Jimmy Butler has seemingly eased himself into the season. This is not a guy that particularly cares about making the All-Star team. His focus is on winning in April, May and June. And he is very good at elevating his game for those moments.
He is just not someone who cares for regular season numbers. And Butler has been solid but not spectacular this season. Butler has been more concerned with the Heat's inconsistent energy so far this year. Still, Miami is a dangerous team everyone knows is out there ready to make another run.
Jaylen Brown is the most likely second Boston Celtics player to get to the All-Star Game after his All-Star trip last year. But this has not been the year he has typically had. He has struggled to adjust to the new additions to the Celtics -- Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis, who have made at least quieter bids for All-Star berths.
Brown's scoring average is its lowest in five years. He has ceded rebounds more this year -- understandable with Porzingis there. Brown has struggled with turnovers too and there is at least a little frustration with the your-turn, my-turn nature that the Celtics' offense sometimes devolves into.
The marriage between Trae Young and Dejounte Murray has not been perfect at all. The duo has struggled to find the right mix offensive with each other and the Atlanta Hawks' defense has remained a disaster.
The counting stats still look good. Murray's scoring though has dropped this season, as have his assists. Murray is not the strongest All-Star candidate especially as the Hawks sit at .500 at 9-10. Still if things click and they make a run, the Hawks have star talent.
Kristaps Porzingis and several Boston Celtics players are going to get in the conversation for the All-Star Game because of how well they are playing -- 15-4 start with a trip to the In-Season Tournament, where they are still the tournament favorites.
Porzingis has been a great addition for the Boston Celtics -- his absence in the second half of the game in Orlando was a big factor in the Orlando Magic's victory. He is a real presence defensively and his ability to spread the floor is critical to all the success. After a strong season last year in Washington, Porzingis has fit in perfectly in his role for the Celtics.
The question with Kyle Kuzma right now is whether he is putting up great numbers because he is the lead player on one of the absolute worst teams in the league or if he is truly an All-Star. Coaches are likely going to say the former than the latter.
Kuzma is strong offensively though. He seems to be trying to do the right things for a Wizards team that looks disjointed and too wrapped up in its offense and getting up quick shots to do much defensively.
LaMelo Ball continues to put up some stellar numbers for the Charlotte Hornets as he returns from last year's injury. He is the engine that drives a pretty strong offense for Steve Clifford's team. But the Hornets' record is likely the thing that keeps him out of the All-Star Game.
Then again, Ball remains a fairly popular player and it would not be too surprising to see fans sneak him in without a marquee guard on the East's roster. His injury though will likely eliminate him from any kind of contention.
The New York Knicks are still hanging out in the middle of the Eastern Conference, knocking on the door to contending for something more. Everyone just feels like Julius Randle is the something holding him back.
He is still producing solid numbers this year. But everyone wants more. And the Knicks seem to be stuck outside the contending group despite Tom Thibodeau's excellent coaching and Jalen Brunson's excellent play.
Other Players To Note: Darius Garland (CLE), Scottie Barnes (TOR), Pascal Siakam (TOR), DeMar DeRozan (CHI), Zach LaVine (CHI), Cade Cunningham (DET)