Brooklyn Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell thinks he’s an All-Star. As the best player on a possible playoff team, perhaps he’s right.
When asked about his All-Star candidacy, Russell gave a convincing response.
D'Angelo Russell says he's "for sure" an All-Star this year and says some of his Nets teammates should be coming with him to Charlotte for All-Star Weekend
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) January 15, 2019
“For sure. For sure. I mean I’m a confident guy so of course, I’m (going to) say that. But I believe that too. I think we’ve got a lot of guys over here scraping and bringing it every day. The teams moving forward.
“Joe Harris should be in the three-point contest. Spencer Dinwiddie should win back-to-back skills. I think it’s time for that. I think it’s really necessary.”
Given that’s he’s undeniably been Brooklyn’s best player during a significant hot-stretch, Russell’s case is pretty strong.
D-Lo is averaging a career-high 18.7 points and 6.3 assists, as well as a career-best 43.1 percent from the field. His play during the last month and a half has been particularly inspiring. Russell has showcased his other-worldly passing gifts. His three-point shooting and defense have also been markedly better.
As it stands, there are four available backcourt slots for the All-Star game. Victor Oladipo, Kyrie Irving, and Kemba Walker should all be shoe-ins for these spots. This leaves the fourth spot wide-open for the taking.
At the beginning of the season, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry appeared to be headed toward his fifth All-Star game. In his first ten games, Lowry averaged 18 points per game (on 49.6/40.6/78.8 shooting splits) along with a league-leading 11.6 assists per game.
Since then, his production has tailed off precipitously. In his last twenty games, Lowry has put up 8.7 assists and a paltry 12.6 points (on 38.5/29.4/84 shooting splits).
Recency bias is a very real thing in the NBA. As it stands, Russell’s All-Star candidacy is more appealing than Lowry’s.
D-Lo’s main source of competition may come from Washington.
Since John Wall went down with a season-ending Achilles injury, his teammate Bradley Beal has been on an absolute tear.
Even amidst the constant trade rumors, Beal has stayed focused. In January, Beal has averaged 31.3 points on 48.2 percent from the field and a scorching 43.8 percent from three. His team has gone 5-3 in their last eight games. However, they still sit well outside of the playoff picture.
The final roster of the All-Star game will be announced on Jan. 24, live on TNT. If things continue to go well for the Brooklyn Nets, perhaps D’Angelo Russell will be among the twelve players representing the Eastern Conference.