With the starters of the All-Star Game announced and the reserves soon to follow, here are my picks for who I think should get to go to New Orleans from the Eastern Conference. I try to base my picks on who is more deserving based on their play this year. For example, I did not think Kobe should’ve been in the All-Star game a year ago, as illustrious as his career was. I also take injuries and games missed into account, but I may make an exception this year for a certain player (spoiler alert, it’s Joel Embiid). Without further ado, here are my picks for the Eastern Conference, which include two guard and three frontcourt players for the starters, and two guards, three frontcourt players, and two wildcards for the reserves.
G: Isaiah Thomas
G: Kyle Lowry
F: DeMar DeRozan
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo
F: LeBron James
G: John Wall
G: Kyrie Irving
F: Jimmy Butler
F: Paul George
F: Joel Embiid
WC: Kemba Walker
WC: Kevin Love
To begin, I had Thomas because he is averaging 29 points per game and is the best player on a team that is the three seed, as of Wednesday, despite periodic injuries to Al Horford, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley. He is killing it in crunch time, and even has some MVP buzz. He edged out John Wall, but not by much, as Wall has really been playing well of late.
I had the Raptors backcourt as well, but slid DeRozan into a forward spot to make room for Thomas. Lowry has been his usual extremely effective, somewhat unflashy, self. He gets it done by drawing fouls, lighting it up from three and doing a great job running the offense. He plays great defense, as well, and can get boards. DeRozan has been incredibly effective as a scorer for the Raptors and got off to an insanely hot start. Despite never shooting threes, DeRozan has managed to score 28 points per game and is a big contribution to the Raptors being the two-seed. These two have carried what is arguably a top 5 team.
Giannis, the Greek Freak, has been a freak this year. While some thought he would be a D-Leaguer as recently as a year ago, he has carried the Bucks into relevance with some help from Jabari Parker. He’s jacking up more threes this year but hasn’t quite hit 30%. He has still improved in that regard, however. He is ridiculous on the break and can guard five positions. This dude is a stud. LeBron is a starter as well, for obvious reasons. He is the best player in the league and is averaging close to a 26-8-8. He is, in all likelihood, heading to his 7th straight finals.
Here is a quick run-down of the reserves. John Wall turned around Washington after a slow start and is once again near the top in assists. He has also improved his crunch-time scoring. Kyrie has continued his scoring dominance while also vastly improving his playmaking with a nice string of 10+ assist games. Butler has shined for a flawed Bulls roster, Paul George is a dragging a mediocre team with a mediocre coach to a .500 record, and the Sixers are a freaking playoff team with Embiid on the floor (unfortunately, they are possible the worst without him). Kemba has had a magnificent season for the Hornets and is shooting the lights out from three. I decided to stick Kevin Love on the team as well, as his shooting and rebounding are propelling the Cavs.
Western Conference is next week! Thanks for reading.
Collegian Blogger John Scriffiny can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @JScriff. Read more of his content here. Leave a comment!