The first ballots for the 2024 NBA All-Star game came back and Alperen Sengun polled seventh in fan voting among the Western Conference’s frontcourt players. The Houston Rockets’ big man has burst on the scene this season and is currently in the midst of the best stretch of his young career. However, he will certainly need more help from the fans, media, and coaches if he hopes to overcome the star power in his conference.
Sengun already faces an uphill battle against the likes of already established fan favorites, such as leading vote-getter, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Nonetheless, this season has been a remarkable showing from Sengun, and it’s impressive that he’s already beating out his peer group — Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren — in the eyes of the fans.
Still, Sengun has made it clear that he wants to achieve all-star status. Also standing in his path towards Indianapolis are other established players such as Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert and Domantis Sabonis. That’s just the bigs that come to the top of my head. There are still wings that will be up for consideration taking up other frontcourt slots.
What makes this season unique so far is that just about every star player has avoided a significant injury thus far. In years past, I would think the probability of Sengun making the team to be higher with players such as Kawhi, Zion Williamson, PG, KD etc. missing significant time. Fortunately for the league, just about everyone has remained available, creating an abundance of talent, aka a good problem.
Even getting into replacement consideration will be tough this season with only 12 players afforded to each roster. I’m certainly in favor of expanding the all-star rosters, but this is the reality we currently live in.
My personal feelings around the exhibition have always remained to reward the fans, and that means getting the stars they want to see into the game. It also feels like team record gets overblown a lot of time during All-Star discussions, so I hate to see some of the league’s talent get penalized for playing on subpar teams. I feel more strongly about utilizing the standings in relation to player accolades more so when it comes to All-NBA voting.
So with those things in mind, I broke down a preliminary Western Conference roster based on the season up to date.
I settled on the following (Starters in italics):
Backcourt: Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Steph Curry, Anthony Edwards, De’Aaron Fox
Frontcourt: Nikola Jokic, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, Alperen Sengun, Paul George
It was splitting hairs crossing any player off this list as they all have legitimate cases. Ultimately, I think Sengun can ride the momentum from his great start to the season, along with the Rockets exceeding preseason expectations.
Health aside, I think that the top 10 players are locks and that Sengun and PG are the wild cards. Due to fan voting accounting for 50 percent of the vote, I think these two will edge out guys like Desmond Bane, Devin Booker, and Brandon Ingram who haven’t garnered the same level of votes to this point.