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NBA PM: First-Time All-Stars in 2016

The 2015 All-Stars all have been selected, but who might first-time All-Stars in 2016?… NBA Board of Governors adopt new rule regarding limits on ownership.

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Who Will Be First-Time All-Stars in 2016?

Some would argue that it’s entirely too early to look ahead to the 2016 All-Star game when the 2015 All-Star Weekend hasn’t even happened yet, but with snubs ultimately comes a conversation about what players may have a better shot at getting into the game for the first time next season. There were, after all, plenty of players that deserved consideration but just didn’t quite do enough to find the votes necessary to make the team (as Basketball Insiders broke down in our list of top snubs). With another year of improvement, the following players could find their way onto the All-Star team for the first time in 2016:

Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic – After spending two seasons in Orlando on the cusp of a massive breakout, Vucevic is finally having a season worthy of an All-Star selection. Unfortunately for him, despite the fact that he’s seventh in the league in rebounding with 11.2 RPG and is averaging a career-high 19.5 PPG on a career-high .536 shooting from the floor, he still doesn’t play any defense and is the best player for a team that still can’t manage to win a significant number of games. Vucevic still has some areas in his individual game that could be improved, and little more leadership and a little more defense could be enough to earn him more serious consideration for this honor the next time around.

Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons – There are games when Drummond drops 16 points and 19 rebounds, only to turn around and put up seven points and eight rebounds the next night, so while he is second in the league in rebounding with 12.8 RPG, he’s shooting the ball really poorly (.492 this season after topping .600 his first two seasons) and he’s without question one of the worst free-throw shooters in the league. If he wants to make an All-Star game, he can’t get off to another slow start next year, nor can the Pistons. A good first quarter of the season sticks in the craw a lot more than a good second quarter of the season, which is why Jimmy Butler was a no-brainer All-Star this year and Drummond was never really in serious consideration. He needs to shore up his efficiency and play well more consistently. The free throws aren’t getting any better, but that never stopped Shaquille O’Neal, Ben Wallace and Dwight Howard from making All-Star teams

Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns – If Damian Lillard, Mike Conley and Tony Parker can’t make the Western Conference All-Star team because the guard crop out there is too loaded, then Bledsoe probably doesn’t have much of a chance any time soon unless he makes an astronomical leap as a player next year. The good news is that he’s young enough and talented enough to make just such a leap. His stats don’t jump out at you (16.7 PPG, 6 APG, 5.3 RPG, 19.2 PER), but those are actually some really good stats, and the assists and rebound numbers are both career-highs. If, say, Phoenix should trade Goran Dragic in the offseason and Bledsoe’s numbers increase 15-20 percent across the board, he’d be considered one of the better all-around players in the league. At that point, he’d be a pretty hard guy to ignore for All-Star consideration.

Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets – Even after his slow start, during which Brian Shaw was playing Faried only about 22-24 minutes per game for a few weeks, Faried has clawed his way to 15th in the league in rebounding with 8.9 RPG. Now, he’s up over 30 minutes a night more often than not, and his numbers have risen with the boost in playing time. He’s talented, he’s exciting and he’s likeable, but most importantly he is still at times underutilized. If he is either traded or given a larger role next season, a real explosion from the 25-year-old is completely plausible. He needs more than 27 minutes and nine shots a game, and as soon as he gets it, look out.

Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets – Current injury notwithstanding, Walker had been having a really strong season for the Hornets this year and is starting to do the sorts of things on the NBA level that he did at UConn. His 18.8 PPG places him among the league’s elite scorers, and he’s seen that average rise in each of his first four seasons in the league. While the Eastern Conference is rife with talented point guards, Walker could be on the cusp of a true breakout season, and if any sort of success from the Hornets follows, he could be in contention for an All-Star selection in the very near future.

Kyle Korver was left off of the list, because there really isn’t anywhere else for him to go. He’s older than the other players on this list and is already shooting historically excellent percentages. If he couldn’t make it this year, he probably never will.

This year, Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Kyle Lowry and Klay Thompson were first-time All-Stars. Who do you think has the potential to be a first-time All-Star closer next year? Who will break out in 2015-16 and earn inclusion in this most prestigious of exhibition weekends? Hit up the comments below or continue the conversation on Twitter.

New Rule Changes the Landscape of NBA Ownership

Sometimes things happen in the NBA that fly a little under the radar, especially when it has to do with the issues of owners and has little impact on what actually happens on the floor.

One such quiet move was one in which the NBA Board of Governors approved a new rule that puts limits on how many and what kinds of owners will be allowed for the league’s 30 teams. Specifically, teams may now have 25 or fewer total owners (this includes, obviously, minority owners), and each of those must own at least a 1 percent stake in the team, according to Zach Lowe of Grantland.

Apparently the rule changes are something the Board of Governors had been considering for a really long time, but this will impact friends of owners and rich celebrities who want to get in on ownership just to say that they own part of an NBA team. The problem is that there are too many voices at the table for some organizations with entirely too many minority owners, and just as one example, look at all the say Jay Z had in Brooklyn when he only owned a reported 0.15% of the team. That was a generally positive influence on that organization, but there surely have been plenty of times when those small owners were much more of a nuisance.

Lowe’s sources swear this rule change had nothing to do with the famous rapper, but the point is that majority owners often feel like minority owners need to have enough money invested in a franchise to justify having a voice. If a team sells for $1 billion, a 1 percent owner will need to put up at least $10 million to get himself a stake and a voice in the organization, and certainly someone investing that kind of money deserves to be heard.

This doesn’t change the game of basketball at all, but it does certainly limit the kinds of people that can have serious ownership stakes in NBA teams. It’s a minor change, but certainly an interesting one for potential owners moving forward.

Joel Brigham is a senior writer for Basketball Insiders, covering the Central Division and fantasy basketball.

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