The NBA All-Star doesn’t feel exactly right to some, but a 66 game NBA season is still longer than what we had in 1999, which makes it possible to squeeze it in. After announcing the starters, most of them deserving except for Carmelo Anthony and Blake Griffin, the guys on the bench got their names called up this week.
Being the best Center in the league and the obvious choice to start, Dwight Howard got more votes than anyone else in the league, in any position, with 1.6 million. In terms of numbers? No one will argue, as Howard, with 21 points and a league leading 15.4 rebounds per game is impressing with the Orlando Magic despite his desire to play elsewhere.
Derrick Rose made the shift last year from All-Star to superstar, with the MVP award to back up that claim. He got his 3rd All-Star game selection, and although his numbers have taken a small dip, he may actually be playing better this season for the East-Beast Chicago Bulls. With 22 points and 7.8 assists per game, Rose is probably the best point guard in the NBA, again.
And if there’s someone that deserves the NBA MVP so far this season, it has to be LeBron James. Just look at the numbers – 28.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists while shooting 54.6% from the field and 38.6% from the outside. Hey, we all know there’s going to be tons of criticism if he fails to win a ring once more, but there’s no arguing about deserving his 8th all-star selection.
It’s been up and down for Dwyane Wade so far this season, but he seems to be healthy, and back to his old self again. Wade is averaging 22 points per game while quickly picking him his accuracy numbers after a rough start, getting his 8th all-star selection.
Carmelo Anthony? Doesn’t deserve the starter spot, but this is a popularity contest, and the Knicks’ forward doesn’t lack fans in NY and the league. He’s averaging a disappointing 22.3 points per game so far, with a terrible 39.9% from the field, making his fifth all-star game.
Bench – First lets start with the debutantes. Luol Deng can’t be called underrated anymore, although the Bulls’ wingman has taken a slight dip to his scoring average, with 16 points so far this season. Andre Iguodala’s defense couldn’t be ignored, and he’s one of only three players in the league with 13 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game at least. Roy Hibbert, turning into a double double monster, with 13.6 points and 9.9 rebounds, got in as well.
Deron Williams (3rd AS selection) made a controversial choice on bench for many because of the Nets’ 8-19 record. Williams’ numbers, 20.9 points and 8.6 assists per game, were enough to put him there. Chris Bosh (7th) deserved to start and has been playing excellent basketball while Wade was out or less than himself, averaging 19.2 points and 7.8 rebounds so far. Joe Johnson (6th) has been doing what he always does, averaging 18.6 points per game while Paul Pierce (10th) got to be the Celtics’ rep, averaging 18.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.
Kobe Bryant got his 14th NBA All-Star selection and despite his ball hogging nature this season, we can’t say he didn’t deserve to start, leading the league in scoring and all, with 29.2 points per game.
The best player in the Western conference was second in the Western voting. Kevin Durant, who would be leading the league in scoring if he didn’t have a ball hogging point guard playing alongside him, is averaging 27.3 points per game with a much improved 50.3% from the field this season on his way to his 3rd all-stat game.
Chris Paul will play in his fifth All-Star game while having an excellent debut season (which also might be his last, despite the positive emotion) with the Los Angeles Clippers, immediately becoming the fourth quarter go to guy over there, averaging 18.4 points and 9.1 assists per game.
Another player who needs to deal with less shots than he deserves is Andrew Bynum, who everyone says should be making the leap to the next level this season, but his progress is limited by playing alongside one Kobe Bryant. The fragile Bynum has been healthy so far, which is a surprise, averaging career highs in points (17.1) and rebounds (12.6) so far this season, getting his first All Star selection.
Blake Griffin didn’t deserve to start, but the best (???) dunker in the NBA obviously wins over better players in a popularity contest. Griffin has been averaging 21.4 points and 11 rebounds per game so far this season, and has the Nasty Perkins dunk as a kicker.
Bench – Two more debuts. LaMarcus Aldridge, finally, gets a spot on the All-Star roster, with 23.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Marc Gasol will be the only Gasol family representative this year, with a fantastic year so far, averaging 15 points and 10.2 rebounds so far.
Dirk Nowitzki didn’t really deserve his 11th selection but, well, he got it. His 17.6 points per game are the lowest of his career since 2000. Steve Nash got his 8th selection, which also feels like a sympathy pick because he’s 38, but a look at his numbers, 15 points per game and a league leading 10.1 assists tell a different story. Kevin Love (2nd selection) should be starting, but it’s hard to beat Griffin in votes. Love’s numbers, 25 points and 13.6 rebounds while shooting an incredible 4.6 three pointers a game are much more impressive. Tony Parker, making his 4th All-Star visit, is flourishing with surprising, or not, Spurs, with 18.9 points and 7.7 assists per game.