With the All-Star voting window coming to a close, we now patiently wait until Thursday night when the starters and two team captains of the revamped system will be revealed on TNT. We got a good look last week as to who will be team captains with LeBron and Steph leading their respective conferences in votes by a slim margin at the second returns.
As someone who has always seen the allure of All-Star weekend from afar, I took some time out to predict who would take home my 24 player slots in Los Angeles next month. I’m really looking forward to the new format and hopefully, that raises the stakes of the game.
Eastern Conference: Starters
BC: Kyrie Irving
BC: DeMar DeRozan
FC: LeBron James
FC: Giannis Antetokounmpo
FC: Joel Embiid
No surprises really going on in the East’s top 5. As a Knicks’ homer I debated Porzingis over Embiid, but Joel has been unbelievable in the games he suits up for. The only real decision to be made is DeRozan vs Oladipo in the starting lineup, as both have raised their game to a new level. Went with DeRozan because of his team’s success, even with Lowry missing time.
Honorable Mention: Ben Simmons, Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton
Vic (24 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and Zinger (league leader in blocks) could easily be starters, as the best player on their teams. Bradley Beal has had an All-Star worthy campaign, as Wall has missed time with injury. K-Love and Drummond have been solid bigs and deserve a spot. These last couple slots is where I struggled. John Wall and Kyle Lowry both missed time, but I think John is having a better campaign. I rewarded winning with Horford on the last slot, but could hear an argument for any of the honorable mention players named above.
Western Conference: Starters
BC: James Harden
BC: Russell Westbrook
FC: Kevin Durant
FC: DeMarcus Cousins
FC: Anthony Davis
James Harden was the leading MVP candidate until his hamstring injury, but a return is imminent. Durant has been unbelievably efficient and has raised his game on the defensive side, making for the best two-way season of his career. Cousins and AD have both carried the Pelicans over .500 and the experiment has gone better than I thought. Only went with Westbrook over Curry because of durability, but Steph’s efficiency and 50/40/90 potential cannot go unseen.
Honorable Mention: Paul George, Draymond Green, Devin Booker, Nikola Jokic
Now this is where the boys become men, folks. I have the top four reserve spots as locks (Steph, Dame, Aldridge and Jimmy B). I’ve been wrestling with the last three slots for about a week now, going back and forth. Needed another big man, so KAT gets the nod, as Minnesota has surpassed expectations. The Warriors deserve three all-stars, not four. For me, I’m going Klay over Draymond for that spot. Lou Williams has been balling out of his mind, posting career highs in multiple statistical categories and the Clips are only a game behind the 6th seed out West. For that reason, I’ve got Lou Will over PG13 in my final spot.