This is an excerpt from Ben Gulliver’s NBA Post Up Weekly newsletter. Sign up to get the latest news and commentary and the best high jinks from #NBATwitter and R/NBA delivered to your inbox every Monday.
Salt Lake City doesn’t host the NBA All-Star Game until February, but start cheering now for what could be an impressive roster crunch.
Here’s a list of 12 All-Star players who missed last season due to injury, other absences or slow starts: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, Jaylen Brown, Zion Williamson, Bradley Beal and When Pascal heals. On paper, Team Remnant looks as good or better than Team LeBron, who won Cleveland with Stephen Curry’s 50-point outburst to win the MVP. All 12 men must be nominated by 2023.
These countervailing forces — the big names looking to take their place from the 2022 newcomers — squeeze a third group: talented youngsters trying to make their all-star debuts. With that in mind, here’s a look at five players hoping to disrupt the party in Salt Lake City and the obstacles they’ll face to get there.