The 2023 NBA All-Star starters were announced Thursday and LeBron James tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most All-Star selections with 19. This is the Los Angeles Lakers forward's 18th time being named a starter.
There's the expected All-Star starters like James, Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
2023 NBA ALL-STAR GAME STARTERS: LeBron James earns 19th selection, joined by Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic
But, as always, there are players who have performed well up to this point in the season and were snubbed for the All-Star starting lineup. There's still a chance to be named to the team as a reserve, but there is an extra weight in the glory of being named a starter.
Here are the snubs from the NBA All-Star starting lineup:
Joel Embiid - Philadelphia 76ers
In the East, Durant, Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and Joel Embiid are all worthy starters. But it was a numbers game. Just three could be voted in as frontcourt starters. It's not like someone undeserving made it from that group. Embiid just happened to be the one left out.
The Philadelphia 76ers center has been an All-Star in the past five years. This season, he's the league's second-leading scorer 33.4 points per game along with 9.8 rebounds.
Jaylen Brown - Boston Celtics
At the guard spot, Kyrie Irving is a fan favorite and got the starting nod, but Boston's Jaylen Brown is having a career year. He's averaging 26.9 points and 7.1 rebounds compared to the Nets star's 26.8 points and 5.1 boards. It's a close call, but Brown is on the East's best team. That would've been a better choice.
Ja Morant - Memphis Grizzlies
In the West, Memphis' Ja Morant could've easily been a starter in the backcourt alongside Luka Doncic, but there's no problem with Curry getting the nod who averages more points and shoots better from the field than Morant. Morant is averaging 27.3 points and eight assists for the 31-17 Grizzlies who are in second place in the West.
Morant, who made his first All-Star team last year, will make the team as a reserve.
Domantas Sabonis - Sacramento Kings
In the frontcourt, you can argue Zion Williamson has not played enough games (just 29 of 49 games) and that Sacramento's Domantas Sabonis should have been named as one of the starters.
Sabonis has started 45 games and is leading the league with 12.4 rebounds per game while averaging 18.4 points and shooting 60.6% from the field.
Lauri Markkanen - Utah Jazz
The same case can be made that Lauri Markkanen should've been named as one of the starters. The 25-year-old has never been selected to an All-Star game, but is having a breakout season: averaging career-highs in points (24.8), rebounds (8.7), field-goal percentage (52%) and 3-point percentage (43.2%).
But as long as they make it as reserves … no harm, no foul.
Contributing: Victoria Hernandez
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2023 NBA All-Star Game starter snubs