Should Kristaps Porzingis be an All-Star? Here’s Jayson Tatum’s pitch


“He’s a big reason why we have the best team in the league and he should be rewarded for that.”

Kristaps Porzingis is averaging over 20 points and seven rebounds per game this season. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

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The first fan returns of the 2024 NBA All-Star voting were released on Thursday, and Kristaps Porzingis is ranked eighth among Eastern Conference front court players.

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo is leading the vote. Jayson Tatum (third) and Jaylen Brown (fifth) are ranked ahead of Porzingis.

Asked for his opinion on why Porzingis is deserving of more votes, Tatum said:

“Because he’s a big part of the success we’re having as a team,” Tatum said. “Best record in the league. I don’t know exactly, but he’s probably averaging over 20 (points) and eight rebounds or something like that.

“His presence on both ends of the floor, and just how efficient he’s been the entire season,” Tatum added. “He’s a big reason why we have the best team in the league and he should be rewarded for that.”

Porzingis is averaging 20.6 points on a career-best 53.5 percent shooting. He’s averaging 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. The Celtics have won 17 straight at home, and are a league-best 27-7.

The Celtics are pushing their entire starting five as all-star candidates. Media members received a gift box filled with promotional merchandise that said “Vote Celtics All-Star” 2024 with images of Tatum, Porzingis, Brown, Jrue Holiday, and Derrick White.

All five players are in the top ten in the fan vote at their respective positions.

“I’m sure they’re talking about it,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “I’m sure there’s some level of importance to it. I don’t want to diminish how important the individual is to the team and the opportunity that they have and the legacy that making an all-star brings. We shouldn’t diminish that at all.

“Individual accolades are important. It takes good individuals to be part of a team. I think all five are deserving to be an all-star. They should try that. They should talk about it. They should relish that. They should go after it. But we should do it in a way that highlights everyone and in a way that continues to make the team successful.”