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Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle out of contention for NBA All-Star nods

The first round of voting results isn’t a promising one for the New York Knicks stars.

New York Knicks v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The NBA released the first round of voting results for the 2024 All-Star game on Thursday, Jan. 4, including four players out of the Eastern Conference boasting more than one million votes and none of them belonging to the New York Knicks organization.

Surprisingly, the Knicks only have one player among the top 20 most-voted players: no. 6 Jalen Brunson.

Snubbed or not, Julius Randle is—for now, at least—nowhere to be found among the most-voted players with 15 more days of voting left until the final results are gathered on Jan. 20.

Even though he made the list, Brunson couldn’t crack the top five among Eastern Conference guards. That’s rather shocking given his play this season and the league-wide narrative of Brunson deserving not only his first ASG appearance but also to start the game next February.

Welp. That might be what pundits and analysts think, but that’s also most definitely not the case in the eyes of the fans currently voting and crafting the initial lists, with the likes of Trae Young and Damian Lillard ranked way above JB in total votes with more than twice clicks as the Knicks point guard has been able to accrue.

Brunson enters Friday’s matchup against the Sixers averaging 25.7 PPG, 6.4 APG, and 3.9 RPG (all of those career-high figures) while slashing 46.8/43.2/82.1 on 19.5 FGA and 6.5 3PA through 34 games to date.

Perhaps, as our own Kento wrote yesterday, fans just don’t appreciate or value Brunson’s game as-is and don’t consider him a bonafide point guard in the classic meaning of the role.

Despite his stellar play and increasing national attention, one of the biggest criticisms against Jalen Brunson has always been the questions surrounding his playmaking and there have been reasons for those concerns. Brunson has always been a solid passer, capable of making most passes that a point guard should be able to, and you can say the same about his court vision too. But he’s never been a true elite floor general, one that was going out and dishing out double-digit assists on a nightly basis like a Trae Young or Tyrese Haliburton. — Kento Kato

Coincidentally, as Kato pointed out, Trae Young and Tyrese Haliburton rank third and first respectively in the first round of voting results. One might deserve to rank above Brunson, the other not so much.

Then, there’s (or not, literally) Julius Randle.

Randle is a two-time All-Star and he had an absolutely horrid start to the year. That’s the only thing I can think about for his snub here and the lack of appreciation by the league-wide fans.

Yes, I get it, Randle is definitely not better than Embiid, Giannis, and the top-tier players of the Eastern Conference and the NBA by extension. From there to not even cracking the top 10 above Paolo Banchero is something I cannot understand.

Randle has cooked opponents for 20+ points in 19 consecutive games. Another one tonight and that’d be 20-for-20. After failing to hit that mark in the first six games of the season, Randle has scored 20+ points in all but one of his next/last 28 games. That’s the Real Randle, not the fluky, banged-up version that showed up at the end of October and the first week of November.

Julius’ monthly splits read like this:

  • October (4 games): 15-11-5, 41.7 TS%
  • November (14): 22-10-5, 52.2 TS%
  • December (14): 27-9-4, 62.9 TS%
  • January (2): 37-7-2, 66.3 TS%

Fan votes contribute 50% to the All-Star starter selection, with the remaining votes split equally between media members and fellow NBA players. Each conference’s starting lineup will consist of three frontcourt and two backcourt players. Coaches will select the reserves once the starters are unveiled. The next All-Star voting update is scheduled for next Thursday, Jan. 11, with voting closing on Jan. 20.

You know what to do.

The ASG will return to the classic East vs. West format this season, ditching the Captain model the NBA has used since 2018 and proved to be too cool for school before fading and failing to generate much interest of late.

The game will be played at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Feb. 18, and it won’t feature the 24-point Elam Ending either, as Adam Silver seems to keep trying to please old-heads like me these days.

East Frontcourt Top 5

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (2,171,812)

2. Joel Embiid, 76ers (1,844,025)

3. Jayson Tatum, Celtics (1,765,919)

4. Jimmy Butler, Heat (767,913)

5. Jaylen Brown, Celtics (426,589)

East Backcourt Top 5

1. Tyrese Haliburton, Pacers (1,380,795)

2. Damian Lillard, Bucks (955,751)

3. Trae Young, Hawks (873,979)

4. Donovan Mitchell, Cavaliers (624,819)

5. Tyrese Maxey, 76ers (480,062)