Eastern Conference All-Star Power Rankings: Where Orlando Magic's young stars stand

The NBA season is nearing its quarter mark as the league completes the In-Season Tournament this week. NBA All-Star voting will open soon and both Orlando Magic forward -- Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner -- should get consideration for the trip to Indianapolis this February.
Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner both are putting together solid resumes to get a trip to Indianapolis in February for All-Star Weekend.
Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner both are putting together solid resumes to get a trip to Indianapolis in February for All-Star Weekend. / Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
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Surefire All-Stars

The forward spots for the All-Star game are pretty much locked in. That is going to make it hard for Paolo Banchero or Franz Wagner to break through into the starting lineup. They are going to have to get good or wait their turn -- or for one of those players to request a move to the Western Conference.

That is just the reality of the zero-sum game that is an All-Star roster spot.

The guard spots feel more up in the air, although I suspect Damian Lillard will get voted in regardless of his stats (which are All-Star worthy, do not get it wrong).

The fact is that even with players making surges, there are some players who are just going to make the team regardless of anything anyone does. And these players are indeed deserving.

. player. . 27.0 PPG, 11.8 APG, 44.7% 3FG%. Tyrese Haliburton. 4. Haliburton AS Rank 12.04.23. 100. . Tyrese Haliburton

I am not sure Tyrese Haliburton will get voted in for his home All-Star Game. But he is going to make a push to break through for those two spots. The Indiana Pacers (except when they face the Orlando Magic) are the most exciting offensive team in the league. And Haliburton is the big engine for that.

He leads the league in assists and is putting constant pressure on the basket and from deep. The Pacers are built around Haliburton and his ability to push the pace (pun intended) at all times. Haliburton has essentially locked up a spot as one of the more difficult-to-guard players in the East.

5. Maxey AS Rank 12.04.23. 27.0 PPG, 6.7 APG, 39.6% 3FG%. . Tyrese Maxey. . . Tyrese Maxey. player. 93

There is going to be at least one first-time All-Star this year. Tyrese Maxey has been a revelation for the Philadelphia 76ers and made the release of James Harden back into the trade wilds OK for the Sixers. They were right to hold the line and keep Maxey.

He has been dynamic attacking downhill and finishing at the rim and has been an effective 3-point shooter. He plays perfectly off Joel Embiid. Maxey has been outstanding and a clear-cut All-Star in the early part of the season.

. player. . Damian Lillard. 6. 89. Dame AS Rank 12.04.23. . 25.5 PG, 6.9 APG. Damian Lillard

Without a doubt, it has been a learning process for Damian Lillard to integrate with the Milwaukee Bucks. They have needed to get their defense right and find the balance in adding Lillard into the group with so little training camp time. Lillard is learning how to be a role player as much as he is a star when the team needs him.

He stepped up his game up during the In-Season Tournament though, averaging 30.0 points per game in the four tournament games. The Bucks have a chance to make a major statement and build on their 14-6 record (same as the Orlando Magic!) with a strong In-Season Tournament push.

. player. 156. . Donovan Mitchell. Donovan Mitchell AS Rank 12.04.23. 27.1 PPG, 5.2 APG. Donovan Mitchell. 7.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have felt like they have had a disappointing season to this point in the year. They have not quite come together and delivered on their defensive potential or looked to shore up the areas where they faltered in last year's playoffs. Cleveland is 11-9 so far.

Injuries played a role in that. And individuals have played well. None more than Donovan Mitchell. He is likely to get the fans' nod to start (although maybe Jaylen Brown or Tyrese Haliburton have something to say about that). There is no denying the numbers and Mitchell remains a dynamic and flashy scorer capable of carrying a team to the Playoffs at least.

Brunson AS Rank 12.04.23. . 24.9 PPG, 5.5 APG, 47.4% 3FG%. Jalen Brunson. 8. . . Jalen Brunson. player. 27

If anybody thought Jalen Brunson's first season in New York or his playoff run with the Dallas Mavericks in 2022 was some fluke, he is putting that to rest this year. He has been an engine of offense for a New York Knicks team that is right in the thick of the Eastern Conference race at 12-7.

Brunson has done a lot of heavy lifting and been consistent for New York even with some uncertainty around him with Julius Randle and RJ Barrett still trying to find their levels of consistency this season. The Knicks are a dangerous team. And Brunson might still be one of the most clutch shot-makers in the league.