Knicks’ Jalen Bronson, Julius Randle faces an uphill battle to make the NBA All-Star game

DETROIT — Jalen Bronson and Julius Randle continue to aggressively build their case for inclusion in the NBA All-Star Game next month, even if the Knicks will almost certainly not get more than one representative due to the sheer volume of deserving candidates in the Eastern Conference.

With only 12 spots available per team, there are at least seven and maybe eight locks already in the East, and the Knicks duo could potentially compete with about a dozen other spots for the last four or five spots available.

The current leaders in fan voting – Kyrie Irving from the Nets and Donovan Mitchell from the Cavaliers in the backcourt; And the Nets’ Kevin Durant, Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and Celtics’ Jason Tatum up front — all are automatic whether or not they earn spots through the voting process, although Durant’s current knee injury means he may need to be replaced if he doesn’t return to the game. The stadium with the Nets before the All-Star game Feb. 19 in Utah.

Sixers linebacker Joel Embiid and Celtics guard Jaylen Brown will also apparently be on the team – making seven locks. And it’s hard to imagine Pacers’ starting point guard Tyrese Halliburton — a 20-point scorer and league leader in assists at 10.2 per game for the winning team — being left out, despite MSG analyst Wally Szczerbiak’s bizarre recent rating of him as a “wannabe,” every fake stars. “

So who will Randle and Bronson be legitimately competing for when the final spots are revealed on Feb. 2? Here is a breakdown of the remaining candidates.

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Knicks’ Julius Randle and Galen Bronson made strong All-Star cases this year.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Julius Randel

The 2021 All-Star regained form that earned him league Most Valuable Player honors and second-team All-NBA honors that season. He’s averaged 27.9 points, 12.9 rebounds and 38.2 minutes per game over his last 19 games since Dec. 7. Only two other players in the league have scored at least 24 points and 10 total boards this season as of Friday, a two-time Major League Player of the Year. Winners Antetokounmpo and Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic.

Galen Bronson

The $104 million signing was hugely impressive in his first season in New York, both for Randle and for propelling the Knicks to sixth place in the playoffs in the East. Since returning from a three-game absence with a groin injury, Bronson has racked up more scoring with 33.3 points per game, including four performances with at least 30 in six games to bring his total numbers to 22.2 points and 6.5 dime. 40 matches.

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Four-time All-Defensive winner Honoree Jrue Holiday has only been rated one All-Star appearance in a stellar career (2013 with the Sixers), but the 32-year-old point guard averages 18.5 points and 7.2 assists for the team’s Bucks without Khris Middleton is a three-time All-Star in all but seven matches this season. James Harden has only appeared in 26 games for the Sixers as of Friday, but the All-Star’s 10 assists per game would have led the league if he had played enough games to qualify. And that doesn’t even count after All-Stars with strong numbers like Trae Young (Hawks), Zach LaVine (Bulls), and Darius Garland (Cavaliers).

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Durant’s possible absence could open up an additional opportunity for Randle or another forward such as Pascal Siakam (Raptors), Demar DeRozan (Bulls), Bam Adebayo (Heat), Jimmy Butler (Heat) and even Knicks All-Star Kristaps Porcingis (Wizards). The Knicks are ahead of all those teams in the standings, however, that could work in Randle’s favor. They are 24-19 and winners in 14 of the last 20 going into Sunday’s game against the Pistons.

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