The NBA All-Star starters were announced on Thursday night. No real surprises as reigning MVP Derrick Rose of the Bulls, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James of the Heat, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, and Magic center Dwight Howard were all named as the East five. They will be opposed by Chris Paul (Clippers), Kobe Bryant (Lakers), Kevin Durant (Thunder), Blake Griffin (Clippers) and Andrew Bynum (Lakers) from the Western Conference. The two sides will square off in Orlando at the end of this month.
The fans did a pretty solid job picking the starters this year. There wasn’t any popular injured guys (Yao Ming) or veteran fan-favorites who got in undeservingly (Allen Iverson). Carmelo isn’t having the best season and is on a disappointing Knicks team, but he’s still an All-Star. I’m not going to argue with any of the 10 selections. Every year there are arguments over those last 14 reserve spots. And this season is no different. Here are my picks, Western Conference first.
Forward: Kevin Love, Timberwolves (25 points, 14 rebounds)
Forward: LaMarcus Aldridge, Trail Blazers (23-9)
Forward: Rudy Gay, Grizzlies (18-6.5)
Center: Marc Gasol, Grizzlies (14.5-10.5)
Guard: Russell Westbrook, Thunder (22-5-6)
Guard: Monta Ellis, Warriors (21.5-3-7)
Guard: Tony Parker, Spurs (17-8 assists)
Some of these are obvious (Love, Aldridge, Westbrook) but the others are all debatable. I believe Ellis is finally deserving this year, despite the Warriors still not being a Top 8 team in the West. Steve Nash and James Harden have great cases, but with the success of the Spurs I give Parker a slight edge. He is quietly having another great year. Hard to leave the Nuggets without a selection, but the truth is they are a very solid team, not relying on any one player to carry them. Nene, Gallinari, or even Lawson or Harrington could represent Denver. Tough choices.
Forward: Chris Bosh, Heat (20-8)
Forward: Paul Pierce, Celtics (18-5.5-5.5)
Forward: Amare Stoudemire, Knicks (18-8)
Center: Roy Hibbert, Pacers (14-10)
Guard: Deron Williams, Nets (20.5-8.5)
Guard: Brandon Jennings, Bucks (20.5-3-6)
Guard: Joe Johnson, Hawks (19-4-4)
Toughest omissions included Rajon Rondo, Danny Granger, Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Kyrie Irving, and Ryan Anderson. If Rondo has a great week (coming back from his wrist injury) he could crack the roster. I feel that Jennings is deserving this year. Hibbert likely gets in because of the lack of depth at center in the East. Al Horford and Andrew Bogut are hurt and the rest of the teams don’t even really have a center, so Hibbert’s 14-10 combined with being on a good Pacers team gets him the honor.
Let the debates begin.
Rich Keefe is the Celtics Reporter for 98.5 The Sports Hub. He writes the “Around The NBA” and “5 Questions With…” columns on CelticsHub.com. You can follow him on twitter: @Keefe21