With the first All Star fan vote returns in, I thought it was about time to weigh in and give my thoughts on who I believe deserves to make these “prolific” rosters. There are specific rules to these rosters, such as a certain number of guards and forwards per roster, then two wildcard spots, but on my teams there are no rules; simply they are the 12 players who have been performing the best in their individual conferences (apart from the starting 5 being comprised of two guards and 3 forwards/centers). I do prioritize winning, and that is especially true when it comes to the starting lineups, but in certain circumstances I will look the other way (a certain Pelican might fit this bill).
- Eastern Conference All Stars
G: Kyle Lowry – 22.4 PTS, 7.2 AST, 44.5 3PT%
- The Raptors are 4 games back of the top-seeded Cavaliers, and Kyle Lowry continues to lead the charge. If only one of Toronto’s backcourt players gets to start, Lowry has to be the first pick.
G: DeMar DeRozan – 28.2 PTS, 5.4 REB, 47.4 FG%
- Kyrie will almost definitely be voted in, but DeRozan’s hot start to the season gives him the edge in my books. He’s averaging a career high 28.2 points per game, and somehow shooting over 47% from the floor with all of his bad mid-range pull ups.
F: LeBron James – 26.2 PTS, 8.3 AST, 7.9 REB
- LeBron James, six straight NBA finals, near triple double numbers, top team in the East, need I go on?
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 23.3 PTS, 8.8 REB, 53.0FG%
- Greek Freak! I was so happy to see that as of now he is second in the front-court fan vote, and that should hold on. He’s had an incredible season, and though the Bucks are only 7th in the East, they are doing that without one of their primary weapons, Khris Middleton. This will be the first of many All Star games for Antetokounmpo.
F: Jimmy Butler – 25.0 PTS, 6.7 REB, 4.6 AST
- Personally, I view Jimmy Buckets as a 2-guard, but for the Bulls he starts at the 3. As of now, the Bulls are just outside of the Playoffs, but Jimmy’s season has been incredible and he deserves this spot. Kevin Love has been great, same with Paul George, but Butler’s stats overall take the cake.
Isaiah Thomas – 27.9 PTS, 6.1 AST, 5 foot 9 inches
- Yes, I included his height in his key stats, but it is key to his play style. His stats are on par with Allen Iverson, and Thomas is 3 inches shorter. Isaiah is the best player on the third-seeded Celtics, and should be a lock for this team. Also, having a player of his stature in this game provides a good role model for kids all across the world; height isn’t a limitation.
Kyrie Irving – 24.2 PTS, 5.9 AST, 41.4 3PT%
- Best handles in the league, made the biggest shot in Cavalier’s history last season, and is having a solid season for the Eastern favourite Cavaliers.
Kemba Walker – 23.1 PTS, 5.5 AST, 4.2 REB
- Without Kemba this Hornets team would not stand a chance of making the Playoffs. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist missed a large chunk of the season, and Kemba is the only reason this team stayed afloat. His incredible speed and handle is perfect for the All Star game.
John Wall – 23.2 PTS, 10.3 AST, 2.2 STL
- The Wizards started off slowly, but have since turned the ship around. Bradley Beal has played well, but John Wall is still the best player on their team. Averaging over 23 points and 10 assists a game, he is one of the best guards not only in the Eastern Conference, but the league in total.
Paul George – 22.5 PTS, 6.2 REB, 92.1 FT%
- The Pacers, much like the Wizards, are starting to play up to their potential, lead by Paul George. He’s 8th in the league in free throw percentage, and is an arguable top-10 player in the league.
Kevin Love – 21.8 PTS, 10.9 REB, 39.3 3PT%
- If the Hawks can have four All Stars a couple years back, then this Cavaliers team deserves three. Plus, Kevin Love is having one of the best seasons of his career. It seems like Love has become fully acquainted to his situation in Cleveland, averaging a double-double, and shooting the lights out from downtown.
Joel Embiid – 19.4 PTS, 7.3 REB, 2.4 BLK, 25 MPG
- Yes, the 76er’s are 13th in the East, but Joel Embiid’s numbers are absolutely incredible. His Per-36 minute numbers are 27.8 PTS, 10.5 REB, 3.4 BLK, all while shooting 49% from the arc. The Process has a chance of being voted in as a starter, and that may be his only chance of making the roster, but in my eyes his season deserves to be rewarded.
Notable Omissions: Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Jabari Parker, Hassan Whiteside, Paul Millsap, Bradley Beal
Western Conference All Stars
G: Russell Westbrook – 31.2 PTS, 10.6 REB, 10.4 AST, 30.44 PER
- Highest usage and PER in the NBA, averaging a triple-double, and the only reason the Thunder are winning games. Russ should go for his third All Star game MVP this year.
G: James Harden – 28.5 PTS, 11.8 PTS, 8.4 REB
- The Rockets are currently tied for 2nd in the West, only 2 games back of the Warriors, the regular season MVP award should be Harden’s to lose. His season running the point for D’Antoni’s super-charged offence has been incredible to watch, and his numbers are out of this world. Sorry Steph, but Harden and Westbrook deserve to start this game more than you.
F: Kevin Durant – 25.9 PTS, 8.7 REB, 4.7 AST
- His scoring numbers have taken a slight step back, but that was obvious. His season has still been incredible, and he is still a top-3 player in this league.
F: Kawhi Leonard – 24.1 PTS, 5.8 REB, 1.9 STL
- Best perimeter defender on the planet, his scoring numbers continue to rise, and he has lead this somewhat new-look Spurs to a 30-8 record up to this point. Has to be a lock for a starting forward spot.
F: Marc Gasol – 19.7 PTS, 5.9 REB, 39.5 3PT%
- This was the toughest pick of all. Marc Gasol deserves to play in this game, with Conley missing time the Grizzlies should have taken a big step back, but Gasol’s comeback season is the reason why Memphis is 5th in the West. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousin’s numbers have been amazing, but for the starting spot I decided to reward winning, therefore Gasol gets the nod here.
Stephen Curry – 24.8 PTS, 5.8 AST, 144 3PT-Made
- Most 3-pointers made this season, best team in the league, one of the most popular players in the league, without Harden and Westbrook leading the MVP race he would be a starter, ’nuff said.
Chris Paul – 17.7 PTS, 9.8 AST, 2.2 STL
- The Clippers have missed Blake Griffin for most of the season, but Chris Paul has been a steady force for this Clippers team. Once again he leads the league in steals per game, is one of the best passers and leaders in the game, and continues to be a top point guard in the NBA.
Damian Lillard – 26.6 PTS, 6.3 AST, 4.6 REB
- Top-10 scorer, one of the best outside shooters, and is slowly turning around Portland’s season. The Trail Blazers were expected to be stronger than they have been this season, but the blame can’t be placed solely on Lillard (cough cough George Karl). Lillard just edged out Gordon Hayward for me, but his numbers are fair superior.
Anthony Davis – 29.1 PTS, 12.2 REB, 2.5 BLK
- With Jrue Holiday’s return, the Pelicans are now fighting for a playoff spot, and are lead strongly by the The Brow, Anthony Davis. His numbers are other-worldly, and would be in the MVP conversation if the Pelicans had a slightly better start to the season.
DeMarcus Cousins – 28.1 PTS, 10.0 REB, 37.2 3PT%
- Similar to Davis, Cousins incredible numbers haven’t translated directly to wins, but his numbers are still All Star-calibre. Plus with his game expanding beyond the 3-point line, he has become even more unstoppable.
Rudy Gobert – 12.3 PTS, 12.3 REB, 2.5 BLK
- The Utah Jazz, currently 6th in the West, are the up-and-coming team in the conference, and as such deserve to have a player represent them in the All Star game. Gordon Hayward would seem to be the logical choice, but Gobert averaging 12 and 12, along with leading the league in blocks, being arguably the best rim-protector in the NBA makes me select him over the Butler product.
Karl-Anthony Towns – 21.7 PTS, 11.6 REB, 1.4 BLK
- This should be either Draymond Green, or Klay Thompson’s spot, but Towns numbers are far superior to either of them. I don’t think he’ll make it, mostly because the Timberwolves have been a disappointment this season, but in my eyes he’s playing at an All Star level.
Notable Omissions: Draymond Green, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, Gordon Hayward, Eric Gordon, C.J. McCollum, Andrew Wiggins, Harrison Barnes