Times are changing in the NBA and that is reflected in the All-Star. It is mainly seen in three factors: the stars that will play Sunday’s game are younger, they are also more international and, furthermore, they are the result of a much more complex selection due to the large number of names that deserve to be and are left out.
"I am very excited to be a part of this. It’s an honor, crazy"Tyrese Haliburton told Efe.
The benchmark of Indiana Pacers He is one of the rookies and icon of the new generation of players: "I have dreamed of being in an All-Star all my life. Being there with those players, among the best twenty-four in the league. It is a very important achievement for me.".
Haliburton still sees it with the eyes of a child, but he will have to get used to it because he leads a group with five more rookies in this 2023 edition in Salt Lake City (Utah, USA): Anthony Edwards, De’Aaron Fox, Shai Gilgeous -Alexander, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Lauri Markkanen.
Haliburton’s takeoff is similar to that of other young stars who have had to assume leading roles very early and who have known how to respond.
"Since my arrival in Indiana everything has happened very quickly. I have improved my confidence, thanks to the support I have received from this institution, from the project managers. They are the ones who have made me the player I am today"he pointed.
THE PARTY OF THE PRECOCIOUS
Of the most recent editions, only in Chicago 2020 were there more rookies in an all-star game. There were ten in total with Luka Doncic, Trae Young or Jayson Tatum, among others. Most of those who took the initiative that year remain and help rejuvenate the event.
Previously, you have to go back to 1994, in Minnesota, to see more debuts in an All-Star. Up to eleven were placed under the orders of George Karl and Lenny Wilkens with names in capital letters such as Gary Payton, Latrell Sprewell or Alonzo Mourning, among others.
In any case, the current one is one of the most fruitful stages of young talent and early explosion that can be remembered. That is why established guys like Ja Morant, Jaylen Brown, Bam Adebayo, Jrue Holiday, Julius Randle or Pascal Siakam are already facing their second date.
Many are left out, even in a questionable way, and Adebayo was critical of the election system.
"Fan votes are just that, fan votes. When you’re at this event because you’ve been voted in by the coaches, it does make me feel like I deserve to be in Utah."said.
But in turn, the Miami Heat center understands the tremendous impact of young players in the NBA.
"I feel like this group of players is getting younger and younger. It is increasingly difficult to choose the twenty-four names that are going to be in the All-Star. They deserve all my respect"he added.
AMONG THE ‘YOUNGEST’ STAR MATCHES
LeBron James and his 38 years distort the average and the second oldest player in the starters is Kyrie Irving at 30 years old. This leaves guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo or Joel Embiid as veterans even though they’re only 28.
The median age of starters in Salt Lake City is 27.2 years. The figure is reduced to 27 if substitutes are added to the equation.
Since the NBA began organizing the All-Star in 1950, only three times the average age has been less than 27 years.
The trend of more teams in the league betting on long-term projects each season may help to beat the minimum recorded sooner rather than later: in 1950 the participants in the all-star game averaged 25, 5 years.
THE INTERNATIONAL FACTOR IS ALREADY A FIXED
The NBA is increasingly globalized, the tentacles of its scouts reach every corner of the planet and, with this, international talent is imported more easily than ever.
Faced with equal opportunities, it has been shown that an international player can assume a leading role in a franchise, something unthinkable years ago and whose exceptions could then be counted on the fingers of one hand with cases such as Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol.
The reflection of this globalization will be seen in Sunday’s game with nine foreign players and six of them as starters. That Antetokounmpo, Jokic or Doncic are firm candidates for the MVP award is also the result of the international outlook of the NBA.
With this context, every day the fanciful proposal that the All-Star pits the best Americans against the rest of the world makes more sense. The list is easily expandable with names like Kristaps Porzingis, Al Horford, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rudy Gobert and even from next year the Frenchman Victor Wembanyama, who no one doubts will have a huge impact in the league.