Nuggets' Nikola Jokić Says Joel Embiid Deserves to Start NBA All-Star Game After Snub

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 27, 2023

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 25: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts during the second quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Wells Fargo Center on January 25, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Reigning back-to-back NBA MVP and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić believes Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid was snubbed for a spot as an All-Star Game starter.

Mike Singer @msinger

Nikola Jokic said he was surprised Joel Embiid wasn't named an All-Star starter: "He deserves it."

The starters were announced on Thursday in advance of the Feb. 19 All-Star Game, which will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah.


The Western Conference <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStar?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAAllStar</a> Starters Pool!<a href="https://twitter.com/KingJames?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KingJames</a> (Captain)<a href="https://twitter.com/StephenCurry30?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@StephenCurry30</a><a href="https://twitter.com/luka7doncic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@luka7doncic</a><br>Nikola Jokic<a href="https://twitter.com/Zionwilliamson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Zionwilliamson</a> <a href="https://t.co/djZxfHuJ8i">pic.twitter.com/djZxfHuJ8i</a>


The Eastern Conference <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStar?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAAllStar</a> Starters Pool!<a href="https://twitter.com/Giannis_An34?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Giannis_An34</a> (Captain)<a href="https://twitter.com/KDTrey5?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KDTrey5</a><a href="https://twitter.com/KyrieIrving?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KyrieIrving</a><a href="https://twitter.com/spidadmitchell?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@spidadmitchell</a><a href="https://twitter.com/jaytatum0?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jaytatum0</a> <a href="https://t.co/u2lWl3QSk7">pic.twitter.com/u2lWl3QSk7</a>

The All-Star starters encompass three frontcourt players and two guards apiece in the Eastern and Western Conferences.

Per NBA.com, "fans accounted for 50 percent of the vote to determine the starters, while players and media accounted for 25 percent each."

Embiid finished fourth in the Eastern Conference frontcourt voting behind the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant and the Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum, respectively. He finished third in player and media voting but fourth among fans.

There's no denying Embiid is posting the best numbers among that quartet this year, and his team is playing the best basketball of that group right now, too.

The former Kansas star is averaging an NBA-high 33.4 points on 53.2 percent shooting, 9.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.7 blocks for a scorching-hot 76ers team that's won six straight games to propel itself to second place in the Eastern Conference.

He's third in win shares per 48 minutes behind Jokić and the Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler, per Basketball-Reference, and he's second in player efficiency rating to Jokic as well.

Embiid's starter candidacy may have ultimately been hurt by the 12 games he's missed this year. Foot ailments have notably kept him off the court at times this year.

Embiid may not start, but he's a lock to be named a reserve and earn his sixth All-Star Game appearance.

The league's coaches will decide this year's reserves, who will be announced on Feb. 2.