Research: This postseason has had historically low All-Star power

You’ve probably noticed that the 2021 NBA playoffs have lacked much of the star power that is typically associated with postseason play.

Due to injuries and the early elimination of several big-name players around the league, the playoffs have felt very different than usual. Last month, four-time MVP LeBron James took to Twitter to apologize to fans who have not been able to watch their favorite players in action.

NBA All-Stars including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jaylen Brown, Mike Conle, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Donovan Mitchell and Chris Paul all spent time watching their team from the sideline during the playoffs.

James believes it was due to the shortened offseason but regardless of the reason, his assessment wasn’t unfair. To help quantify his point, we looked up the number of games played by All-Stars each postseason since the NBA’s first All-Star Game during the 1950-51 campaign.

According to our research department, on average, we have had 2.52 All-Stars hitting the court per game so far during the 2020-21 NBA postseason. That is the lowest mark since 2002-03 and the fourth-lowest overall in league history.

If you take away Devin Booker, who did not actually play in the All-Star game and was replaced by Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley, that figure drops down to 2.38. That number would be the second-lowest in league history.

Compare that to the playoffs as recently as in 2017-18, when the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers, and that figure was as high as 3.12 All-Stars appearing per game in the postseason.

While we may not have a definitive answer as to whether or not the short offseason contributed to the influx of injuries, we can say with confidence that the typical star power was a bit more absent than usual this postseason.

HoopsHype’s Alberto de Roa contributed research to this report

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