Halfway through the NBA season, the time has come for in-depth analysis of the NBA All-Star Team’s thus far….
Last week, the NBA announced the starters for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game. On Thursday, the NBA will announce the reserves for each All-Star Team.
Before they do that though, it’s time to debate what was wrong with the starting lineups that were announced and do our best job at building the right lineups for the All-Star Game.
This game is one that is supposed to bring together all of the best players this year but that is often compromised due to the popularity and past performance of some players.
These are the right All-Star lineups, based off of who is playing their best basketball in the 2012-2013 season.
The Eastern All-Stars
The actual NBA-All Star lineups are determined by fan voting, which is an awful way to do it.
The fan voting turns it into a complete popularity contest, which is proven by just looking at the all-star voting results on NBA.com.
Kevin Garnett is starting thanks to it and Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrew Bynum, who have played a combined 9 games this year, got more votes than Brook Lopez and Paul George. Regardless, they got most of this starting lineup right.
My lineup replaces Joakim Noah at the last forward in the spot of Kevin Garnett, which is an easy replacement when you compare what the two have done this year.
Garnett is purely on this year’s All-Star team due to what he’s done in the past and not for his production this year.
Kevin is averaging 14.7 points and 7 rebounds for a .500 Celtics team while Noah has averaged 12.2 points and 10.7 rebounds for a first place Bulls team.
Joakim has also gotten 3.8 offensive rebounds per game compared to Garnett’s pitiful .8 per game.
Noah is also playing better defense at this time in his career, making him an easy replacement for Garnett who doesn’t make my All-Star team all together this year.
The other replacement made is in the place of another Celtic. Rajon Rondo got voted into the All-Star game for the 4th time and even though he is deserving, he should be replaced in the starting lineup by Kyrie Irving.
Irving missed a couple of weeks at the beginning season due to an injured hand but since returning he’s been the best PG in the NBA. Kyrie is averaging 23.1 PPG with 5.7 APG compared to Rondo’s 13.3 and 11.1.
Irving is one of the league’s brightest young stars and he’s earned a spot on his first All-Star team. This rounds out the should be starters.
The Eastern Reserves
G- Rajon Rondo
F- Paul George
C- Brook Lopez
PG- Jrue Holiday
PG- Deron Williams
C- Tyson Chandler
PF- Chris Bosh
In no particular order, those bench players round out the rest of my Eastern lineup. Paul George is one of the biggest surprises on the list, but he’s playing incredibly well and should get his first all-star nod this year.
With Danny Granger out for the Pacers, George has stepped up his game averaging 17. 2 PPG and 7.8 RPG for the first place Pacers.
Another player who should be appearing in his first All-Star game is Nets center Brook Lopez.
The Nets took some criticism last year when they signed Lopez to a new contract but so far he’s been worth it.
Brook is averaging 18.5 PPG but he’s drastically improved his rebounding, from 3.4 RPG last year to 7.4 this year. Lack of rebounding has been the biggest criticism of Lopez’s game so far in his career but with improvement he should be an All-Star this year.
While the Nets season has turned around since PJ Carlisemo’s promotion, the play of Deron Williams is still down.
For years Williams has been considered one of the best PG’s in the NBA but this year he has struggled. Even in those struggles, he’s earned himself an All-Star appearance.
I looked at some other guards in the East, like Brandon Jennings and Kemba Walker, who were on the cusp, but in the end the nod still should go to Deron Williams. He’s still averaging 16.9 PPG and 7.8 APG for a good Nets team.
With half of the season over, one of the early contenders for the Comeback player of the Year award is Jrue Holiday.
Holiday has been a starter for the 76′ers for 3 years but this year has been by far his best. Holiday is averaging 19 PPG to go along with 9 APG and even though his 76′ers team is struggling, it shouldn’t hurt his All-Star candidacy too much.
The final two spots on my East roster go to two big men who aren’t recognized as much as they should be.
Tyson Chandler and Chris Bosh are both very important parts of the two best teams in the East but often go unappreciated because of the other stars on their teams.
Chandler was recognized as the Defensive Player of the Year last year and even though his defense isn’t as solid this year he is still the anchor for a great Knicks team.
The most important part of Chandler’s game is his offensive rebounding abilities.
Chandler is great at tipping the ball to his teammates when he can’t reach it, which creates plenty of extra opportunities. Chandler leads the league with a very impressive 4.5 offensive rebounds per game.
Bosh is also very deserving of his 8th All-Star game appearance. Even though he is the third option for the Heat, he still averages 17.5 PPG while grabbing 7.1 RPG.
The Western All-Stars
Looking at this West lineup, one thing probably stands out right away.
Many people have been critical of Dwight Howard this year and many thought that he didn’t deserve a spot in the starting lineup for the West.
While Howard may not be playing as well as he has in the past, is anybody really playing better than him right now?
Howard has 17.1 PPG and a league high 12.3 RPG. The Lakers may be having a disaster season, but Dwight is still playing great basketball and has to get the nod as one of the starting big men in the All-Star Game.
Much like the East starting lineup, there are three clear starters in Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul.
All of them are superstars and playing at the top of their game.
The last change made to the starting lineup was putting David Lee in place of Blake Griffin.
Griffin is deserving of being on the All-Star team but Lee has been one of the best forwards in the NBA this year.
The Warriors have been surprisingly good this year and a big reason for that is David Lee, who’s averaging 19.6 PPG and 10.8 RPG.
Griffin is averaging less points and less rebounds per game so while he’s a deserving All-Star the starting spot should have been given to David Lee.
The Western Reserves
My biggest regret was not finding a place for LaMarcus Aldridge. I tried to fit him in here somewhere because he’s having a great year but he just wasn’t as deserving as any of the other big men that are listed.
This is still a team loaded with recognizable names and unlike in the East, where I have 6 first time All-Stars, everybody on the West All-Star team has been to an All-Star game with the exception of Stephen Curry and James Harden.
Many people think that either Curry or Lee, not both, will make it to the All-Star Game but they are both very deserving. The case for Lee has already been made and the case for Curry isn’t a hard one. Curry is averaging 20.7 PPG and 6.6 RPG as well as having the second best shooting percentage from the 3 point line. Both are deserving and both belong in the All-Star Game.
Unlike the East, a lot of the players in the West are pretty clear choices.
Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are once again playing great while nobody notices just how good San Antonio is.
Russell Westbrook is playing well for the Thunder and his former teammate James Harden is becoming a superstar in Houston.
Blake Griffin’s numbers are down but he is still playing great for a great Clippers team.
Unlike the East where there have been many breakout stars, the West is a mix of familiar faces who we all expect to play well and who have earned themselves another All-Star appearance.
Every year, we look at the All-Star teams and debate who got snubbed and who didn’t deserve to make it.
It’ll most likely happen again when the rest of the teams are announced later this week.
Until then though, here are the players that should make the All-Star Game regardless of their name value which, unfortunately, is a deciding factor for many involved.
These are the players who most deserve to be honored as NBA All-Stars for the 2012-2013 season.