Jayson Tatum has been voted as an All-Star starter for the first time in his six-year career.
Tatum finished 1st in the media vote, 4th in the player vote, and 3rd in the fan vote. Joining him in the Eastern Conference starting lineup are Donovan Mitchell, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving. Of course, Tatum won’t be playing with these guys, as the teams will be decided in an All-Star draft that’ll happen just before the February 19th game in Salt Lake City.
Joel Embiid is the most glaring snub, but we knew one of the east’s four dynamic frontcourt players wouldn’t make the cut. He finished 3rd in the player and media vote but 4th in the fan vote.
This is Tatum’s fourth All-Star appearance. Last season, he replaced the injured Kevin Durant in the starting lineup, but this is the first time he’s been voted in. Tatum’s having an MVP caliber season, averaging career highs in points (31.0), rebounds (8.6), assists (4.6), free throw attempts (8.7), and minutes (37.1), while shooting 46.8 percent from the field, 35.3 percent from three, and playing in 46 of 49 games.
Jaylen Brown had an outside shot of making one of the two starting guard spots, but Kyrie and Mitchell made it over him. He will almost certainly get named a reserve by the coaches. Brown made one other All-Star game in 2021. He finished 3rd in the player vote, 3rd in the fan vote, and 2nd in the media vote. Kyrie’s 1st place finish in the player and fan vote propelled him to a starting spot.
The Western Conference starters are Lebron James, Nikola Jokic, Steph Curry, Luka Doncic, and Zion Williamson. Lebron is a captain for the sixth time and Giannis is a captain for the third time.
According to a Chris Haynes report from two weeks ago, Tatum was asked to compete in the three-point shootout, but he hasn’t publicly made a decision. He participated in it during All-Star Weekend 2021 and made the final run. It would be a surprise if Jaylen agreed to join the Dunk Contest, but if he did, he’d likely be a front runner.