The 2016-2017 NBA season will mark the 30th anniversary of NBA All-Star weekend, and we’re already at the halfway point of the event, so it’s time to re-evaluate the stars that will be in the spotlight this season.
The players most likely to be the focus of media attention are those who will be at the forefront of the NBA’s biggest events this season, but the question will also be posed about players who have been around for a while but are only now making a splash.
These five players are not only poised to make the most of their opportunities, but are also set to bring a fresh and unique brand of basketball to the NBA.
The top five Most Likely to be at All-Stars: 1.
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs (The San Antonio superstar was part of the first-team All-NBA in 2014 and will likely be an All-Defensive team selection in 2020.)
The Kawhi-esque style of play that he brings to the table will be invaluable for the Spurs.
Leonard has been in the league for 13 seasons, and he is arguably the most accomplished player in NBA history.
His athleticism is second to none, and his ability to get out and create is second only to Shaquille O’Neal’s.
Leonard’s shooting ability, quickness, and overall offensive prowess makes him an excellent choice for a team with the best two-way talent in the NBA today.
He is also one of the most versatile players in the game, and that versatility will be an asset for the San Antonio offense.
Leonard will likely play on a line with his younger brother, Kawhi, and fellow All-Pro DeMarre Carroll.
This will allow the two to play alongside each other in a variety of roles, and the pairing should give the Spurs a significant boost in the short-term.
Leonard’s style of basketball is based on the concept of playing with intensity.
His ability to stretch the floor will make him an effective playmaker, as will his ability as a cutter.
Kawahili and the Spurs have been able to play with a balanced style for most of the last decade, but Leonard will provide an offensive spark to the Spurs offense.
He has the ability to drive to the basket and finish at the rim.
Kawani and Carroll will both be very effective in isolation situations, and Kawhi’s ability to create for others is a key component of the Spurs’ success.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder (Durant has been on the All-Rookie team in each of his three seasons in the League, and will most likely be a finalist for the Rookie of the Year award.)
Durant is one of two players who will have a significant impact on both the regular season and playoffs.
He was the MVP of the 2014-15 NBA season and will probably be a candidate for the MVP Award this season in the Western Conference.
Durant is one the most dominant players in basketball, and in many ways he is the best player in the world.
He also brings the most unique style of offensive play to the court, and while he can score from anywhere on the court and attack with great athleticism, he is also a defensive player.
Durant will be the focal point of Oklahoma City’s offense, which will allow him to be a focal point for a defensive-minded offense.
Durant’s versatility will allow teams to put him on the floor in multiple positions, and with his ability at the three and the four, he will be a great fit for a variety, depending on what the opponent’s defense is.
Durant also brings a new level of skill to the Thunder offense.
In 2016-18, he averaged 14.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game.
Durant has the potential to be one of a few players who can lead the league in scoring and assists.
He will likely join the All the Rookies in the All Defensive first team in 2020, and is set to be on the NBA Finals roster in 2020.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers (Irving was the most productive player in 2016-19, averaging 21.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.2 blocks, and 1.8 steals per game.)
Irving is one who is one to watch this season for the Cavaliers.
He leads the NBA in scoring with a team-leading 23.8 points per game, which is a career high.
He scored the most points in a single game last season, as well as the most in a game by a player at any position since 2008-09, when he was in his prime.
His versatility makes him a perfect fit for the Cavs offense.
Irving has been an All Star in each season since his rookie season in 2014-2015, and since the start of the 2020-21 season, he has averaged at least 25 points and 10 rebounds per game each season.