Meet the 2028 NBA All-Stars

In February 2018, my colleague Danny Chau embarked on a quixotic mission to predict the 2023 NBA All-Star Game half a decade ahead. He wrote that the concept was “a simple question with an impossible answer: Who will be in the All-Stars in five years?”

Well, the 2023 All-Star Game is here, so we can evaluate Danny’s prediction: 10 of his 24 picks were accurate, and many more were injury-related close misses.

Danny is hard to blame for many of his gaffes. Five years ago, Tyrese Haliburton received a three-star rating from the State of Iowa. Ja Morant was a freshman at Murray State after not even being recognized as a recruit. Bam Adebayo and Domantas Sabonis were both late lottery picks who mostly came off the bench. There was no real way to predict that any of them would be All-Stars five years from now.

But now that the initial project is complete, it’s time to try again by asking your own simple question with an impossible answer: who will be playing the All-Stars five years from now, in 2028?

Here are the basic rules. First, only 35 percent of All-Stars this century were also All-Stars exactly five years earlier, so less than half of our picks can come from 2023 All-Star lineups. It would be uninteresting (or accurate) to simply say that all of this year’s games will be repeated in 2028.

Secondly, I will stick to the average age distribution of the All-Star Game this century, which means that the 2028 All-Star Game rosters will include:

  • Six players who are currently in their teens.
  • Twelve players (half of the sample) who are now between 20 and 24 years old.
  • Five players 25-29 years old.
  • Only one player over 30.

Note that this distribution reflects a slight shift from Danny’s exercise five years ago, when five players (compared to six now) were in the youngest age group and six (compared to five now) were in their early 20s. . Generally speaking, All-Stars are getting younger; over the past five seasons, 30 percent of All-Stars have been under the age of 25, the highest for any five-season period this century.

And finally, I’m going to ignore team, conference, or position affiliation because so much could change on these fronts before 2028. soon the rosters will expand to 15 players, for a total of 30 players.

Teen Choice

Player Age in 2028
Player Age in 2028
Cameron Boozer 20
Scoot Henderson 23
Bronnie James 23
Dyson Daniels 24
Schaedon Sharp 24
Victor Vembanyama 24

Selecting teen representatives can be the hardest part of this project. I’m not a draft analyst, so I’ve never seen many of the top candidates in this age group play. Only 14 NBA players this season are in their teens, and all 14 are rated as below-average rookies, boxing plus/minus. (Note: All age categories in this article refer to the player’s “seasonal” age, which is defined as the player’s age on February 1st.)

At least there is two generational prospects in the 2023 draft. Wembanyama is the best prospect since LeBron as he leads the French top league in points (22.2 per game), rebounds (9.5) and blocks (3.1) at the advanced age of 19. Henderson is a strong defender who may not have been. 1 prospect in most other draft classes. They make the first two choices easier.

Next up is Boozer, son of two-time All-Star Carlos and the youngest pick here; he won’t even finish high school until 2025. However, being named to the All-Star team at age 20 has precedent, especially recently—of the 11 players in NBA history who made the All-Star team at that age or younger, three are already in the 2020s (Lamelo Ball, Zion Williamson and Luka Doncic). According to analysts he is already an accomplished player with a versatile skill set in both offense and defense as a sophomore in high school. When I asked call Youth expert J. Kyle Mann, which ranger should be on this list, picked Boozer and called the young forward “a simple prediction.”

Boozer – no. No. 1 prospect on ESPN’s 2025 prospects, but that’s no guarantee of future stardom, so I can’t just pick no. 1 guys from 2023 and 2024 and move on comfortably. From 2016 to 2019, ESPN no. The first recruits were Harry Giles, Marvin Bagley, Jr., R. J. Barrett, and James Wiseman; at this point, only Barrett appears to have a remote chance of ever making an All-Star team. A better choice instead would be Haliburton or Morant, which float far down the recruiter rankings, but I’d be throwing darts blindfolded if I tried to spot that breakthrough now.

Unless this breakthrough turned out to be the son of the greatest basketball player of the 21st century. A month ago, I wouldn’t have considered picking James, a four-star prospect who is roughly the 30th best recruit in high school 2023 (ESPN ranks him 28th, 247Sports 34th). But the pundits’ perception of his NBA outlook seems to be changing. AthleticSam Veseny recently wrote that Bronnie has “a terrific combination of athleticism, sense of play, shooting and defense” and “he’s actually a little underrated as a rookie.” Jonathan Zhivoni of ESPN was even more laudablecalling the younger James “one of the best two-way players in high school basketball” and “a potential win candidate.”

If I have to pick a non-five-star prospect to try and fit the historical model, I could do worse than betting on a player with Bronnie’s pedigree and popularity—especially for a contest that involves fan voting.

Finally, I looked at a small group of current NBA teenagers for the last two picks in that group. Daniels didn’t bring in much as a Pelicans rookie, averaging 4.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, but he fits the profile of other players who have made giant leaps in recent years. A 6-foot-8 point guard with astute passing vision and impressive defensive shots, Daniels could have blossomed if given the opportunity and further development.

Sharp went one pick ahead of Daniels in the 2022 draft, and the Trail Blazers rookie remains surprisingly raw; he’s a terrible defender and has as many turnovers as he has assists. But my God, that insulting ceiling. This athleticism. Those dunks!

Elections 20-24

Player Age in 2028
Player Age in 2028
Paolo Bankero 25
Josh Giddy 25
Lamelo Ball 26
Anthony Edwards 26
Evan Mobley 26
Franz Wagner 26
Tyrese Halliburton 27
Luka Doncic 28
Darius Garland 28
I am Morant 28
Desmond Bain 29
Jason Tatum 29

Okay, actually, the choice of players in this group made it easy for teenagers to choose. This is the last bucket I modified; hell, as I write this sentence, I can still go back and make some final choices. (Update: I did!)

Players in this age range are in the sweet zone where they have begun to show they belong in the All-Star conversation even though they still have a lot of room for improvement as they gain NBA experience and mature into their peak years. years. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jalen Green averaged 30 points per game in 2028, or Cade Cunningham led the league in assists, or Nicholas Claxton won Defensive Player of the Year. There are so many deserving candidates in this age range with so many really exciting development paths that my 12 back-ups could include as many All-Stars as a dozen players I actually picked.

As an overarching philosophy, I leaned towards multi-faceted players – players who can effectively score themselves and create for others. Offensive is so advanced in the modern NBA that a player must have both to stand out, and 11 out of 12 players here average at least 3.5 assists per game this season. Mobley is an exception…


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