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Who should start in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game? Updated picks for the 10 starters in Salt Lake City

As expected, things have changed.

When voting for the 2023 NBA All-Star Game opened before Christmas Day, I picked the 10 players who I thought were most deserving to start at that point of the season. It’s only been two weeks, but enough has happened to warrant an update.

As a reminder, fans account for 50 percent of the vote to determine the Western Conference and Eastern Conference starters in the All-Star Game. The remaining 50 percent is split between players and a media panel. Each conference gets two backcourt players (guards) and three frontcourt players, which can be forwards or centers.

Got it? Great. Let’s get to it.

Vote now for your favorite NBA All-Star starters!

Updated Western Conference All-Star starter picks

G: Luka Doncic, Mavericks

What’s changed: Nothing.

Since we last did this exercise, Doncic has recorded not one, not two, but three 50-point games. He even went for a historic triple-double in one of them, becoming the first player ever with a 60-20-10 game. (You know you’ve done something right when Gregg Popovich, who has seen just about everything, is in awe.)

Doncic is now averaging 34.3 points, 8.9 assists and 8.8 rebounds per game. He’s having a special season.

G: Ja Morant, Grizzlies

What’s changed: Stephen Curry’s injury.

Curry would probably still be the choice if it weren’t for his shoulder injury. He was putting up numbers on par with his unanimous MVP season, but he’s missed nine games and counting.

Morant was playing at a high level prior to Curry’s injury, but he’s stepped it up since. Not only has he scored 30 or more points in five of his last eight games, but he’s recorded three double-doubles, one of which saw him dish out a career-best 17 assists.

Plus, Morant might be the best show in the NBA. Even his misses go viral.

F: Zion Williamson, Pelicans

What’s changed: Nothing. 

Not even missing three straight games in health and safety protocols could slow Williamson down. He put on a show in his return with a career-best 43 points. If you thought that one of the best rim protectors in NBA history might be able to prevent him from making the paint his personal playground, he can’t.

Unfortunately, Williamson is now going to miss some time with a hamstring injury, but he still holds this spot for now.

F: LeBron James, Lakers

What’s changed: Anthony Davis is injured. Also, LeBron is LeBroning.

Remember when James was starting to show his age a little at the start of the season? Yeah, me neither.

James celebrated his 38th birthday last week by scoring a season-high 47 points while falling an assist shy of a triple-double. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he followed it up by scoring 43 points in a win over the Hornets.

Father Time continues to have nothing on James.

MORE: LeBron James is still the NBA’s greatest show

F: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

What’s changed: Nothing.

In case you were wondering, Jokic’s shot chart is still a field of green. He’s having one of the most efficient high-volume scoring seasons of all time, and he throws passes on a nightly basis that don’t seem possible.

Like, what in the world is this?

With the Nuggets now at the top of the Western Conference standings, a third straight MVP is in sight for Jokic.

Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets

Updated Eastern Conference All-Star starter picks

G: Donovan Mitchell, Cavaliers

What’s changed: Nothing.

Mitchell should be a lock to start in this year’s All-Star Game. He’s had a couple of rough shooting games since we last checked in on him, but he kind of made up for it by going off for 71 points and 11 assists in a win over the Bulls.

An all-time performance.

G: Jaylen Brown, Celtics

What’s changed: Nothing … yet.

Tyrese Haliburton and Kyrie Irving both deserve mention here. Haliburton is averaging 20.6 points and 10.2 assists while knocking on the door of the 50-40-90 club on a Pacers team that has been far more competitive than anyone expected. Irving has worked his way into the conversation by playing a key role in Brooklyn’s rise up the Eastern Conference standings. He’s been on fire lately.

Both are strong candidates, but I still give Brown the slightest of edges for now. He’s taken another leap this season and has been the second-best player on the best team in the NBA. It feels right to reward that.

F: Jayson Tatum, Celtics

What’s changed: Nothing.

The Celtics remain at the top of the Eastern Conference (for now) and Tatum continues to play at an MVP level. 

F: Kevin Durant, Nets

What’s changed: The Nets won’t stop losing.

Make that 16 wins in 18 games for the Nets, who are now on the heels of the Celtics for the best record in the Eastern Conference. Durant has been nothing short of spectacular on both ends all season long. He’s yet to miss a jump shot — not really, but it sure does feel like it — his passing is crisp as ever and he’s been a defensive dynamo.

Apologies to Joel Embiid. Picking between him, Tatum, Durant and the next guy for three spots is brutal. Maybe it’s time for the All-Star starters to be positionless?

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

What’s changed: Nothing.

The Bucks haven’t been the same since their 9-0 start, but it hasn’t been Antetokounmpo’s fault. He’s putting together another marvelous season that has him in the running for MVP and Defensive Player of the Year once again.

If recording 40 points and 20 rebounds in back-to-back games wasn’t enough, Antetokounmpo recently had a career-best 55-point outing in a win over the Wizards.

Just the best player in the world doing best player things.

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