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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:


Future NBA Players:


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.


Although the Wizards have superstars like Westbrook and Beal, the Wizards have been an awful defensive team since 2014-2015. If Hachimura wants to improve on defense, he may want to go to another team. Having Scott Brooks as your head coach also doesn't help.


But let's be honest... defense doesn't get you an All-Star selection. Some All-Stars got in primarily for their defense, but for the most part, scoring is much more emphasized.


So if Hachimura wants to be the next Asian NBA All-Star, then master his offense and learn how to space the floor (i.e., shoot more threes)! However, if he wants to be the next best Asian NBA player, work on that defense!


Jalen Green

All-Star Chances: 75%


While a Sophomore in High School, Jalen Green was already offered scholarships from NCAA Division 1 basketball programs. Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN had Green as a five-star recruit. While Rivals and 247Sports had Green as the second-best high-school recruit, ESPN had Green as the BEST high-school recruit.


All this praise is definitely deserved.


Freshman: 18.1 Points, 9.0 Rebounds, 3.2 Assists, and 2.0 Steals

Sophomore: 27.9 Points, 7.7 Rebounds, 2.8 Assists, and 1.6 Steals

Junior: 33.0 Points, 8.0 Rebounds, 5.0 Assists, 1.5 Steals, and 0.5 Blocks

Senior: 31.5 Points, 7.5 Rebounds, and 5.0 Assists


In addition, he's already had many achievements at only 19:

  • FIBA World Cup Winner (3x)

  • FIBA MVP

  • McDonald's All-American

  • Nike Hoop Summit

  • Jordan Brand Classic

  • Central Division 2 Championship (2x)

Even though Green received numerous NCAA Division 1 basketball programs, Green would sign with the NBA G League Ignite, a newly formed G-League team seen as an alternative to college basketball.


In the G-League regular season, Green averaged:


17.9 Points, 4.1 Rebounds, 2.8 Assists, 1.5 Steals, and 0.3 Blocks

46.1 FG%, 36.5 3P%, 82.9 FT%

32 Minutes


In the one playoff game that Green played, he had:


30 Points, 5 Rebounds, 7 Assists, 3 Steals

55 FG%, 30 3P%, 57.1 FT%

41 Minutes


Green will be entering the 2021 NBA Draft, and NBADraft.net has Green as the 3rd Pick in the draft! NBA Draft Room has compared Green to Ray Allen, Clyde Drexler, and even Kobe Bryant!


Does Jalen Green count as an Asian NBA Player if he's playing in the G-League since the G-League is a part of the NBA...?


Kai Sotto

All-Star Chances: 10%


Jalen Green was not the only Asian basketball player that played for the G-League Ignite. Kai Sotto, a 7'2" Filipino Center, also played for the G-League Ignite.


However, unlike Green, who is Asian-American, Sotto is Asian. Sotto was born and raised in the Philippines. For most of his high-school career (except for his senior year), he played for the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, the basketball team for Atendeo de Manila Junior High School.


In his Sophomore year, Sotto led his team to the UAAP Basketball Championships. During the finals, Sotto averaged:


17 Points, 13 Rebounds, and 6.3 Blocks


And rightfully won the Finals MVP.


The following season (2019) would be even better for Sotto. He averaged:


25.1 Points, 13.9 Rebounds, and 2.6 Blocks.


The next season, Sotto would leave the Blue Eaglets to join the Skill Factory, a basketball prep program. During the King Invitational Tournament, Sotto would average:


27 Points, 10.6 Rebounds, 3.0 Assists, and 4.3 Blocks.


With such impressive numbers, it makes sense that Sotto was named MVP!


Unlike Green, who was a five-star recruit, Sotto was a four-star recruit. Rivals had Sotto as the 70th best player, 247Sports at 64, and ESPN at 65.


Similar to Green, Sotto would instead join the G Leauge Ignite. However, Sotto would opt out to play for the Philippine national team at the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. HOWEVER... again, because of Coronavirus and tournament changes, Sotto would go back and join the G-League Ignites. Once again... HOWEVER, Sotto and the Ignite would mutually agree that Sotto would not play for the Ignite.


To be honest, even though I haven't written as much for Sotto compared to the last four players, I think this took the longest amount of time. It feels like he's been on hundreds of different teams, and since he's always changing teams, there isn't much information about his stats.


Currently, he'll be playing for the Adelaide 36ers in the Australian National Basketball League and will most likely enter the 2022 NBA Draft. NBA Draft Room has compared Sotto to a poor man's Kristaps Porzingis or Rik Smits.


Johnny Juzang

All-Star Chances: 10%


Johnny Juzang's resume is not as impressive as everybody else on this list, but that doesn't mean we should be sleeping on him. During his time in high school, Juzang averaged:


Freshman: 16.2 Points, 7.5 Rebounds, 2.0 Assists, 0.6 Steals, and 0.5 Blocks

Sophomore: 22.8 Points, 9.5 Rebounds, 2.8 Assists, 1.2 Steals, and 0.9 Blocks

Junior: 23.0 Points, 8.5 Rebounds, 3.4 Assists, 0.7 Steals, and 0.3 Blocks


Like Sotto, Juzang was considered as a four-star recruit by Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN. Rivals had Juzang as the 34th best player, 247 Spots had him at 30, and ESPN had him at 29. Juzang would choose to play for the University of Kentucky.


In his freshman season with the Kentucky Wildcats, Juzang didn't get that many minutes. He only received 12.3 minutes a game and averaged:


2.9 Points, 1.9 Rebounds, 0.3 Assists, 0.2 Steals, and 0.1 Blocks

37.7 FG%, 32.6 3P%, 83.3 FT%


After his freshman season, Juzang would transfer to UCLA. He was feeling homesick and wanted to stay near his family while COVID was happening. At UCLA, Juzang saw his minutes increased by almost 2.5x. At UCLA, Juzang averaged:


16.0 Points, 4.1 Rebounds, 1.6 Assists, 0.8 Steals, and 0.3 Blocks

44.1 FG%, 35.3 3P%, 87.7 FT%

32.3 Minutes


Juzang improved in every statistical category!


On February 13th, 2021, against the Washington Huskies, Juzang put up:


32 Points, 7 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 1 Block

12/23 FG, 5/12 3P, 3/4 FT

39 Minutes


This game made Juzang become the first person in UCLA history since Reggie Miller 35 years ago to score at least half of the team's points (64-61).


Because of his impressive performance during the season, Juzang was named to the All-Pac 12 Second Team. However, this wasn't the end of Juzang's streak. In the 2021 NCAA Tournament, Juzang would lead UCLA all the way to Final Four, where they would, unfortunately, lose to Gonzaga University. On the way to the Final Four, Juzang:


  • Became the 3rd player (behind Reggie Miller and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in UCLA history to score at least 20 points in the first two NCAA Tournament games.

  • Became the 2nd player (behind Oscar Robertson) to score at least half of the teams' points in a Regional Finals.

  • Had the 2nd most total points (behind Gail Goodrich) in the NCAA tournament by a UCLA player.


In the loss against the Gonzaga Bulldogs, Juzang would still put up:


29 Points, 6 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 2 Steals

66.7 FG%, 50 3P%, 50 FT%

45 Minutes


 

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