR CONTESTS: Damian Lillard is set to join this year’s three-point shootout, while Aaron Gordon has committed to the dunk contest. Some serious firepower joining the two entertaining All-Star festivities.
FIGHT FALLOUT: Elfrid Payton, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Marko Guduric will all be suspended one game for their roles in Wednesday night’s scuffle between the Knicks and Grizzlies, while Marcus Morris and Jae Crowder received fines.
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