August 14, 2022

This is a story about the first five moments in time that you might have passed through as an individual.

The “predicting all-stars in 5 years” is a blog post that discusses the five potential first. The author of the article believes these players will be among the best in their respective sport in 5 years.

Five-Potential-First

The 2021-2022 season has been full of unexpected twists and turns. Three non-playoff teams from previous season, the Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Hornets, and Cleveland Cavaliers, are among the top six teams in the Eastern Conference. At the same time, three playoffs teams in 2021, the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Atlanta Hawks, are on the outside looking in.

The 2019 champion Lakers are 8-8 in the West, almost edging out the youthful Oklahoma City Thunder for ninth place. Meanwhile, despite losing two play-in games in last year’s playoffs, the Golden State Warriors have stormed to the top of the standings with a 13-2 record.

Each decade, NBA teams grow and fall, with just a few lucky enough to hoist a banner. Similarly, in the NBA, All-Stars rise and fall quickly.

There were eleven first-time All-Stars in the 2020 All-Star Game:

– Ingram, Brandon

Devin Booker is a basketball player who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Luka Doncic, Luka Doncic, Luka Doncic, Luka Doncic

Pascal Siakam is a basketball player who plays for the New York Knicks.

Trae, a young man

Donovan Mitchell is a writer who lives in the United States.

Rudy Gobert, Rudy Gobert, Rudy Gobert, Rudy Gobert

Jayson Tatum is a basketball player who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Sabonis, Domantas

Bam Adebayo is a Nigerian footballer.

It was more of the same in 2021, with five new faces joining the NBA’s mid-season celebrations for the first time:

Zion Williamson, Zion Williamson, Zion Williamson, Zion Williamson

Jaylen Brown (Jaylen Brown (Jaylen Brown)

Zach LaVine is a basketball player who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Julius Randle (Julius Randle)

Mike Conley (Mike Conley)

All-Stars of 2021, Mike Conley and Damian Lillard have underperformed for the Jazz and Trail Blazers, respectively. Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, and Zion Williamson have yet to play. These five sportsmen have paved the way for a new generation of first-timers to make the transition from good NBA players to All-Stars in one way or another.

Following that, we’ll examine the argument for and against five potential first-time All-Stars.


McCollum, CJ

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Image courtesy of Getty Images

20.5 PPG, 4.3 APG, 4.1 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 42.6 FG% in 2021/22.


CJ McCollum’s Argument

CJ McCollum has averaged 20 points per game over the last six seasons while shooting well from all areas of the court. Last season, CJ led the Portland Trail Blazers with 23.1 points per game, 4.7 assists per game, and a 40.2 percent field goal percentage. Despite his shooting skill, McCollum has never been considered for an All-Star selection for two reasons: he didn’t set up his teammates for open shots, and, more crucially, he was a poor defender, giving up almost as many points as he scored.

Damian Lillard, McCollum’s backcourt teammate, has struggled this season, prompting CJ to step up his playmaking. He’s averaging 9.1 potential assists per game and, with a 2.06 assist-to-turnover ratio, he’s taking better care of the ball than many senior point guards in the NBA.

CJ McCollum will never be a great all-around defender. The advanced metrics do not favor him since his rebounding percentage (6.4%) and block percentage (2.3%) are very low. McCollum’s on-ball defense has improved dramatically this season. McCollum has been scurrying on the perimeter, battling over screens, and holding his own against post-up attempts during the Trail Blazers’ first 16 games. Overall, he leads all Portland players with 13.2 shots defended per game, and he’s holding his assignments to -1.7 percent below their typical average, which isn’t great but not bad for a guy who’s spent his whole career as an offensive specialist.


CJ McCollum: The Case Against Him

There are too many excellent perimeter alternatives in the Western Conference. CJ McCollum is one of eight guards in the West that have a greater scoring average than him:

– Stephen Curry: 29.5 points per game

– Ja Morant has a PPG of 26.0.

– Luka Doncic: 24.9 points per game

– Donovan Mitchell has a PPG of 24.3.

– Talen Horton-Tucker (23.3 points per game) (only three games played)

– Devin Booker has a PPG of 23.0.

– Anthony Edwards: 22.5 points per game

21.1 PPG – Shai Gilgeous Alexander

So far, Stephen Curry has emerged as the most likely MVP contender. Luka Doncic isn’t far behind Curry in MVP polling, and he’s a lock for an All-Star appearance. Donovan Mitchell and Devin Booker are two of the league’s top-20 players (if not higher), and they seem to be a lock to make the list.

In terms of scoring, Ja Morant ranks second in the league. Chris Paul remains an advanced stat guru, ranking 25th (minimum 15 MPG) in www.nba.com’s player impact estimate at 15.3, which takes into account both his offensive and defensive performance.

For CJ McCollum, it’s the same tale every season. He’s a solid shooting guard in a league where anything less than exceptional means you’ll be on the outside looking in at the All-Star game.


Herro, Tyler

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The Arizona Republic is the source of this information.

21.7 PPG, 3.9 APG, 5.5 RPG, 0.5 SPG, 0.0 BPG, 45.4 FG% in 2021/22.


Tyler Herro’s Argument

Tyler Herro is one of the league’s most prolific three-point shooters. Tyler Herro has a 39.4 percent accuracy rate among players who try six or more long-distance shots each game. Herro, unlike many of the league’s other excellent three-point shooters, isn’t just a three-point specialist.

When compared to the top three high-volume shooters from beyond the arc, his field goal stats are as follows:

Joe Harris has a FGA of 8.9 and a 3PA of 6.3.

– Lonzo Ball (11.5 FGA, 6.9 3PA).

Grayson Allen has an 11.3 FGA and an 8.4 3PA.

– Tyler Herro (FGA: 18.2; 3PA: 7.2)

We can observe that Harris, Ball, and Allen rely on spot-up chances from a distance for the majority of their efforts. Tyler Herro isn’t one of those players. He’s only taking around half of his shots from deep.

Herro’s shot profile is more similar to that of some of today’s budding stars:

– Zach LaVine (FGA: 19.4; 3PA: 7.0)

Donovan Mitchell has a 20.4 FGA and a 9.6 3PA.

– Jayson Tatum has a 22.2 FGA and an 8.1 3PA.

“Boy Wonder” has evolved into a three-level attacking danger this season. He’s hitting 65.2 percent of his shots near the basket, 57.4 percent of his jumpers from 10 to 16 feet, and 45.5 percent of his three-point attempts from 16 feet.

Tyler Herro has a total of seven thefts and zero blocked shots this season in 15 games on defense. Despite this, he’s mixing it up with the big players inside, averaging 5.7 RPG and developing into one of the league’s greatest three-point defenders. Herro is allowing opponents to shoot just 20.6 percent from outside the arc this season, which is a whopping 14.2 percent lower than their regular average. Herro’s outside defense has been particularly vital in the early goings since Kyle Lowry hasn’t lived up to his customary standards, enabling his assignments to shoot 12.3 percent higher than their average three-point percentage.


Tyler Herro: The Case Against Him

Tyler Herro has proven to be an important offensive weapon for the Miami Heat. But here’s the thing: there’s an issue. He is incapable of carrying an offense. In isolation play types, the former Wild Cat sits towards the bottom of the league (7.5 percentile), connecting on a dismal 0.58 points per possession. To make things worse, he’s attempting 8.9 pull-up field goals a game and hitting just 42.1 percent of them, enough for a 49.6 effective field goal percentage.

In each conference, only four guards are guaranteed an All-Star berth (although there are two wild card spots available, meaning the coaches can select up to six guards if they want).

Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons, both 2021 All-Star guards, have yet to play. Nonetheless, the Eastern Conference is brimming with superb two-way perimeter players with the sort of superstar gravitas that Tyler Herro has yet to discover.

DeMar DeRozan ranks fifth in the NBA in scoring with 26.6 points per game, while Zach LaVine is seventh in the league with 26.2 points per game.

In terms of scoring, Jaylen Brown and Trae Young are rated ninth and tenth in the NBA, respectively, and they thrive in one-on-one scenarios.

Bradley Beal and James Harden have yet to match their output from last season, but their respective teams are tied for third place in the Eastern Conference at 10-5, while Harden’s Nets are tied for first at 11-5.

Tyler Herro’s first All-Star nomination might be snubbed by more experienced Eastern Conference guards.


Brogdon, Malcolm

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(Image courtesy of USA Today)

22.2 PPG, 6.5 APG, 7.1 RPG, 0.6 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 44.8 FG% in 2021/22.


Malcolm Brogdon’s Argument

Caris LeVert has had a difficult start to the 2021-2022 season, averaging 16.5 shots per game and hitting on just 39.4 percent of them. Worsening the situation. LeVert has the Pacers’ highest usage rate (30.8 percent), but he’s only averaging 3.5 assists per game.

Domantas Sabonis has been his usual effective self from the block, but he only takes 12.7 shots a game in 35.9 minutes, limiting his overall impact.

On offense, Myles Turner has been even more timid, averaging just 8.9 field goal attempts per game.

As a result, Malcolm Brogdon has had to up his game. His raw stats are awe-inspiring. He’s averaging 22.4 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game, and 6.8 assists per game, with a 20.7 Player Efficiency Rating (PER). Brogdon has played a key role in practically every element of Indiana’s offense, putting him in a position where he has never been before.

Beyond his typical metrics, Malcolm Brogdon is ranked 28th in player impact estimate (15.0), ahead of Trae Young, Zach LaVine, and Jaylen Brown, all strong Eastern Conference guards. His Box Plus/Minus is 3.6, which means he’s worth 3.6 points per 100 possessions more than the average NBA player, which is greater than LeBron James (2.6), Jayson Tatum (-0.9), and Bradley Beal (-0.6). (-0.1).

Brogdon’s numbers scream “out top-30 NBA talent,” and he also passes the eye test. During sloppy half-court plays, he’s been a good outlet for his teammates, capable of driving down the lane and finishing at the rack (68.9% from 0 to 3 feet) or passing out to open teammates (8th in potential assists at 14.4 per game).


Malcolm Brogdon: The Case Against Him

The Pacers are 6-10 after a loss to the lowly Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, and the All-Star game is usually reserved for winners.

Chris Paul is a great illustration of this. His total figures of 14.1 points per game, 10.5 assists per game, and 4.1 rebounds per game while shooting 32.6 percent from three-point range aren’t as impressive as Malcolm Brogdon’s. The Phoenix Suns, on the other hand, have won 10 games in a row and are 11-3 in the Western Conference.

Any GM in the league would choose Malcolm Brogdon over Chris Paul?

If they want to maintain their employment, they can’t.

Malcolm Brogdon is approaching the dreaded “empty stat” territory. Sure, he’s scoring and passing the ball, but the Pacers are too good to be four games under.500 with two-time All-Star Damontas Sabonis, shot-blocking prodigy Myles Turner, and up-and-comer CarVert.

It’s difficult to imagine Malcolm Brogdon making his first mid-season classic unless the Pacers have a strong finish to November and December.


Ball, LaMelo

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courtesy of Sporting News

18.8 PPG, 7.1 APG, 7.5 RPG, 2.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 41.6 FG% in 2021/22.


LaMelo Ball’s Argument

Miles Bridges has made a lot of noise for the Charlotte Hornets this season with his improved performance. Through 16 games, Bridges has averaged 21.3 points per game, the most on the team. Nonetheless, he isn’t the Hornets’ top player, and it isn’t even close.

LaMelo Ball, a 20-year-old Hornet, is the greatest Hornet because he affects the game in practically every manner.

Compare LaMelo’s numbers to those of the other Eastern Conference point guards (minimum 15 minutes per game):

LaMelo is the 12th highest scorer in the NBA (18.8 PPG)

He’s ranked third in rebounds (7.4 RPG)

He has the fourth most assists in the league (7.5 APG)

In terms of thefts, he’s in fifth place (2.1 SPG)

LaMelo isn’t just putting up numbers. The Charlotte Hornets are 9-7, including victories against the Golden State Warriors (13-2) and the Washington Wizards (10-5).

LaMelo Ball’s 21 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, outstanding defense, and a team-high +13 rating were the difference in the Hornets’ win against the Warriors.

Against the Wizards, Ball had a different role in securing the victory. Although his shooting wasn’t falling (4-18 from the field), he did throw out 14 assists, grab 6 rebounds, and hold opposition point player Spencer Dinwiddie to a career-low 0 points. LaMelo ended the game with a +20 rating, which placed him second on the Wizards.

LaMelo has a Kobe-like quality about him. He’ll go to any length to win. He’ll be on the defensive end of the other team’s greatest perimeter player. With the game on the line, he’ll take the last shot and leap a lane for a game-winning steal. LaMelo Ball is on his way to becoming a superstar.


LaMelo Ball: The Case Against Him

He is barely twenty years old.

The only reason LaMelo Ball won’t make the All-Star squad this year is because he’s too young, unless he and the Hornets have a bad season the rest of 2021.

The Charlotte Hornets are 9-7 despite having by far the most toughest schedule in the NBA.

When the Celtics are 7-8 and he’s shooting 39.6 percent from the field on an absurd 22.2 attempts per game, does a previous All-Star like Jayson Tatum deserve to make the team over LaMelo Ball?

What about 2020 All-Star Trae Young, who has led the Hawks to a 7-9 record while admitting it’s been difficult to remain focused this season?

There isn’t much statistical evidence or eye-test evidence that LaMelo won’t make the All-Star squad in 2022.


Ja Morant

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Image courtesy of Getty Images

26.0 PPG, 7.1 APG, 6.3 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 50.2 FG% in 2021/22.


The Argument Against Ja Morant

This season, Ja Morant has risen to the top. He’s a top-10 player in the league, scoring ninth and assisting 11th. Morant is also seventh in the NBA in isolated scoring, averaging 1.37 points per possession, and he’s hitting 42.4 percent of his pull-up three-point attempts. As if that weren’t enough, as a ball handler in pick and roll situations, he ranks in the top 50 in terms of points per possession (0.96 PPP).

Outside of Stephen Curry, Nikola Jokic, and Kevin Durant, Ja Morant has been the best offensive weapon on the court this season.

He’ll pull up and murder you from beyond the arc, pick you apart in the pick and roll, then dribble past you for an easy layup when things slow down in the half-court.

With a 113.6 Defensive Rating, he’s been below average on defense, but it hasn’t prevented superstars like Damian Lillard, James Harden, and Zach LaVine from making the All-Star team.


The Prosecution of Ja Morant

The only way Ja Morant misses out on the All-Star roster is if his Grizzlies lose a lot of games.

The Grizzlies are 8-7 in the Western Conference and have the league’s third hardest schedule. While the Suns’ Chris Paul and Devin Booker, the Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, the Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, and the Lakers’ LeBron James and Anthony Davis all have Big-2s, Ja Morant is on his own at the conclusion of tight games.

Still, it’s difficult to picture the Grizzlies, even with Morant in the fold, dropping far enough down the rankings to exclude the former Murray State standout from his first All-Star selection, particularly with Memphis’ schedule lightening up significantly over the next four weeks.


Anything is possible.

We’re still in the toddler stage of the season, which means we’ve seen enough to see recurring trends. Even yet, it’s still early.

Damian Lillard has struggled through 16 games, but he still has time to turn things around and knock Ja Morant off the All-Star list. The same is true in the east, where James Harden has struggled in the early goings but is gradually improving. He has a chance to push LaMelo Ball out of the mid-season festivities during the next month.

NBA fans like the sort of scorching hot runs that superstars go on, and they take a sly delight in seeing a player crumble under pressure and start clanking shots. As autumn transitions into winter, we’ll have to keep a careful watch on things to see how our possible first-time All-Stars perform.

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