The Philadelphia 76ers are going to have two 2020 NBA All-Stars. Ben Simmons has officially made the cut as an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve, joining teammate Joel Embiid, who was recently named as a starter.
The Eastern Conference @NBAAllStar Reserve Pool.@JimmyButler@BenSimmons25@Klow7@Khris22m@jaytatum0@Dsabonis11@Bam1of1#NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/X7h7tXY2qr— NBA (@NBA) January 31, 2020
And here’s who made it from the Western Conference:
The Western Conference @NBAAllStar Reserve Pool.@spidadmitchell@Dame_Lillard@russwest44@CP3@B_Ingram13@rudygobert27— NBA (@NBA) January 31, 2020
Nikola Jokic#NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/jcAzCtROCe
Simmons may have disappointed with his lack of development as a shooter, but there’s no doubt he’s still been having an excellent season. Simmons is averaging 16.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 8.4 assists, 0.6 blocks, and a league-leading 2.2 steals per game, and has the best True Shooting Percentage (59.9) of his career. He’s played some of his best basketball over the last couple of weeks and has put together some of the top games of his career (I wrote about that in more depth here).
Simmons has also been able to tap into other areas of his unique skill-set more often this season, showing what he can do as a screener and roller to an extent that we haven’t fully seen before. Partner all of this with his ascension to an All-Defensive First Team level player (deserving of some early buzz as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, too), and Simmons has fully earned the second All-Star nod of his young career. If anything, he probably should have been a starter.
The only missing candidate for the Sixers is Tobias Harris. After his brutal three-point slump early in the season, Harris has been having a quality year. He’s averaging 19.4 points on a 56.5 True Shooting Percentage, 6.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, with improved defense from last season. In fact, since that three-point slump ended 37 games ago on November 15, Harris’s scoring has been highly efficient — he’s averaged 20.3 points in this span, shooting 48.4 percent from the floor and 39.8 percent from three. However, there were plenty of worthy forward candidates in the Eastern Conference this season, and those who made it in over Harris are all deserving.
I won’t dive into All-Star snubs now, because those cases deserve proper explanations. But when it comes to the Western Conference, Devin Booker is one guy who stands out as a deserving candidate over someone like Russell Westbrook.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.