Zach Kleiman put it out there. Ja Morant will be an All-Star this season. So far, Kleiman looks spot on. Ja has arguably been a top player in the league during the early part of the season and I doubt he intends to slow down.
Throughout the season we will gauge Ja’s competition around the Western Conference for those coveted spots. The All Stars from last season will get the first looks followed by those trying to break through like Morant.
Last season’s All Star game featured, as always, a prestigious lineup of Western Conference guards:
Stephen Curry (starter)
Luka Doncic (starter)
Mike Conley (injury replacement)
Devin Booker (replaced by Conley)
That is 6 guard spots in a league full of talent at the position. Whether by fan vote or coaches’ selection, you would imagine 6 of the seven names listed here (sorry Mike) to be in play again. There is a host of players also trying to crack that 6 man rotation alongside Ja as well:
Anthony Edwards (1st time)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (1st time)
De’Aaron Fox (1st time)
Russell Westbrook (Returns from Eastern Conference)
Thats 11 guys for 6 spots. Where does Ja rank thus far?
All-Star Power Rankings
- Stephen Curry: 27.4 pts, 6.5 ast, 6.5 reb; Warriors 10-1
Steph is an all-world talent destined for the Hall of Fame and a top 10-15 player all time. He is playing like that this season, doing what we have become accustomed to by him. If he his healthy, Steph is easily taking one of the 6 spots
2. Ja Morant: 26.5 pts, 7.3 ast, 5.7 reb; Grizzlies 6-5
Ja has been missing his backcourt partner in Dillon Brooks but has admirably carried his team to a 6-5 start, doing all the heavy lifting offensively to overcome the atrocious team defense. It is early, but if he sustains it with his numerous highlight plays, he could push to be voted in as the second starter.
3. Luka Doncic: 24.5 pts, 7 ast, 8 reb; Mavericks 7-4
He was the opening favorite to win the MVP this season and he is showing why. Lacking talent around him, Luka has the Mavs leading their division and winning games, albeit a soft opening schedule. Luka has the international vote behind him and will be an All-Star for most of his career, will be tough for Ja to hold off both of Luka and Steph.
4. Donovan Mitchell: 25.9 pts, 5.3 ast, 4.2 reb; Jazz 8-3
Mitchell is a superstar that will have an All-Star spot on lock for years to come. He may never get the starters nod but as long as the Jazz are playing at the level they have played with Mitchell, he will earn the nod.
5. Devin Booker: 22.6 pts, 5.3 ast, 6.3 reb; Suns 7-3
It was a slow start for both the Suns and Booker but as Booker heats up, so have the Suns as they have rattled off six straight wins. Devin is certainly talented enough to be a constant name in this and there is a chance the coaches choose him this season to honor his missed opportunity last season.
6. Anthony Edwards: 25.9 pts, 3.5 ast, 6.2; Timberwolves 3-7
Minnesota is reeling but Anthony Edwards is a budding star despite it. The sophomore is just scratching the surface of what he can do in the league and at the moment earns the final nod. Minnesota’s record may hurt him but the guy next behind him plays on an equally bad team.
Outside Looking In
This group of guys need to add to their resume in order to crack the 6 man rotation in February. Luckily the season is still young and there is plenty of time.
7. Shai Gilgeous Alexander (OKC) 22.6 pts, 4.5 ast, 5.4 reb
8. C.J. McCollum (POR) 21 pts, 4.3 ast, 4.2 reb
9. Damian Lillard (POR) 20 pts, 8.2 ast, 4.2 reb
10. Russell Westbrook (LAL) 19.3 pts, 8.9 ast, 9.1 reb
Check back weekly for the updated power rankings as we track Ja Morant’s journey to this season’s All-Star game.