With the NBA All-Star game fast approaching, it is a good opportunity to look at some of the young talent that are making their first appearances in this yearly event. 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 

Shai has had an incredible season so far averaging 31.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists. His playmaking abilities have improved since last year and he has proven to be a threat from deep with a higher three-point percentage. 

The 25-year-old creates space by faking dribbles into the paint which is difficult to predict due to his versatility when driving and shooting. Despite not being the largest on the court, Gilgeous-Alexander is not afraid to use his shoulders to push forward against heavier and taller opponents. 

He uses this physicality to maintain momentum whilst moving forward with the ball to increase the chances of scoring a layup or dunk without losing balance. SGA’s sudden burst of pace can catch defenders off guard as he can be explosive and often uses relaxed body language to trick the opposition. 

Shai also uses good footwork to create opportunities in tight positions and break away for easy points. The guard also has a unique tactic to score against bigger opponents by jumping early for layups which surprises defenders and allows him to reach the basket before anyone can react. 

The Canadian has proven many times that he can shoot under pressure from deep and midrange. He is able to adjust his shot if his attempt is highly contested by arching the ball over players at a tight angle. 

SGA has also demonstrated solid defensive ability with 2.2 steals per game which allows his team to make fast breaks down the other end of the court before the opposition have set up to stop the attack. 

He often invites contact to draw fouls, which sometimes makes his attacking threat close to unstoppable. This works well due to Shai’s incredible free throw percentage at just under ninety percent. 

Due to his attacking threat, teams are forced to guard Gilgeous-Alexander which leaves space for teammates who are considered less threatening when moving forward. He capitalises on this by drawing the opposition towards him and passing to a teammate for uncontested opportunities at the basket. 

Tyrese Haliburton 

Haliburton is another newcomer to this year's All-Star game due to his outstanding performances in the first half of the season. He has averaged 21.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 11.7 assists. 

Tyrese has improved his scoring ability drastically over the past two years with his increase in confidence as he has established himself as one of the most efficient guards in the league. He looks more comfortable shooting from midrange and deep which has come from his increased experience on the court. 

The 23-year-old is strong as both a playmaker and scorer which makes him unpredictable to come up against. He also rarely loses possession for his team with only 2.4 turnovers per game which is impressive considering his playmaking role with 11.7 assists per game. 

Haliburton manipulates defenders by looking in different directions before passing the ball which leads to delayed reactions and gives time for a teammate to adjust their body for a shot or dribble after receiving the ball. 

The talented guard is not afraid to make difficult passes from long range which leaves people unguarded for uncontested shots. He also does this while transitioning to break away quickly and score points before the opposition can adjust their formation. 

Although Haliburton can make fast passing plays, he also shows maturity for his age by patiently waiting for an opening. His creativity means that he can create opportunities from difficult positions where most players would force the ball forward and lose possession. 

He does not just create space for teammates, but also himself by rejecting screens and faking passes which gives him time to make the correct decision that will benefit the team. 

Paolo Banchero 

At only 21 years old, Banchero has cemented himself as a future star in the NBA which is apparent when looking at his stats. He has averaged 23 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists so far this season. 

His scoring ability has improved due to his incredible development shooting from beyond the arc. Last season, Paolo had a three-point percentage of 29.8% which has risen to 36.5% over the past few months. 

This increase is due to his confidence and experience growing in the league and defenders leaving more space for him to shoot as they underestimate his ability to score from deep. 

Banchero is also a physically dominant player standing at 6’10” and weighing around 250 pounds. Despite this, he demonstrates fluidity in his movement and handles the ball well.

Due to his size, Paolo pushes into the paint using his physicality and forces fouls by positioning himself in front of players attempting to block his shot which consistently benefits the Orlando Magic.

The versatile player is also good at shooting from midrange and can jump high while being guarded closely to shoot over the defender and avoid blocks.

As mentioned, Banchero is a versatile athlete who can play any role on the court and make a great impact on his team.

Not only this, but the majority of his points are unassisted which proves he can create opportunities for himself when he is called upon in difficult positions.