ROUND UP

Nikola Jokic named All-Star starter for fourth time

Jan 25, 2024, 5:12 PM | Updated: Jan 26, 2024, 6:40 am

Nikola Jokic will be starting the All-Star game for the fourth straight season, making his sixth appearance in the mid-season exhibition, the league announced on Thursday.

Jokic, a two-time MVP and the reigning Finals MVP, is currently a frontrunner to win the regular-season award again. The 28-year-old came into Thursday’s game in New York scoring 26.2 points, throwing 9.1 assists and snagging 12 rebounds a night, which is good for 13th, fourth and fourth-best in the league. His again monster statistical year, with the boost of just being a champion earned him second in votes. Only one of the greatest players of all time, LeBron James, had a larger chunk of the fan voting, which accounted for half of what decides the game’s starters. Jokic was first in both player and media voting.

Alex English and David Thompson were the only Denver Nuggets players before Jokic to be selected to start in consecutive All-Star games and Jokic is already just the second Nuggets player ever to be selected to six or more All-Star games. English’s eight appearances are still the most by a Nuggets player.

Jokic starts alongside the captain James, Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Durant for the Western Conference team, as the league returns to a conference vs conference format. They’ll take on a starting five of captain Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Tyrese Haliburton and Damian Lillard.

Most notable with this year’s All-Star Game was the possibility of Joker being joined by fellow Nuggets for the event. Last year, the entire coaching staff coached the game due to them leading the west at the time—that won’t happen this year even if Denver jumps Minny and OKC in the standings because league rules won’t allow the same team’s staff to coach the game two years in a row. Even two years ago Bones Hyland made the Rising Stars game, maybe Peyton Watson will go this year. But still, as of now, Jokic is the only MVP in NBA history—let alone a two-time one—to never have had a teammate selected to an All-Star, All-NBA or All-Defensive team.

And that’s probably not going to change with this event given his Nuggets co-star Jamal Murray missed a month and it’s pretty easy to find six guards in the west having a better season than him. While Aaron Gordon’s numbers as third fiddle don’t come near to stacking up with lesser team’s first options that fans have shown more favorability to.

We’ll find out about Murray, Gordon and the rest of the rosters on Feb. 1, which are selected by head coaches and commissioner Adam Silver. The All-Star Game will be played in Indianapolis on Feb. 18.

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