Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
Guard: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star, 1st Time Starter) – Before breaking his finger, Kobe was having the best shooting season of his career, knocking down 50% of his shots from the field. Since then, Bryant has been shooting at a lower clip, which is an accomplishment considering that he was throwing up shots with a broken index finger on his shooting hand. Kobe has struggled with health even more recently since he strained his back against the Spurs in January and sprained his ankle against Washington, which will cause him to miss the actual All-Star Game. Still, he has been the best player in the Western Conference this season and that makes him a shoe-in for the team.
Guard: Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star, 1st Time Starter) – Paul is the best point guard of this generation, as I have stated several times before. That’s good enough to earn him a spot here. He too has battled with injuries this season, missing a few games early in the year with an ankle issue and will mist about one more month after knee surgery. How is this for a statline so far this season? 20 points, 11 assists and two steals per game with percentages of 50/42/86. Yeah, he’s a no-brainer. Not to mention what he does for the city of New Orleans, but I went over this last week.
Forward: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star, 1st Time Starter) – Durant has quickly emerged into the top pure scorer in the NBA, stealing that title from Carmelo Anthony with some excellent work. In the month of January, Durant had one of the best seasons in modern NBA history, averaging 32 points, eight rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal a game with astronomical percentages of 52/53/90. The scary part about that is: he’s only getting better.
Forward: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star, 1st Time Starter) – If you hadn’t been paying close attention to the Mavs this season, you probably haven’t noticed that they are one of the best teams in the West and that Dirk is putting up 25 and eight comfortably every night. Nowitzki has been doing everything for the Mavs offensively this season and is climbing the ranks as one of the best crunch time scorers in the game today. He gets the nod over Melo because he has stayed healthy and I think he is more valuable to the Mavs than Melo is to the Nuggets.
Center: Chris Kaman, Los Angeles Clippers, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star, 1st Time Starter) – Kaman has been fairly surprising this season, coming out of the gate as the best offensive center in basketball. He’s got a face-up game, good moves in the post, and is good from the free throw line.
Deron Williams, Utah Jazz, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
Chauncey Billups, Denver Nuggets, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
Guard: Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star, 1st Time Starter) – Rondo emerged as the best player on the Celtics during the playoffs last season and he has become even better this year. 14 points, 10 assists, four boards and three steals a game from a third-year point guard making just $2 million (compared t0 the gobs of cash Allen, Pierce and Garnett make). One of the best values in the league.
Guard: Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star, 1st Time Starter) – Wade has taken a step back from last season. He doesn’t have the same explosiveness that he had in the Olympics and he is taking way too many jumpers. Maybe that’s because he doesn’t have the confidence to drive to the basket fearing the inability to get there or another hard fall that results in an injury, or maybe he doesn’t feel like asserting himself fully for a team that has no shot. Still, 27 points, six assists, five rebounds, a block and a steal a game. I’ll take it.
Forward: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star, 1st Time Starter) – Make no mistake about it, LeBron James has had the best season of anybody on the planet thus far. He’s starting to hit jumpshots, is charismatic, and can literally get to the rim at any time. James is having one of the best seasons in the history of the NBA. 30 points a game, eight assists, seven boards, 51% shooting from the floor, a career high 36% shooting from three, and is shooting a career high 78% from the line. He’s a joy to watch.
Forward: Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star, 1st Time Starter) – Bosh is overlooked, in my opinion. He’s the best offensive power forward in the league and he’s better than Pau Gasol at everything, in my opinion. Bosh is averaging 24 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and a block a game and is shooting 53% from the field. I’m not sure Gasol could put up 36 points on 14-of-18 shooting like Bosh can and has done this season, even if Kobe wasn’t taking the majority of the load offensively.
Center: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star, 1st Time Starter) – With the development of a 10-foot bankshot, Howard is starting to come around offensively of late. Howard has averages of 18 points and 13 rebounds and I don’t think that is 75% of what he should have had by this point. Howard is still the league’s poster child for defense, even though I value a guard’s contributions on that end more than a post’s (I think Howard is a tad overrated because most of his stats come on help side). He leads the league in blocks per game with 2.7 a contest and is even averaging a career high in steals with 1.1 a game.
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
Gerald Wallace, Charlotte Bobcats, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee Bucks, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
David Lee, New York Knicks, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
Antawn Jamison, Washington Wizards, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)
Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets, (1st Time BTGIO All-Star)