The NBA opened its ballot boxes on Thursday in preparation for the upcoming All-Star Game. Fan voting accounts for 50% of the total votes and allows the public to have their say in who should add an appearance to their resume.
All-Star voting is a matter of preference; it can be as simple as selecting your favorite player at each position, or you can trawl through each player’s performances to ensure the right guys get the nod. Luckily for Celtics fans, two of their five picks will be no-brainers.
To begin this year, the Two Jays are putting up All-Star caliber numbers on a winning team without forcing a personal agenda. Everything either wing has done thus far has predominantly come within the flow of the offense.
Jaylen Brown certainly deserves to make an appearance for his level of play spanning back to the Disney World bubble. Brown has been an unstoppable force for Boston this season, currently second league wide in transition points while flirting with the top spot for success from the mid-range, too.
Beyond scoring, Brown has continued developing as a defensive on-ball specialist, showing switchability on the 1-through-4 positions. The term “two-way wing” is often thrown around, but the list of players who actually fit the bill as both scorers and lockdown defenders is incredibly short. Furthermore, of all the players on that list, Brown is likely the only one without an All-Star appearance to his name.
As CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith has pointed out, Jaylen Brown is also in line to receive a bonus on his contracted salary if he does make it to the All-Star game.
In what could be a memorable moment for Brown, he would be making his first appearance at an All-Star weekend in his hometown of Atlanta.
Then we have Jayson Tatum vying for his second appearance after making his debut last year. We all saw Tatum’s game leave the stratosphere once he learned of his first selection, and the possibility of another appearance raising his game further is enough to get you foaming at the mouth.
While Tatum’s growth last season revolved around scoring both from the perimeter and at the rim, we’ve begun to see developments in his passing game, especially as a ball-handler in pick-and-roll actions. The fourth-year wing has improved his assists per game every season since entering the league and is averaging 3.8 dimes per game this year (the highest of his young career).
Tatum has continued to develop as an off-ball defender outside of his passing growth, averaging 1.2 steals a game, primarily off clogging the passing lane and jumping on swing passes when the offense gets brave.
Like Brown, Tatum has also seen his scoring number rise, as he embraces attacking through contact and has grown fond of working off both the high and low posts. Sure, we’ve yet to see the best of Tatum this season, in part due to the time he’s missed under the COVID protocols, but he’s still done enough to earn a spot in this year’s All-Star Game and is easily one of the best wings in the both the Eastern Conference and NBA.
There is no limit on the number of times you can cast your All-Star votes, meaning Celtics fans can make a Reddit-style impact on the Jays chances of making it to Atlanta.
Both wings will have plenty more opportunities to stake their claim in the coming weeks, starting with tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.