Like most All-Star games, there are quite a few obvious choices who will undoubtedly be playing, probably even starting, when the rosters are published: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Tim Duncan. But what about the rest of the remaining spots?
We’re about halfway through towards the midseason. This year, the all-star game voting represents the change in perception regarding positions of big men. No longer separate ballots for centers and forwards; two spots for guards on each conference, three spots for front-court players, regardless of being a small forward, power forward or center. This is the All-Star game, and if fans want to see Paul Pierce, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony start together, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Eastern Conference – Guards
Rajon Rondo is the official triple double machine of the NBA, with a league high 10 over the last three seasons. He’s averaging 13 points, 5.1 rebounds and 12.8 assists per game. The only thing that stopped his double-digit assist streak was an early ejection against the Nets. Since then, he’s back on the horse, with three consecutive games of at least 11 assists.
Deron Williams is struggling with his shooting due to a nagging injury in his ankle, limiting his shooting ability, so far with only 39.1% from the field. He’s still averaging 16.9 points and 8.8 assists per game, and is one of the best point guards in the NBA on any given day he’s on the floor.
Eastern Conference – Frontcourt
LeBron James is one of the easiest choices to make. The reigning MVP is having troubles getting his team into defensive shape this season, but has been his regular, incredible self from the individual prespective, backed up by the usual impressive numbers: 25.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game.
Carmelo Anthony is having an MVP season, or at least that’s what they’re saying in New York. When you’re leading the Knicks to a 16-5 start while averaging 27.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, who can argue?
Josh Smith is on the final year of his contract with the Atlanta Hawks, so far off to a very surprising 12-6 start. Smith, still without an All-Star appearance is averaging 17.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2 blocks per game deserves to be on this team for the first time.
Bench – Anderson Varejao, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Chris Bosh, Kyrie Irving, Jrue Holiday, Dwyane Wade.
Western Conference – Guards
Kobe Bryant is having something that’s starting to look a lot like the 2006-2007 season, when Bryant wasn’t happy with his teammates, but was putting on amazing numbers. He’s averaging 29.2 points, 5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.
Chris Paul is actually having a much easier time this season on the other side of town. He’s actually getting a lot of time off in fourth quarters thanks to an improved defense and a great start to the season. He’s averaging 16.2 points and 9 assists per game.
Western Conference – Frontcourt
Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder needed a few games to get going without the third piece of the triangle going to Houston, but they’ve been on a roll ever since, picking up to a 17-4 start, currently winning 8 consecutive games. Durant is averaging 27 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.
Tim Duncan should have been regressing, not staying in the same spot, not to mention improving. But the Spurs are unlike any other program in the NBA, and Duncan seems to be getting younger and better since his injury problems went away. He’s averaging 17.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.
David Lee has always been putting together great stats, but being on a winning team (14-7 with the Warriors) makes it easier to get noticed, and it probably means you’re doing something right. Lee is averaging 18.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game so far this season.
Bench – Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Dwight Howard, Al Jefferson, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Tony Parker.