NBA All-Star Starters: Deserved or Not Deserved?
The starters for the NBA All-Star game were recently announced, and as always, there is debate regarding whether the players who got voted in to start actually deserve that honor. These players are all certainly all-stars(with the obvious exception of Kobe Bryan due to injury), but not all of these players truly deserve to start the game itself. The players who got snubbed on starting roles, we can presume, will be chosen as reserves by the coaches for the game. Lets look at all the starters and break it down and see if they actually deserve to start in the All-Star Game.
Eastern Conference Starters
Kyrie Irving-PG-Cleveland Cavaliers
Irving is really beginning to shine this year on the court, leading the all PG’s in the East in scoring and is 2nd in the NBA behind only Steph Curry. While he is not posting high assists numbers, which is a staple with point guards, Kyrie controls the tempo for the Cavs and has some of the best handles in the league. The Cavs are struggling right now, which does hurt Kyrie’s case, as they were expected to be a strong contender to make the playoffs this year. Irving gets the benefit of the doubt here though, as his ability to take over a game makes and scoring ability make him the best PG in the East.
Next Up: John Wall
Dwayne Wade-SG-Miami Heat
Wade has missed a pretty big part of the season in part to his sore knees. He also has only been putting up 18.5 PPG in the games that he has played, well below his career average. It has become pretty clear that D-Wade is on the downswing of his career due to those knee injuries. However, due to the fans voting and Wade’s superstar reputation, the fans will continue to put him in All-Star games. Wade is still one of the best, but this season, I simply cannot give him the nod as a starter, or even an all-star
VERDICT: NOT DESERVING
Who Should Be Starting: DeMar DeRozan- Has lead Toronto with 21.8 PPG and has the Raptors currently in the playoffs with the 4th seed in the East. That is good enough to earn a starting spot.
Paul George-F-Indiana Pacers
Paul George has emerged as one of the faces of the NBA, leading the Indiana Pacers to the best record in the NBA. George has been nothing short of amazing this season, averaging 23.5 PPG and 6.3 RPG. He has done it all for the Pacers, being the team leader, hitting clutch shots, and being an absolute nightmare on defense. There really is not much of a debate here. George is in the MVP running this year, and it would not surprise me at all if he won it.
Next Up: Chris Bosh
Carmelo Anthony-F-New York Knicks
Melo is having another typical Melo season, averaging 27.2 PPG. He has improved his rebounding this year as well, averaging 9.0 RPG. The Knicks are struggling more than anyone thought this year, currently 10 games under the .500 mark. Carmelo will be a free agent at the end of the season, and if he wants that ring, the Knicks are going to have to make some major moves in the off-season. For this discussion, however, even with the Knicks struggling, Anthony is still one of the premier scorers in the NBA and is impossible to guard. Also, there are not really any other forwards or centers that deserve to start right now, so Melo gets the nod
Next Up: No one else is really worth an all-star start this year at the F/C position besides Bosh
LeBron James-F-Miami Heat
For the sake of not wasting your time, I’m not going to make this one very long. LeBron is still the best player in the NBA, like it or not. He may not win the MVP this year with what Kevin Durant is doing, but LeBron is the better overall player. He is having another amazing year, averaging 26 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 6.9 APG. He is easily deserving of yet another start in the all-star game.
Next Up: See Above
Western Conference Starters
Steph Curry-PG-Golden State Warriors
Curry is having a career year, averaging 24.1 PPG and 9.3 APG, both well above his career averages. Curry is one of the, if not the best shooter in the NBA today and is nearly impossible to guard. Curry is the biggest reason why Golden State has been having success the past few years, and presently has them in the 6th seed in the Western Conference. There are many great PG’s in the Western Conference, but Curry is the cream of the crop right now.
Next Up: Damian Lillard
Kobe Bryant-SG-Los Angeles Lakers
Not much of a debate here. Kobe has barely played at all this year, and 6 games that he has, he only averaged 13.8 PPG and a staggering 5.7 turnovers per game. Bryant is easily one of the greatest players in NBA History and is loved by many fans, but their love for him by putting him into a starting spot in the All-Star game is ridiculous. There are many more deserving players who have been having great seasons, and unlike Kobe, have actually played the majority of the season. No contest here, sorry Kobe.
VERDICT: NOT DESERVING
Who Should Be Starting: James Harden- Harden has been having another great year in Houston, averaging 23.7 PPG. He is the best shooting guard in the West bar none. Houston is also having a great season, led in large part by Harden. He deserves this spot
Kevin Durant-F-Oklahoma City Thunder
Like LeBron, I will keep this one short. Durant is currently the front runner for the MVP award and is in the midst of one of the greatest stretches we have ever seen from any player in history. He leads the NBA in scoring with an astonishing 31.1 PPG. KD is on top of the world at this moment. No question he deserves a spot
Next Up: No one touches KD here.
Blake Griffin-F-Los Angeles Clippers
Known for his highlight reel dunks, Griffin is having another fantastic year, averaging 22.8 PPG and 9.9 RPG. The Clippers have been having another solid year under new coach Doc Rivers, and Blake has been one of the main reasons for that. In almost any other year, Blake would definitely be a starter. However, what LaMarcus Aldridge is doing in Portland this year is amazing, and is having a slightly better season than Blake. Griffin gets the start because he is more popular, but Aldridge is having the better season.
VERDICT: NOT DESERVING
Who Should Be Starting: LaMarcus Aldridge – Got to give this spot to Aldridge. He is putting up career highs in every category, averaging 24.3 PPG and 11.5 RPG for the Blazers. Portland is also one of the big surprises in the loaded Western Conference, currently sitting in 3rd in the standing, with Aldridge being the biggest reason for that.
Kevin Love-F-Minnesota Timberwolves
The double-double machine is having another career year, averaging 24.8 PPG and 13 RPG. Love can shoot the ball from anywhere on the court and is a monster on the boards. The T-Wolves have the potential to be a playoff team, but just cannot seem to get it together, sitting in 11th place in the West. There are many deserving players who could start in this spot, but I feel Love is just slightly better than those players
Next Up: DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard
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