The 2023-24 season for the Washington Wizards will be all about player development. There is no better sign of development than a player making their first All-Star appearance. As a team with no All-Stars on the roster, the Wizards have a few candidates to get their first All-Star nod. The two best candidates are obviously Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma. But how realistic is that possibility?
The Eastern Conference will have 12 All-Star spots like every other year. The starters are chosen by the fans, media, and current NBA players. Fans make up 50% of the vote, while players and media each comprise 25%. The two guards and three frontcourt players who receive the highest votes start the game.
The remaining seven players are selected by NBA head coaches. Each coach selects two guards, three frontcourt players, and two wild cards.
Kuzma and Poole will have to be among these 12 to make their first All-Star game.
There are some absolute locks to make the All-Star game. Barring any major injury, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid, and Donovan Mitchell will certainly be All-Stars. Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Jaylen Brown, and Tyrese Haliburton are heavy favorites to get one of the 12 spots.
This leaves four spots for the remaining Eastern Conference stars like Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Demar Derozan, Trae Young, Zach Lavine, James Harden, Jrue Holiday, Pascal Siakam, and Julius Randle. There is a chance Damian Lillard is in the Eastern Conference come the All-Star break as well.
The possibility of Jordan Poole or Kyle Kuzma performing at a high enough level to get enough coaches’ votes to be a reserve seems like a long shot. They will also battle against the likes of Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Lamelo Ball, and Cade Cunningham. The league is absolutely stacked with talent nowadays.
However, interestingly enough, Poole and Kuzma may have a better shot at starting rather than being a reserve. Both players are popular figures around the NBA and the global fanbase. In fact, Kuzma finished 7th in voting last season among Eastern Conference frontcourt players, while Poole finished 12th among Western Conference guards. A better individual performance and an overachievement of the Wizards in the first half of the season could potentially get them over the hump.
Is that likely? No. Kuzma would have to edge out two of Giannis, Tatum, Embiid, and Butler in terms of fan, player, and media popularity, while Poole has to beat out all but one of Mitchell, Haliburton, Brunson, Young, Brown, Harden, and potentially Lillard. Both of those seem highly unlikely.
Yet, crazier things have happened. No one was expecting Lauri Markkanen to become an All-Star at the beginning of last season. A breakout season, combined with your team playing above expectations can build plenty of momentum for an All-Star nod. It will be fascinating to track this possibility all season.