My NBA All-Star starters

18 01 2010

Now more than ever it seems like voters are besieged with pleas to reveal which player or team they chose for a particular award or ranking. Whether it’s for the MLB Hall of Fame, the NBA MVP or college football’s Top 25 ranking, transparency is the desired characteristic of any voter. Therefore, I present my 10 picks for the NBA All-Star game starters, as I voted them this morning. (Because I know my opinion goes a really long way.)

East

Center — Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic. He leads the NBA in rebounds (13.1 per game) and blocks (2.5), which makes him the game’s biggest and baddest defensive post presence. Plus, he’s a fan favorite and has shown his desire for winning by averaging three fewer shots per game than last year in order to provide more shot attempts for the rest of his team’s deep roster.

Forward — Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors. A career-high 23.2 points, 11.1 rebounds and 52.2 field goal shooting should make it clear that he deserves a starting spot. I still don’t want the Lakers to trade Andrew Bynum for him, but that speaks more to Bynum’s uniqueness as a legit 7’0 shot-blocker with a soft shooting touch than it does to Bosh.

Forward — LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers. ‘Bron is averaging 29.6 points, 7.7 assists and 7.1 rebounds along with shooting 51.1 percent from the field. He’s notched just two triple-doubles but has come within one or two assists and/or one or two rebounds from a triple-double six other times.

Guard — Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat. Can you believe all four of these guys so far were on the Redeem Team? Gold, baby, gold! Wade is in the same position Kobe was for the Lakers in 2005-06 in that he has to play like one of the league’s three best players every night for his team to have a good chance at winning. He’s throwing down 27.1 points and 6.3 assists with at least a few game-winning shots so far, so he’s doing his job.

Guard — Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics. As painful as it is to recognize a Celtic, it would be unjust to pass over Rondo for the way he’s held the Celtics together. Amidst injury-riddled seasons from KG and Paul Pierce, Rondo has averaged 14 points and 9.6 assists to jump ahead of Derrick Rose for the battle of the East’s next great point guard. He has 17 point/assist double-doubles and has twice come within one rebound of adding two triple-doubles to the one he already has.

West

Center — Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns. His stats aren’t brilliant (21.0 points, 8.8 rebounds) but S.T.A.T. has improved his defense from atrocious to middling and appears primed to garner a robust contract this offseason. After all, he’s the forgotten prize considering he’s just 27 and has the maturity to eventually become less stat-oriented and more defensive-minded. He still beats out Bynum and Chris Kaman, although Kaman should make the All-Star roster as a reserve.

Forward — Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. Charles Barkley proclaimed he wouldn’t attend All-Star Weekend in Dallas if Durant wasn’t in the game this year. He better be since he’s a Texas guy and he would win them over during the game. Not to mention that he’s officially joined the ranks of the league’s 10 best players with his 29.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. I don’t care what excuses Greg Oden’s advocates want to make for his defensive presence. Portland should have drafted Durant and it’s now more apparent than ever.

Forward — Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets. If there were an MVP award for the first quarter of the season, he would’ve won it. He still might take home the full-season prize if he holds his NBA scoring lead (30.0) and the Nuggets finish second in the West. He’s definitely become a Top 5 player this year. (Kobe, ‘Bron, Wade and Chris Paul hold the other four spots in my eyes.)

Guard — Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers. I’ll try not to gloat. Forget the stats for a minute. He’s played at an elite level even with hamstring, groin, knee, back and finger ailments and he’s hit three or four buzzer-beating game-winners. He’s a few years away from becoming the G.O.A.T.

Guard — Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns. All due respect to Paul, Nash has gone assist-for-assist with Paul (11.0 to CP3’s 11.3) and has his team in a better place than Paul has New Orleans. (The Suns are 24-17, the Hornets 21-18.) Plus, Nash has played in every game while Paul missed eight contests with a sprained ankle.

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One response

19 01 2010
Page Seven

It’s a shame that there’s no space for Gerald Wallace. Dude is a beast and having an amazing season. He’s averaging 19 and 11 a game, and he’s only 6’7″.

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