The last time the Kings had a player in the All-Star game, it was DeMarcus Cousins, and they basically traded him during the game.
Since then, no King has really come all that close to making an All-Star game. If you aren’t on a good team it’s hard to be an All-Star in the West, and well, the Kings haven’t been a good team. Cousins had to put up some of the best statistics in the league and also play one of the shallower positions in order to be considered.
Will that change this year? The Kings do have a couple candidates who could merit some contention in De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.
While no Kings player has made the All-Star game since 2017, Sabonis managed to make it twice as a member of the Pacers, albeit in a weaker Eastern Conference. The Pacers were a solid, not great team, but Sabonis put up Jokic-lite numbers to get there, averaging 20.3 points, 12 rebounds and 6.7 assists a game in 2021. Those numbers are only slightly higher than what Sabonis managed to do as a member of the Kings in 15 games last season with almost no practice time. The hope is that with a full training camp and more chemistry, Sabonis can be even better.
The only other real candidate is De’Aaron Fox. There’s no question that Fox has All-Star talent despite never making a game before. In the 2020-21 season, he became the youngest Kings player ever to average over 25 points a game. Last season, after the Kings traded Tyrese Haliburton for Sabonis, Fox stepped up in a big way, averaging 28.9 points on 50.3% from the field along with 6.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds. That was just a 15 game sample size, but if the Kings get that level of production from him all season, it’d be hard to keep him off the All-Star team, even if the team wasn’t that good.
Could there be a surprise candidate? It’s hard to imagine someone other than Sabonis or Fox making an All-Star team out of the current roster, but if I had to choose a dark horse candidate… it’d be Keegan Murray. Yes, rookies almost rarely make the All-Star team unless they are just having absolutely incredible years, and no I don’t think Murray will actually make the team (this year at least). But if any player would be the one to surprise us and have an unexpected All-Star level season, Murray’d be my bet (although I wouldn’t lay down too much money on it).
More importantly than individual statistics however is team success. Good teams are often rewarded with more All-Star slots, and the Kings haven’t been a good team in a long time. They’ve had guys with great statistical production, but the one statistic that matters most is wins. If the Kings can find themselves squarely in the playoff conversation come December and January when the All-Star team is being decided, it seems inevitable that the voters will reward them with at least one All-Star berth.
All-Star games aren’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s always fun to see the Kings and Sacramento represented on a national stage. If a Kings player manages to turn the voters heads around, that likely spells good things for the team itself.