Predicting this year’s Eastern Conference All-Stars
NBA All-Star teams have always seemed to puzzle basketball fans, and no doubt there will be many puzzling selections and non-selections this year.
This year’s NBA All-Star teams will look radically different to those of years before due to some players changing conference, as well as others emerging as stars.
Without further ado, here are my predictions for the 2013 NBA All-Star game, split up over two articles.*
Honorable mentions: Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Brandon Jennings
While I would have love to have included these three fantastic players, they were beat out by other players at their position.
It’s no secret that Deron Williams has slid down the ranks this year in terms of the league’s best point guard, and whether or not he can regain that tremendous form he played with in the Beehive State may determine whether or not he gets a spot on the roster.
Kevin Garnett and Brandon Jennings both were productive as always, but were too far down on the depth chart to be given a spot in the line-up.
Starting backcourt player: Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo has started the season in Rondo-esque form, continuing to show that he is the best ‘point guard’ in the league (rather than the best player at the point guard position).
His phenomenal equalling of John Stockton’s double-digit assists games mark was outrageous, and halted only by an ejection. He is in my opinion having the best season for an Eastern Conference guard.
Starting backcourt player: Dwyane Wade
While Dwyane Wade has come under criticism this season for not being one of the best shooting guards in the league, it should not stop him from still beasting his way to starting the All-Star game for the East.
Whether or not the Flash is truly slowing down, he is still no doubt the best shooting guard the East has to offer.
Starting frontcourt player: LeBron James
Barring a meteorite striking Earth, at the end of the season LeBron James should collect a fourth NBA MVP award, dangerously nearing Michael’s mark of five.
The best player in the L is a shoe-in for a starting position in the Eastern All-Stars team, and this a selection I’d happily put my pennies on.
Starting frontcourt player: Carmelo Anthony
If the meteorite mentioned above does hit Earth, Carmelo Anthony could be one of the players to challenge LeBron for his Maurice Podoloff trophy.
Carmelo Anthony’s season of resurgence without Amar’e Stoudemire in the line-up has done wonders for his basketball, and he is the main reason the Knicks are sitting pretty, close to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Starting frontcourt player: Joakim Noah
In a once one-horse race for best centre in the league, Joakim Noah has been of the players this season to help bust the debate wide open and confuse bookies everywhere on who they should name their favourite for Defensive Player of the Year.
Not only has Noah become arguably the Bulls’ most important player in the absence of Rose, he has also notched up a triple-double this year, showing that Mr. Fix-It is the main reason the Bulls can still call themselves contenders this year.
Bench backcourt player: Kyrie Irving
In just a year, Kyrie Irving has already established himself as one of the best point guards in the league, all the while having only played 11 games at Duke for the Blue Devils.
If that’s not the definition of NBA-ready then I don’t know what is.
Irving is leading point guards in scoring, by a full three points over the next in line, last year’s all-star Russell Westbrook. If that’s not worthy of an appearance, I don’t know what is.
Bench backcourt player: Monta Ellis
No-one has been cheated out of an All-Star appearance more over the last few years than the Mississippi Bullet. While Ellis’ stats don’t pop out this year, that is because he’s been so consistently good since he came into the league in 2005.
Monta Ellis’ hard work this year should be rewarded with a trip to Houston in February to come of the bench for the East on All-Star Sunday.
Bench frontcourt player: Josh Smith
Perhaps Josh Smith could challenge Monta Ellis for unluckiest when the All-Star teams are announced each year.
However, this should be the year that Josh Smith breaks through and finally pulls on the Eastern Conference blue.
While Smith’s numbers are down on last year, he is still topping his career averages across the board. And with the Hawks finally looking like they can rattle some cages in this year’s playoffs, that first All-Star berth looks to finally be Smith’s.
Bench frontcourt player: Al Horford
Josh Smith’s running mate, the evergreen Al Horford is in line for yet another All-Star appearance.
The man who many have dubbed as Tim Duncan junior is averaging a solid 16 and 10, and is fighting out with Chris Bosh to be the best centre/forward in the East.
However, Horford’s superior passing at this stage gets him the nod.
Bench frontcourt player: Anderson Vaerjao
Anderson Vaerjao’s breakout year has been a massive one, averaging career highs across the board and leading the league in rebounding.
While Wild Thing is currently spending some time on the sidelines recovering from injury, the Brazilian should easily crack the squad for his first appearance, one that has been too long coming in many people’s minds.
Reserve: Jrue Holiday
The breakout season that many expected Jrue Holiday to have last season has finally come, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Philadelphia 76ers, with Andrew Bynum out for an extended period of time.
Holiday is another player who is logging career-highs across the board, and while he isn’t quite the point guard that Rajon Rondo or Kyrie Irving are, he still earns a spot as a reserve in the All-Star Game.
Reserve: Chris Bosh
Many may say that Chris Bosh is having a down year on last year; that’s not true at all. While he did average one more rebound last year, his field goal percentage has gone way up from .487 to .552.
However, the upped production of those such as Carmelo Anthony and Anderson Vaerjao have pushed him back in the rotation – but he still makes the team.
*Notes – Fan voting not taken into account when selecting starters. Stats correct as of 30/12/12