Given that we are approaching the half way point until the NBA All-Star Game, let’s take a look at who can potentially get selected from each conference.
G: Kyrie Irving.
Kyrie has been a great addition to the Boston Celtics, making Danny Ainge looking even more like a genius with that offseason trade with the Cavs. The Celtics hold the best record in the league with the best defense attached to them, and that starts with Irving. He has noticeably improved his on ball defense, applying a lot of pressure to his opponents while averaging a career best 1.5 steals per game. He is also excelling at involving his surrounding teammates, while still producing clutch buckets and scoring in a Kyrie Irving like manor. With a combination of Brad Stevens’ system and Kyrie’s skill set, he has had enormous success with his new team thus far.
G: Demar Deroza
Derozan is one of the most consistent scorers in the game. Averaging 23.9 for the 4th seeded Raptors, he is shooting 48.4 from the field, his best since his rookie season, where he only took 9 attempts . Although Raptors still have a lot left to prove, Demar has proved why he deserves an All-Star nod yet again.
F: Lebron James
I mean….isn’t this a given??? Lebron is putting up typical Lebron numbers, averaging 28 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 8.5 assists. Although the Cavs got off to a rough start this season, The King has helped tremendously with getting them back on pace, currently riding a 10 game win streak. Consistently putting up MVP caliber numbers AND being a winning team will most definitely earn you a starting spot in the All-Star Game every season.
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo
This guy is the future. He is one of, if not the most athletic player in the league. Giannis helped the Bucks to a hot start this season and although they have cooled down slightly, he is still putting up solid averages of 29.2 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, while playing solid defense on some of the NBA’s best players.
C: Andre Drummond
After not making much progress last season and being wrapped in trade rumors during the trade deadline, Drummond has done nothing except show the entire league why he is one of the best centers in today’s game. He is averaging 14.3 points and a league best 15.2 rebounds. Also, his free throw shooting has improved dramatically to 63% after being a career 39.3% free throw shooter. Andre has been a huge reason for the Pistons success, being the second seed in the east.
G: John Wall
The Washington Wizards star point guard might be injured right now, but the league should really brace for his return. Averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists, John Wall is continuing to prove why he is a top PG in the league. With his scoring and play making comes very intense defense as he is averaging a steal, and is one of very few point guards averaging 1 block per game, as well as serving as an elite on-ball defender. Although he has missed some games, it is pretty predictable he will return playing at his natural All-Star level.
G: Victor Oladipo
This was a hard decision to make, deciding between Oladipo and Bradley Beal, but I chose Oladipo. Throughout his career, he has shown much potential and has taken full advantage of the opportunity to live up to that potential in Indiana. He is averaging career highs in blocks, steals, rebounds, FG%, 3P%, and most noticeably, scoring. Averaging 22.8 ppg, he has been a huge contributing factor to Indiana, a projected lottery team currently tied for the 6th spot in the East.
F: Ben Simmons
It is not often that rookies make the All-Star team, however Ben Simmons is one of the few exceptions. Quarter way through the season and you can arguably say he’s already a lock for ROY honors. He leads all rookies in scoring with 18.6, rebounds with 9.4, steals with 2.2, and is tied with Lonzo Ball in assists with 7.2. He is a player that can do it all and definitely has earned the right to be named a 2018 All-Star.
F: Kristaps Porzingis
Kristaps scoring may have gone down after having a nice stretch of 30+ points, but you have to love what he is doing for this NY team. Despite all of the offseason drama and low expectations, Porzingis has helped the Knicks to an 11-10 record, something not many NBA experts expected coming into the season.
C: Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid is considered a fan favorite. Although a lot of that has to do with his on/off court antics, Philly fans love him for his competitiveness and attitude. He has filled the stats sheet, averaging 22.9 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. Embiid has shown he is a dominant force on both ends of the floor and is contributing to the 76ers success, have a 12-9 record and the 5th spot out East.
G: Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker is having a very similar season to last season, where he earned his first All-Star nod. Averaging a solid 22.3 points to go along with 6.2 assists, the Hornets star point guard is showing no signs of slowing down, especially with his ability to take over games. Although the Hornets have an 8-12 record, it is still early in the season and it isn’t crazy to imagine them turning their season around, getting back in the playoff picture.
C: Al Horford
This was another tough decision between Al Horford and Tobias Harris, but I had to ride with Al. He is simply doing everything for the Celtics. Some of his stats might not blow you away, but he is exactly what the Celtics need and is thriving in his role this season as a facilitating big who can also lock down opponents in the paint. Although they have a star PG in Kyrie Irving running the show, Al Horford is a huge reason and deserves much credit for the Celtic’s success and being the top defensive team in the league.
Honorable mentions: Tobias Harris, Kyle Lowry, Bradly Beal
G: Steph Curry
Man…it’s Steph Curry…. nothing has changed. He is still easily the best shooter in our league and is close to impossible to guard. With his crafty passes, handles, and shot selection, he is showing why he is one of a kind and a back to back MVP. The 2-time NBA Champion has made his mark in this league, and in this season. Being an arguably top thee MVP candidate.
G: James Harden
James Harden has been nearly unstoppable ever since settling in with Houston. If the season was to end today, he would be the MVP. Averaging 5.2 rebounds, 9.8 assists, and a career high 31.5 points, he has helped the Houston Rockets to the first seed in the competitive western conference. And with CP3 being healthy and running the point, I can’t see Harden’s scoring going down anytime soon.
F: Kevin Durant
KD, one of, if not the best iso player in the game, has solid averages of 24.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.7 assists. Not only has his offensive game been terrific, but his defense has been lockdown ever since joining the Warriors, and it’s only getting better. He is averaging a career high 2.0 blocks, which is top 5 in the league. The reigning Finals MVP also leads the league in fast break points with 5.1, which can be partially be credited to his defensive effort.
F: Anthony Davis
Like most seasons, Davis has been an unstoppable force, both offensively and defensively. He is top ten in rebounds with 11.0, top ten in scoring with 25.6, and top ten in blocks with 1.8 The Brow has helped immensely in putting the Pelicans above .500 and seventh in the west.
C: Demarcus Cousins
Boogie is balling out this season, another player doing a little bit of everything. He is right behind Anthony Davis in scoring with 25.1, and leads the league in defensive rebounds with 10.4. His facilitating for the Pelicans has been awesome, explaining why he leads all centers in assists with 5.4. Boogie and the Brow look like they have developed a lot of chemistry and both are playing at All-Star levels.
G: Russell Westbrook
His stats may be down as expected due to the new additions on his team, the Thunder are definitely going through a very rough time, but Russell Westbrook is still Russell Westbrook. The reigning MVP is still averaging 22.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 9.5 assists while shooting 34.8% from 3, his best yet of his career. It is hard to say someone’s stats are down when you are putting up numbers like Russ. His athleticism and ability to get in the paint has not changed and the Brodie is still someone you have to think twice about when you’re planning your defensive strategy. Things out West will be scary once OKC start to click
G: Damian Lillard
I think it’s safe to say Lillard being snubbed the last two seasons from the All-Star game has added extra drive to his game. He is sixth in the league in scoring, averaging 25.7 point per game, while helping the Blazers to a some what surprising 13-9 record and is tied for the 4th spot out west.
F: Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Buckets has been a great addition to this Wolves team, as they are on pace to make the Playoffs for the first time since the 03-04 season. Although his scoring is way down from last season, he hasn’t really needed to score like crazy for the Wolves to have success. When you have Towns, Wiggins, and even Crawford coming off the bench, it’s okay to take a back seat in scoring. Nonetheless his defense has still been spot on, averaging 1.8 steals per game and he has been a great veteran voice for this young Wolves team.
F: Draymond Green
Draymond Money Green is arguably the best defender in the game and he is not slowing down. Being the reining defensive player of the year, he is averaging 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks. Besides his defense, he has been a consistent rebounder and passer, averaging 7.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists, which is pretty challenging for a power forward.
F: Lamarcus Aldridge
Lamarcus Aldridge is finally looking like Lamarcus Aldridge in a Spurs uniform. He is having his best season with the Spurs, averaging 23.1 points and 8.2 rebounds to go along with 1.3 blocks. In the absence of Kawhi Leonard, an arguably top 5 player, Lamarcus has assisted the Spurs in remaining a top team out West with a 14/7 record.
G: Chris Paul
Although Chris Paul was hurt for most of the season, he has been a great addition and perfect fit for the Houston Rockets, playing next to the Beard. With just sevens games played with Chris Paul on the floor, The Rockets are 7-0 and rank number one in both offense and defense. Paul is posting efficient averages of 10.3 assists and only 1.3 turnovers. As long as he stays healthy, CP3 has definitely made his case for an All-Star already.
C: Karl-Anthony Towns
Everybody has been waiting for the season where Towns earns his first All-Star nod, and I strongly believe he has earned it this season. He is averaging 20.4 points to go a long with 11.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. Although his numbers are solid, they are actually down from last year. However, the Wolves have become a winning team for the first time in what feels like ages and you have to give a lot of credit to this young star. While his defense still needs strong improvement, he has solidified himself as one of the best scoring bigs in our league and now, has proven he is capable of winning. Between three established scorers, (Towns, Wiggins, and Butler) KAT is leading the team in scoring, while being the youngest of the three.
Honorable mentions: Klay Thompson, Marc Gasol, Blake Griffin