The 2023 NBA All-Star game is headed to Salt Lake City, and the game will follow the same format as in recent years, with starters being selected by a combination of fan (50 percent), media (25 percent), and player vote (25 percent), with reserved voted on by coaches after.
While All-Stars continue to be selected equally from the Eastern and Western conferences, they are put in a player pool and drafted by the two team captains, who are the players that get the most fan votes. This year, the draft will happen 30 minutes prior to tipoff, schoolyard style, rather than a week ahead of time in a TV special on TNT. That could be a cool wrinkle, but will take away some of the funny moments where the Inside the NBA crew gets to prod at the captains while they make their picks.
On Thursday night, the 2023 starters were unveiled, with some genuine drama coming into the night about a few of the spots.
Captain: LeBron James (Lakers)
Zion Williamson (Pelicans)
Nikola Jokic (Nuggets)
Stephen Curry (Warriors)
Luka Doncic (Mavericks)
Captain: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)
Kevin Durant (Nets)
Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
Kyrie Irving (Nets)
Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers)
The biggest surprise in the West was Zion Williamson edging Anthony Davis, as he had been just behind the Lakers star big man in the last round of fan voting, but Davis’ injury seems to have allowed Zion (also dealing with injury) to move past Davis. In the East, the frontcourt vote was likewise the site of the biggest roster crunch, with Joel Embiid being the big man on the outside looking in as Antetokounmpo, Tatum, and Durant earned the three frontcourt starting nods — Durant, of course, could be forced to sit out with his knee injury as he is to be re-evaluated in two weeks.
The voting breakdown shows how those contested spots got settled out. Embiid was higher than Durant on the media vote and higher than Tatum on the player vote, but was fourth on the fan vote, costing him the spot. Williamson, meanwhile, was third on the player vote and fourth on the media vote (with Domantas Sabonis third), which bumped him higher than Davis despite finishing one spot behind AD on the fan vote.
Three voting groups determined the starters:
• Fans (50%)
• NBA players (25%)
• Media panel 25%)
Complete voting results here: https://t.co/M8btg7M0GP
Below are the overall scores for the top finishers at each position. pic.twitter.com/HQ9W20Z6Ke
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) January 27, 2023
There will be very few issues with these 10 players being All-Stars, so now we get to the real debate about the 14 other players that will fill out the rosters. In a year with so many players having massive scoring seasons, and a number of emerging stars, there figure to be plenty of folks feeling snubbed once the coaches picks come out in a week’s time.