How many All-Stars will the Pelicans have next season?

Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the New Orleans Pelicans high fives Brandon Ingram (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the New Orleans Pelicans high fives Brandon Ingram (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans will have one of the best starting lineups in the NBA once Zion Williamson returns next season.

With Zion, Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum, Herbert Jones and Jonas Valanciunas, the Pels have two of the best young forwards in the NBA, a proven veteran scorer in McCollum, a great wing defender Jones and a solid center in Valanciunas, who is currently playing well for Lithuania.

Zion and Ingram have already made All-Star teams in their young careers, but that recognition has miraculously escaped CJ McCollum, though this could finally be his season.

Same with Valanciunas, who has never made an All-Star team but put up numbers last season that up him in the discussion as a top-5 center in the NBA.

Herb Jones will be entering his second season, and is still largely unknown to casual fans, so his chances of making his first All-Star team next season are slim.

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So that leaves four players in the starting five who have All-Star talent, but how many will actually make the team?

New Orleans Pelicans: Possible All-Stars next season

Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram

Last year’s All-Stars at forward were starters LeBron James and Andrew Wiggins and reserve Draymond Green.

Unless he gets hurt, LeBron James is probably a lock to make his 19th All-Star game, so that spot is spoken for. I thought Ingram was better than Wiggins last season, but that’s debatable.

Wiggins and Green were rewarded in part because of strong team play, so if the Pelicans find themselves near the top of the Western Conference next season, Zion and Ingram could supplant them if they are both healthy and playing well.

However, both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will be returning from injury next season, so the group of forwards is going to be loaded and competitive. Unless the Pelicans are ahead of both the Clippers and Warriors,  I can’t see both forwards getting in, but one of them is definitely possible.

CJ McCollum

McCollum may have an easier path, as he has been on the fringes of being an All-Star for most of his career, and was once again last season.

The good news for McCollum, is that two of last year’s All-Stars (Dejounte Murray and Donovan Mitchell) have moved to the Eastern Conference.

Stephen Curry, Ja Morant, Luka Doncic, Devin Booker and Chris Paul will likely all be there again, but the door is open for McCollum, especially if the Pelicans are winning.

Jonas Valanciunas

As a guy who has consistently averaged around 15 points and 10 rebounds over his career, Valanciunas has sniffed All-Star selections many times but has always come up short.

Last year’s All-wars were starter and two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and reserves Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert.

This is going to be tough group for Valanciunas to crack, though KAT and Gobert will now be sharing some of their stats on the same roster. Jokic isn’t going anywhere, so Valanciunas would have to have better numbers than one of KAT or Gobert.

Gobert is one of the NBA’s best defenders and KAT is a scoring machine, so it will be a long shot for Valanciunas.

If I had to bet right now how many Pelicans will make the All-Star team, I’d say the over/under starts at 1.5 and I’d probably take the over, with McCollum and one of the forwards making it to next year’s team on the strength of a better overall team record for New Orleans.

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