2023 NBA All-Star Game: Which players were snubbed as starters?

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The NBA announced the starters for the 2023 All-Star Game on Thursday. As is often the case, a number of fans and pundits took issue with some of the results. 

In the Eastern Conference, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks was named a captain, with Kevin Durant of the Nets and Jayson Tatum of the Celtics being named the other frontcourt starters. Donovan Mitchell of the Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving of the Nets were named the backcourt starters out of the East. 

Skip Bayless shared the same frustration as many other NBA fans: How could 76ers star Joel Embiid not be a starter?

“I’ve got Joel Embiid as the MVP,” Bayless said on Friday’s “Undisputed.” “I keep telling you that because that team keeps emerging as the best in the East. So, I don’t know how you can keep Joel out of the top three. I look at the way the players voted, they voted for Embiid as the third starter. 


“The fans don’t like [Joel] Embiid. He trolls a lot and I think it might hurt him with the fan vote because I don’t think they trust him. He’s been hurt too much over the length of his career. He’s been sick and hurt. There’s always something wrong with him.”

In the lead-up to Thursday’s announcement, much of the attention was focused on who would be the odd man out among the Eastern Conference frontcourt players. Antetokounmpo ranks fourth in the league in scoring (31 ppg) and second in rebounds (12 rpg), while leading the Bucks to the third-best record in the conference (31-17 entering Friday). Durant ranks eighth in scoring (29.7 ppg) and has added 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while helping the Nets post a 27-13 record prior to his knee injury on Jan. 8.

Tatum is third in the league in scoring (31.1 ppg) and has helped the Celtics hold the best record in the NBA for much of the season. While Shannon Sharpe pointed out that Tatum has been the best player on the best team, Bayless thinks Embiid trumps him.

“I’ve been watching Boston a lot and I don’t know if you watched them against the Knicks last night, but the whole team came up small,” Bayless said. “[Tatum] had a shot to win the game at the end of regulation because they had one last hurrah, and he got a really good look, which surprised me. He didn’t do much in overtime. I can’t wrap my arm much around Boston. They’ve lost three times in a row to Orlando, [Miami] and the Knicks.”

LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo named All-Star starters

Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe react to the NBA All-Star Game starters announcement on “Undisputed.”

In the Western Conference, LeBron James of the Lakers was named the captain, while Nikola Jokić of the Nuggets and Zion Williamson of the Pelicans were named the other two frontcourt starters. Steph Curry of the Warriors and Luka Dončić of the Mavericks were named the backcourt starters from the West.

Sharpe’s biggest gripe was Williamson being named a starter because he’s played in only 29 of 49 games this season. 

“I would’ve taken [Domantas] Sabonis,” Sharpe said. “He’s averaging 18 points per game. He leads the league in rebounding at 12.4 rebounds per game, and he has seven assists per game. And he’s shooting 60% from the field. His team is also third in the West. Or, I would’ve taken Lauri Markkanen. He’s averaging 24.5 points with 8.5 rebounds per game on 52% shooting and 43% from the 3-point line.

“Sabonis or Markkanen definitely should’ve started over Zion.”

The 2023 NBA All-Star Game will take place Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City.

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