NBA All-Star Votes

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LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18: Stephen Curry #30 of Team Stephen is introduced along with his starting line up before the start of the 2018 NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on February 18, 2018. (Photo by Philip Pacheco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

It is that time of the season again, where we make our starters and reserves selections for the All-Star game on February 17th. As it is mostly done, I will make the All-Star picks based on personal stats in combination with team success. This means higher seeded teams are more likely to get multiple All-Stars and vice versa.

NBA All-Star Picks

Eastern Conference All-Stars

The Eastern Conference is definitely easier to choose from as they have a smaller pool of stars than in the Western Conference.

Starters

G Kyrie Irving

G Kemba Walker

F Giannis Antetokounmpo

F Kawhi Leonard

F/C Joel Embiid

For the starters, there is little to debate, except for the second guard spot. It is between Bradley Beal, Walker, Victor Oladipo, and Ben Simmons. Out of all four players, Oladipo missed the most time, which I think takes him out of the running. Ben Simmons’ lack of shooting and shot-creation still pokes holes in his game. Finally, Beal and Walker have the highest impact on their teams as their teams’ offenses completely disintegrate in their absence. Beal’s numbers have been fantastic, especially after John Wall’s injury. However, Walker has the highest impact on his team’s success. He is keeping the Charlotte Hornets in the playoff picture, and basically doing it on his own. This puts him as a starter, while Beal gets a reserve spot.

Reserves

Blake Griffin

Nikola Vucevic

Ben Simmons

Kyle Lowry

Bradley Beal

The East reserves were pretty much straight-forward until Oladipo got a season-ending injury on January 23rd (Lowry replaced Oladipo in the reserves). They all lead their teams on the court. Lowry had a fantastic start to the season before cooling down a bit. He still averages close to 10 assists per game, which shows his leadership and deferral to Leonard this season. Vucevic might sound like the biggest surprise, however, he is having a monster season. The Orlando Magic center is shooting 56% from two-pointers and 39% from beyond the arc. He is also having career highs for 12 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

This leaves two remaining spots to complete the All-Stars. Competing for those two spots are Khris Middleton, Eric BledsoeJimmy Butler, Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic, Domantas Sabonis, Andre Drummond, Al Horford, J.J. Redick, D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Josh Richardson, John Collins, and Pascal Siakam.

Turner has to be the second best Pacer after Oladipo, however, at 12.8 points per game, it is difficult to make an All-Star argument for him. In addition, Butler spent the first third of the season in the West, not with the Philadelphia 76ers. Collins is having an elevated second year, however playing on a team like the Atlanta Hawks those stats could be empty. Finally, it narrows down to Bledsoe, Middleton,Siakam, and Russell.

Wildcards

Eric Bledsoe

D’Angelo Russell

It was easy giving the Milwaukee Bucks multiple All-Stars, especially after Oladipo was out of the equation. The Bucks are having a great season leading the Eastern Conference under new coach Mike Budenholzer. In addition, the Brooklyn Nets are this year’s cinderella team as they currently hold the sixth seed. Russell is one of many Nets players who have been having a great season, however, Russell is averaging 19.2 points per game and 6.5 assists per game. There may be some recency bias as Russell has been catching fire as of late.

Western Conference All-Stars

Starters

G Stephen Curry

G James Harden

F Paul George

F Kevin Durant

F/C Nikola Jokic

The most controversial omission in the starting five would be of the best player in the league, LeBron James. James has missed the last 14 games for the Los Angeles Lakers and he is still without a clear timetable for return.

Reserves

LeBron James

Anthony Davis

Damian Lillard

Karl-Anthony Towns

Rudy Gobert

If James is not a starter then George must take his spot. The Oklahoma City Thunder are having a great year as a top three team in the West, and George is their best player as well as a defensive player of the year candidate. This next pick was between Davis and Jokic. Davis averages almost 10 more points per game, while Jokić average a mind-blowing 7.7 assists per game along with his 19.6 points per game and 10 rebounds per game. The New Orleans Pelicans are 12th in the West, while the Nuggets have been in the top three all season. Davis is a better defender, more athletic, and more versatile. It can go either way, however, for me, it is Jokić due to the Denver Nuggets’ success.

Ever since Butler was traded, Towns has been back to his old monstrous self on both ends of the floor. Gobert is the reigning defensive player of the year averaging 15 points per game along with 13 rebounds per game and 2 blocks per game. He is doing all of this while shooting a career high 65% from the field. Gobert is the Utah Jazz’s anchor as they have squeezed into the playoff picture.

The last two spots will be decided between an extremely competitive list comprised of: Mike Conley, Jrue Holiday, Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Luka Doncic, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, Donovan Mitchell, Jamal Murray, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Clint Capela (injured), Jusuf Nurkic, Devin Booker, Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox, and Steven Adams.

Westbrook is shooting 24% from beyond the arc and 41% from the field, which is why he is not a lock. He still leads the league in assists per game and is averaging a triple double so that should count for something.

Conley’s team hit a free fall which sees the Memphis Grizzlies at 14th in the West, which makes it hard to vote him in. Klay Thompson has had monstrous games, however, the first few months of the season were off for him. In addition, Green has only been his usual self as of the last few weeks. Mitchell has only gotten going as of the last month, which is a bit too late in a star-studded West.

Hield and Fox are having a great year, however, they are not at that All-Star level, yet. They will grab one or both of those spots very soon, though.

After further consideration, I narrowed it down to Westbrook, Conley, Holiday, Doncic, Aldridge, DeRozan, Gallinari, and Harris.

Wildcards

Russell Westbrook

DeMar DeRozan

Westbrook is by far the most impactful player on this list and he demands the most attention by his opponents. In addition, DeRozan has taken a huge leadership role in his first season with the San Antonio Spurs after a controversial trade. He is the main playmaker for his team, while averaging 21 points per game, 6 rebounds per game, and 6 assists per game. This has translated very well as the Spurs find themselves 6th in an extremely tough Western Conference.

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