Asian NBA Players That Could Be Potential All-Stars

Jeremy Lin
Credit: Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

In the NBA's hundred-year lifespan, there have only been 22 Asian NBA players.

6 Chinese

5 Japanese

4 Lebanese

3 Filipino

2 Qataris

1 Iranian

1 South Korean

And out of all the 22 Asian NBA players, only ONE has been an All-Star, Yao Ming. Since Yao Ming retired after the 2010-2011 NBA season, there have not been any other Asian NBA players selected to the All-Star game.

Although it's been a decade since that last Asian NBA All-Star, there are a couple of Asian NBA players that could take the mantle and become the next Asian NBA All-Star. Today, we'll be covering those players. Within each excerpt, we will give an educated guess on the players' likelihood of being an All-Star.

We'll be separating the article into two different categories. Asian NBA Players that are currently active and Asian basketball players that will most likely become NBA players. I'm including future Asian NBA players because there are barely any active Asian NBA players.

Active NBA Players:

Jeremy Lin*

Rui Hachimura

Jordan Clarkson

Future NBA Players:

Jalen Green

Kai Sotto

Johnny Juzang

If you want to know each players' chance of becoming an All-Star, keep on reading!

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin has an asterisk next to his name because, realistically speaking, he has a 0% chance of making it as an All-Star. He's already 32 and slowly regressing. In addition, he's also currently not on an NBA team (#GetLinBack).

However, during the beginning of his nine-year career, it did seem like he would not only be taking the mantle as the next Asian NBA All-Star but possibly, the best Asian NBA player!

Linsanity was no joke.

In the 2011-2012 NBA Season with the Knicks, Lin averaged:

14.6 Points, 3.1 Rebounds, 6.2 Assists, 1.6 Steals, and 0.3 Blocks

44.6 FG%, 32 3P%, 79.8 FT%

26.9 Minutes

These aren't All-Star numbers, but during the peak of Linsanity, he was averaging:

20.9 Points, 4 Rebounds, 8.1 Assists, 1.6 Steals, and 0.1 Blocks

46.4 FG%, 26 3P%, 71 FT%

33.6 Minutes

You also have to add that Lin was probably the most popular player within that two-week span. From his match against Kobe Bryant to his buzzer-beater against the Toronto Raptors. It wasn't just the NBA world that had their eyes on Lin. The whole world did.

If Linsanity had started sooner, Jeremy Lin, without a doubt, would have been an All-Star in the 2011-2012 NBA season. However, unfortunately, Lins' official 'Linsanity' debut happened on February 4th, 2012. By then, the All-Star selections were already locked.

In the 2013 NBA season, when Lin played with the Houston Rockets, he had 883,000 All-Star votes. That's more than James Harden (486,000), Russell Westbrook (376,000), and Steve Nash (270,000). There wasn't a season besides the 2018 NBA season where Lin wasn't a top pick for an All-Star selection.

So what I'm trying to say is, if Linsanity happened sooner, with the number of fans that Jeremy Lin has, he would have had a 100% chance to become at least a 1x All-Star.

Although he was never an All-Star, at least Jeremy Lin became the first Asian NBA Player to win a Championship!

Jordan Clarkson

All-Star Chance: 35%

Fun Fact: In 2015, Jordan Clarkson and Jeremy Lin became the first Asian-American starting backcourt in NBA history. They were both on the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jordan Clarkson is entering his prime. He's currently 28 and came off one of his best seasons thus far (2020-2021). He averaged:

18.4 Points, 4.0 Rebounds, 2.5 Assists, 0.9 Steal, and 0.1 Blocks

42.5 FG%, 34.7 3P%, 89.6 FT%

26.7 Minutes

In addition, Clarkson has become the first Asian NBA player to win the Sixth Man of the Year award!

And somehow, that's not even all he has accomplished this season. During All-Star voting for the 2020-2021 All-Star game, Clarkson received 192,000 votes. He had the thirteenth most votes amongst Western Conference guards, and this is the most votes Clarkson has ever received.

Finally, Clarkson and his team (Utah Jazz) finished the season as the first seed in the Western Conference and are currently up 2-1 against the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Utah Jazz have the highest chance of winning the NBA Finals (23%), so if that happens, that will only boost Clarksons' popularity.

However, even with all the accolades that he has accumulated this year, I still think that Clarkson only has a 35% chance of making it as an All-Star.

Clarkson will most likely stay on the Utah Jazz. Clarkson is currently on a four-year $51,000,000 contract. Considering how successful the Jazz are and how unlikely it is for players with longer contracts (i.e., 2+ year contracts) to get traded, it's highly likely that Clarkson will be staying on the Jazz for the next four years.

This means that Clarkson will probably continue his role as the sixth-man and backup shooting guard to Donovan Mitchell. As a result, Clarkson probably won't have the sufficient minutes to put up as much on the stat sheet to show that he is an All-Star caliber player.

For example, in the 2017-2018 NBA season, Lou Williams had seven more minutes than his previous season. Lou Will was playing 32.8 minutes per game as the sixth-man and averaged:

22.6 Points, 2.5 Rebounds, 5.3 Assists, 1.1 Steals, and 0.2 Blocks

43.5 FG%, 35.9 3P%, 88 FT%

32.8 Minutes

Even though he played more minutes and put up All-Star caliber numbers, he only received 70,000 All-Star votes.

In addition, in a conference with guards like Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, etc., the likelihood of being selected is extremely slim.

Fun Fact:

Asian NBA Players get a SHIT TON of All-Star Votes, regardless of whether they're good. In 2017, although Clarkson was only averaging 13.9 points per game on a losing team (Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers), he still received 460,00 VOTES!

That's more than:

  • Damian Lillard

  • Zach Lavine

  • Devin Booker

  • Mike Conley

  • Victor Oladipo

Rui Hachimura

All-Star Chances: 40%

This season (2020-2021), Rui Hachimura is averaging:

13.8 Points, 5.5 Rebounds, 1.4 Assists, 0.8 Steals, and 0.2 Blocks

47.8 FG%, 32.8 3P%, 77 FT%

31 Minutes

Hachimura has a five percent advantage over Clarkson because Hachimura is only 23. He still has a long time to develop. Although the improvement from his rookie year isn't substantial, Hachimura has shown that he can be a potential offensive threat.

Only in his sophomore season, Hachimura is already exhibiting high offensive intelligence. Being a 6'8" Small/Power Forward, Hachimura knows how to take advantage of his size against opponents. When guarded by the opposing SF, Hachimura brings the ball down to the posts and utilizes his size to score easy spin lay-ins and post shots.

If a PF is guarding Hachimura, his quick first step allows him to get past them, ending in an easy layup or hook shot. If the opposing defender is in the post waiting for Hachmiura to attack, Hachimura can instead rely on his mid-range jumper or floater for an easy two-pointer. Even if Hachimura is forced to drive into the basket, he can still effectively draw fouls at 2.1 per game.

% of FGA By Distance:

0-3: 22.1%

3-10: 23.8%

% of FG By Distance:

0-3: 74.8%

3-10: 44.2%

However, there are still a lot of things that Hachimura can improve on. Although Hachimura has a 7'2" wingspan, he doesn't use that length when on defense. He's also not a very good team defender, constantly getting stuck in rotations, and at times, looking lost.