With only a small handful of NBA players making the All-Star Game each season, it has become an honor bestowed only upon the League’s premier performers. It is also a rite of passage for the game’s elite, serving as a benchmark of success for those destined for the Hall of Fame. Although most of the roster spots are secured by perennial favorites, a few young stars manage to break through and make the teams every year based on an improving resume.
Statistics: You cannot call yourself an All-Star if you do not put up All-Star numbers. Even if numbers do not paint the whole picture, they are the most straightforward indication of your contributions. D’Angelo Russell, for instance, made his first All-Star Game this season by putting up career-high averages all across the board, most notably in points and assists.
Excitement factor: If you are a nightly regular on the highlight reels, fans will be eager to watch you at the All-Star Game. With the wide-open and fast-paced play, these games are filled to the brim with highlights, from smooth moves to crazy dunks. With his size, athleticism and arsenal of no-look passes, Australian phenom Ben Simmons earned his first All-Star selection this season as well.
Popularity: With the importance of fan voting in the selection of All-Star starters, popularity is a crucial factor as well. Beyond skills and highlights, fans flock towards those players with more than a dash of personality. From Kyrie Irving’s ‘Uncle Drew’ alter-ego to Joel Embiid’s relentless trash-talking, these characters add an element of fun to the All-Star Weekend.
Winning: However, there is one factor that matters more than anything else. Fans, media, players and coaches alike value winning above all else, often rewarding players from teams which have made great improvements in terms of their win-loss record. Khris Middleton has been a steady, efficient scorer for a few seasons, but finally got his maiden call-up as his Milwaukee Bucks made strides under head coach Mike Budenholzer.