THE votes are in! In the coming days, we will find out which players will be competing in Los Angeles a month from now as this years’ All-Star’s. The new format will see the top two vote-getters from each conference draft their teams from the pool of 24 eligible players, so which 24 guys can we expect to see on those rosters?
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G: Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics
G: DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
F: Lebron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
F: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
THERE are three spots locked in for the East that you can’t argue about. LeBron, Giannis and Kyrie all deserve to be in the starting five, and after his last month, it’s fair to put DeRozan ahead of Victor Oladipo. The final starting spot was much harder for me though.
WHEN healthy there’s no denying that Joel Embiid is a walk-up All-Star, but he has only played 75% of Philadelphia’s games so far this year. Luckily for him, the other candidates in Al Horford and Kristaps Porzingis haven’t lit the world on fire. Horford is probably the most deserving of a starting spot, with his play a massive reason the Celtics are flying right now. Unfortunately, the fans look at your box score more than how you help your team win, so Jo-Jo gets the nod.
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G: Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
G: Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
F: Al Horford, Boston Celtics
F: Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
F: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
W/C: Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
W/C: John Wall, Washington Wizards
ONCE again most of these spots are easy to choose in my opinion. Guys like Oladipo, Beal, Horford and Porzingis are shoe in’s and I think Simmons and Love will be rewarded for there seasons to date. The last spot is pretty hard to choose though with the prime candidate’s in the running Andre Drummond, John Wall and Goran Dragic.
DRE is averaging a career-best 14.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists a game and was a huge catalyst for the Pistons fast start to the year. Wall has missed a chunk of time that hurt the Wizards and his production. Finally, Goran Dragic has helped lead the Heat on an impressive streak lately that has them sitting fourth in the East.
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AT the end of the day Dragic just hasn’t been good enough for a long enough stretch and Drummond’s team hasn’t been good enough to elevate him into the last slot. Wall did miss a portion of time and his team record suffered without him. Washington has gone 5-6 when Wall missed and even if he has been inconsistent he is still averaging 19.9 points and 9.3 assists (2nd most in the league) each time he steps on the floor.
Goran Dragic, Miami Heat
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
Aaron Gordon, Orland Magic
JOINING Dragic and Drummond on the dreaded snub list is Khris Middleton and Aaron Gordon. If Orlando could win a game or two then I’d probably have rewarded Gordon with a berth, but as they struggle so does his All-Star case. The Bucks aren’t good enough yet to have two All-Stars and Middleton has struggled at times with consistency in the first half of the year. Tobias Harris, who is having a career year for Detroit deserves mention too.
G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
G: James Harden, Houston Rockets
F: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
F: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
F: LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
I’VE made one change to my previous list with LaMarcus Aldridge earning the final frontcourt starting spot. Boogie’s video game-like numbers will probably sway the fans similarly to the Embiid/Horford debate, but I think the media and players can help get the Spurs big man over the line.
G: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
G: Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
F: Demarcus Cousins, New Orleans Pelicans
F: Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves
F: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
W/C: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
W/C: Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
There are some names on this list that many expect to see. The likes of Westbrook, Towns, Cousins and Butler aren’t surprising, the Warriors get four All-Stars thanks to their 36-9 record, but once again the conversation revolves around the final spot.
I tossed and turned over this one for ages. Lou Will or PG13. Williams has resurrected the Clippers season all by himself and has made a valiant push in the last month to find a spot on the team. I don’t think anyone would have an issue with me calling Paul George the better player and he has consistently performed for the Thunder all season long going at over 20 PPG while shooting a career-best percentage from 3-point land.
HOWEVER. I’m siding with the underdog this time around. What Lou Williams has done since the start of December has been nothing short of remarkable. He has outscored the likes of LeBron James and DeMar DeRozan, made more 3’s than anyone in the league and maintained an assist mark higher than that of Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and Goran Dragic.
IT’S almost a flip-the-coin decision, but I’m giving Williams the nod of Paul George and while some might view it as an unpopular pick, there is no denying that Williams has been the form player in the league over the last six weeks. Besides a team that has Westbrook, Melo and PG and only has a 24-20 record probably doesn’t deserve a second All-Star.
Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder
Damian Lillard + C.J. McCollum, Portland Trailblazers
Chris Paul, Houston Rockets
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
WE all knew that there would be some glaring names on the Western Conference snub list given all the players that changed teams in the offseason. Once again the Trailblazers star backcourt misses out, which is quickly becoming an annual tradition. Chris Paul is unlucky and doesn’t make the cut purely because of the unreal talent at the guard spot out West while Jokic’s case has been hurt by the Nuggets struggles in the win collum. If Devin Booker had avoided injury his name would be on this list too.
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