There are always going to be snubs in All-Star games; 2015 is going to be no different. But if the voters and then coaches go by who deserves to be in the best exhibition game in sports, these 24 players should be on the name list.
It means that the Bulls will have two players in the lineup – Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler, but not Derrick Rose at all, playing next to LeBron James, Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler. It means that out West, Kevin Durant and James Harden will be on the bench, while Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook man the backcourt, while Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol and DeMarcus Cousins make for a huge frontcourt.
Kyle Lowry (Point Guard, Raptors) – Lowry has been doing a lot of heavy lifting offensively since DeMar DeRozan went down with an injury, which has caused Toronto to lose the top spot in the East. He’s averaging 20.6 points and 7.6 assists per game, and although he’s sometimes forgotten in the ‘best point guard in the league’ debate, he more than deserves to make his first All-Star game.
Jimmy Butler (Shooting guard/Small forward, Bulls) – Butler can mark this down as his breakout season and is the prime candidate to win improved player of the year award. He’s the Bulls best player as they try to climb up the Eastern ladder to the number one spot, averaging 21.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, also hopefully making his first All-Star game.
LeBron James (Forward, Cavaliers) – Playing next to Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love hasn’t made James take too many step backs. He’s averaging 25.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game. He’s currently injured but should be back for the All-Star game. It’ll be his 11th.
Chris Bosh (Forward/Center, Heat) – Bosh missed some time with an injury that cost the Miami Heat dearly, but overall has been doing very well as the number one or two option on offense for the revamped Heat, averaging 21.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while also hitting 39.6% of his 3-pointers. He’s been to the All-Star game nine times.
Pau Gasol (Forward/Center, Bulls) – Gasol is having quite the Renaissance season with the Bulls, averaging 18.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. He has four All-Star appearances, the last of them in 2011.
Bench – Dwyane Wade (Heat, 23 points, 5.6 assists), Jeff Teague (Hawks, 17.4 points, 7.1 assists), Carmelo Anthony (Knicks, 23.9 points, 6.6 rebounds), Nikola Vucevic (Magic, 17.9 points, 11 rebounds), John Wall (Wizards, 17.2 points, 10.4 assists), Andre Drummond (Pistons, 12.8 points, 13.3 rebounds), Paul Millsap (Hawks, 17.2 points, 8.1 rebounds).
Russell Westbrook (Point Guard, Thunder) – Westbrook has been a one man wrecking crew, especially when Durant hasn’t been playing, although sometimes it turns into an embarrassing display of inefficiency. He’s averaging 27 points, 7 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game. He’s been to the All-Star game three times before.
Stephen Curry (Point guard, Warriors) – Curry seems to be one of the leading candidates for MVP, and is going to start for the West in his second All-Star game. He’s averaging 23 points, 7.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds this season while shooting 49.2% from the field, the highest of his career.
Anthony Davis (Forward/Center, Pelicans) – Davis seems to be the most difficult to stop big man in the NBA this season, leading the NBA in PER. He’s averaging 23.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game and should make his second All-Star game.
DeMarcus Cousins (Center, Kings) – He missed some time which caused the Kings to lose some games but mostly their heads. When he’s playing? He might be the best center in the NBA, averaging 23.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game while shooting over 50% from the field for the first time in his career. He still hasn’t played in an All-Star game.
Marc Gasol (Center, Grizzlies) – Gasol is the best combination of offense and defense among centers in the NBA and should be right up there with Curry and others when it comes to vote for the MVP. He’s averaging a career high 19.8 points per game this season with 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting 50.1% from the field. It’ll be his second All-Star game and first since 2012.
Bench – Kevin Durant (Thunder, 24.5 points, 6.1 rebounds), James Harden (Rockets, 27 points, 6.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds), Chris Paul (Clippers, 17.6 points, 9.5 assists), Damian Lillard (22.2 points, 6.4 assists, 5 rebounds), Dwight Howard (Rockets, 17.8 points, 11.1 rebounds), LaMarcus Aldridge (Blazers, 23 points, 10.6 rebounds), Tim Duncan (Spurs, 21.1 points, 11.9 rebounds, 2.5 blocks).