Eastern Conference All-Star Power Rankings: Paolo Banchero's late push bodes well for his bid

The Orlando Magic's fall in the standings seemed to put Paolo Banchero's All-Star bid at risk. But his sudden rise in the fan vote and player vote suggests his candidacy is very strong.
Paolo Banchero has put himself in the All-Star conversation and has earned his peers' respect in the process.
Paolo Banchero has put himself in the All-Star conversation and has earned his peers' respect in the process. / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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The NBA All-Star Game is both an individual award and a team award.

An individual player has to be great to get All-Star consideration, of course. But how the team is performing matters, too. Especially when it comes to the coaches voting on reserves. They know who is good and who keeps them up at night before games. But they also tend to reward players contributing to winning teams.

Paolo Banchero undoubtedly has the numbers to be an All-Star -- 22.5 points per game, 7.0 rebounds per game and 4.8 assists per game. Banchero is making waves despite a surprising lack of national conversation or attention.

We have watched Banchero climb the rankings among the fan vote with each successive return. He climbed to eighth in last week's returns. As All-Star voting closed, he rose to sixth in the Eastern Conference frontcourt -- where everyone knew that Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo would start.

That is the starting trio for the Eastern Conference frontcourt, joined by Tyrese Haliburton and Damian Lillard.

The surprising part, though, is Banchero officially finished fifth in All-Star voting. He climbed two more spots to sixth in the fan vote, finishing with 786,426 votes. Banchero was fourth in the player vote, showing how much his peers respect him.

That suggests Banchero holds much more respect around the league than anyone might have known. And with the coaches voting for the reserves, they certainly understand the impact and attention Banchero must receive when they face the Orlando Magic.

After a rough quarter of the season that has seen the Magic slip to eighth in the Eastern Conference, the Magic's record might have been a reason to be fearful Banchero would miss the All-Star Game. These numbers and this attention from his peers suggest Banchero's bid to head to Indianapolis to play in the NBA's showcase game is very intact.

Of course, everything starts at zero. It is up to the coaches now to decide Banchero's fate.

And this is a very tight battle for the Eastern Conference reserves.

As we did when voting opened up, it is time to take a temperature check and see where Banchero stands among the Eastern Conference hopefuls to make the All-Star team.

As a reminder, the reserves will be two guards, three frontcourt players and two wild card players to complete the 12-man All-Star roster.