Sixers

Despite leading East in scoring, Embiid not selected as ASG starter

Sixers

Joel Embiid's streak of consecutive All-Star starter selections is over at five.

The Sixers' cornerstone center was not among the five players announced Thursday night as Eastern Conference starters.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum finished ahead of Embiid in East frontcourt voting. The conference's starting backcourt is Donovan Mitchell and Kyrie Irving. 

Fan voting was weighted at 50 percent for All-Star starter picks, while voting from a media panel and from players was weighted at 25 percent each. Embiid came fourth in fan voting for the East's frontcourt, receiving slightly over 4.9 million votes. Tatum was third with approximately 5.2 million. In both player and media voting, Embiid ranked third. 

The Western Conference's starters are Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, LeBron James, Zion Williamson and Nikola Jokic.

After back-to-back MVP runner-up years, Embiid has a shot at winning his second consecutive scoring title. His 33.4 points per game are second in the NBA to Doncic. Embiid has made a league-high 10.1 free throws per game and is on track for his most efficient season ever with 129.1 points per 100 shot attempts, according to Cleaning the Glass. It’s undoubtedly the sort of résumé one expects to see from an All-Star starter. 

James Harden ranked fourth overall for Eastern Conference guards. Though he doesn’t currently qualify to lead the league in assists per game because of the time he missed with a right foot tendon strain, Harden appears to have a strong chance at doing so for the second time in his career. The 10-time All-Star has averaged 21.5 points, 11.1 assists and 6.4 rebounds for the 31-16 Sixers.

 

The NBA’s head coaches will select seven reserves — two guards, three frontcourt players, two wild cards — per conference. Those choices will be announced next Thursday, Feb. 2. 

The All-Star Game is set for Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City. Team captains James and Antetokounmpo will draft their teams immediately before the game.

As for the weekend’s other events: 

Tyrese Maxey has aged out of Rising Stars Challenge consideration after participating last year. In his third season, Maxey is averaging 21.3 points on 46.0/40.0/81.4 shooting splits, 3.9 assists and 3.0 rebounds. 

Though the NBA has not yet announced participants for its Saturday night competitions, Delaware Blue Coats guard Mac McClung has reportedly accepted a dunk contest invitation and sounds like he’s ready to roll.

Georges Niang has a good case for a three-point contest spot. Niang has made 42.2 percent of his 5.0 catch-and-shoot three attempts per game and would enjoy the opportunity to do his thing in his former home city.