The NBA announced its All-Star starting lineups tonight and Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving was officially selected to be among them. He’ll be joined by Kemba Walker of the host-city Charlotte Hornets, Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors, and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76′ers. The East’s top vote-getter and team captain is Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The West team will be captained by LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, and will also start Steph Curry and Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, James Harden of the Houston Rockets, and Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The reserves will be announced next Thursday, and on February 7, the team captains will pick their teams live on TNT.
Kyrie is starting for his second straight year as a Celtic and has now made the All-Star team in six of his eight professional seasons. He received 3,881,766 fan votes to lead all NBA guards. He was also the top media and player vote-getter. Miami’s Dwyane Wade beat Walker in the fan vote pretty easily, but Walker was ranked second among media members and players.
The last Celtic to start an All Star game was Kevin Garnett in 2010. Irving scored 13 point in last year’s game, but has a career high of 31, set in the 2014 game.
Irving is averaging 23.5 points per game for the Celtics and is shooting over 50 percent from the field, which would be the best percentage of his career. His player efficiency rating of 25.5 would also be a career high.
A few Celtics made some noise in the backcourt voting.
It’s unlikely any of Boston’s backcourt players will make it, but Jayson Tatum had an impressive showing in the frontcourt voting.
It’s hard to say what will happen from here. Coaches get to select the rest of the players and there are plenty of players ranked below Tatum who are having much more deserving seasons. Still, it might be hard to leave him off the list after being ranked so highly.
Even if he’s not selected next week, there is always the possibility of a player pulling out because of an injury. At that point, it’s up to the commissioner’s office to select a replacement, and they often tend to follow voting results in considering who will fill in, so a Tatum appearance isn’t out of the question just yet.