Well, we already know who will be starting in Orlando. Now it's just a question of who is going to back them up. They'll be announced later tonight, so I figured I should throw out who I think should get in now, before we all inevitably get upset at the real thing.
To review, the starters for the West are Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Andrew Bynum. The East will start Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard. You can argue all you want about who deserves it and who does not from that group of ten, but that's not the issue right now. The question at hand is who are the other seven guys from each conference that also deserve an All-Star nod. Let's get to it. None of the players are in any particular order.
Any discussion of All-Star reserves has to start with Iguodala. He's the lynchpin of a top-three team in the East and putting up numbers that make him look like the poor man's LeBron. No, he doesn't score all that much, but that's not his game. His game is to rebound, facilitate and play all-world defense. In fact, he's probably the second best perimeter defender in the game right now. Only LeBron is consistently better.
Honestly, not only is he a shoo-in for a reserve spot, he should probably have been starting over Melo.
Yes, he's shooting 40 percent from the field. But he's still putting up 20 points and 8 assists per game, something matched only by Derrick Rose this year. And that team is absolutely terrible. When your second best player on any given night is Kris Humphries, Anthony Morrow or rookie MarShon Brooks, your point guard has no right to average 8.6 assists per game. Nothing against any of those guys, just saying that they are not good enough to be the second best player on an NBA team.
Yes, it pains me to say it just as much as it does you to read it, but the man's an All-Star. It's not really a dispute, either. 19 and 8 for either the best or second best (depending on who you ask) team in the league is pretty good. Yes, he could rebound more, I guess, but when you play with LeBron, Mike Miller, Dwyane Wade and Shane Battier, you don't really have to worry so much about that.
The man has been balling out in his first year in New York. He's basically averaging a double-double and somehow shooting 70.8 percent (!!!!) from the field. No, that's not a typo. I suppose you could make the argument for Greg Monroe or Roy Hibbert, but Chandler has taken a team that COULD NOT play defense to save it's life last year and turned them into a half-decent defensive team. Also, he's shooting 70.8 percent. I cannot emphasize that enough.
It's possible I'll take some heat for this one, but Allen has been the only consistently good and consistently healthy player on a Boston team that has really surged of late. And he may be old, but he's shooting 50 percent from the field and 52.6 percent from three. That's ridiculous.
First he was injured, then he wasn't but he sucked. Now he's really good again. I have no real explanation for this other than to blame the lockout. He's doing all of the same damned things he's been doing for years, and somehow nobody can stop him. And with Boston surging, he deserves it as much as anyone else.
Another guy, much like Allen, who hasn't gotten much support as an All-Star, despite playing at a very high level. He's averaging about 15 and 9 with a steal and two blocks per game tacked on for an Atlanta team that lost Al Horford and is somehow still winning games. Sure, his shot selection could use some work, but he's still been great.
Absolute no-brainer. His numbers are exemplary in every sense of the word. He's averaging 25 and not quite 14 on 45 percent shooting, adding 38 percent from downtown for good measure. The Timberwolves are winning games. What's not to like? And if we're being honest with ourselves, he probably should have been starting over Griffin.
Another no-brainer. Aldridge has always been something of a sore spot for Bulls fans after the Bulls drafted him and then traded him to Portland for Tyrus Thomas and Victor Khryapa, but he absolutely deserves the nod this year. The only possible thing I can think of to critique his game would be his rebounding. He doesn't quite get nine per game, which is disappointing considering his size and length. But he's still an All-Star.
Quibble with his shot selection or his propensity to turn the ball over as you will, but he is absolutely the second best point guard in the West. (Apologies to Steve Nash, we'll get to him in a second.) At some point, he'll figure out that he doesn't need to do everything at 200 MPH, and everything will work itself out. That will be scary.
So what if he doesn't start? He's having a terrific season. He's averaging almost 20 points per-36 for the team with the best record in the league and has basically locked up the Sixth Man of the Year award less than two months into the season. Also, his beard might deserve an All-Star slot all by itself.
Yes, you read that correctly. That's Marc Gasol, not big brother Pau. Marc has been fantastic this year for Grizzlies team that is somehow surviving without Zach Randolph and Darrell Arthur. When you're averaging 15 and 10 with two blocks per game and shooting better than 50 percent, you deserve to make the All-Star team.
Told you we'd get to him. He's freaking ridiculous. He's 38 years old, his team is absolutely terrible, and somehow he's shooting 55.9 percent from the field, 45.5 percent from three and leading the league in assists. I don't even know how that's possible. Leaving him off the All-Star team would be a travesty.
Aha, and you thought I'd leave him off entirely, didn't you? I almost did, actually, but it came down to Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki and I just couldn't justify taking Dirk. I tried, but I couldn't do it. Dirk's numbers are down across the board, and while he's still scoring more than Pau this year, he's been injured and his other numbers are low enough that Pau makes up for it. Besides, Pau's averaging 16 and 10 and it would be more than just 16 if Kobe weren't taking 30 shots per game. And with the rest of that Lakers roster as it is, it's a testament to Pau, Bynum and Kobe that they're even 3 games over .500.
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