When the NBA All-Star debut was announced on Thursday evening, there were some surprises. Most of the ten starts were not particularly controversial and, while there was a tie between Luca Doncic and Damian Lillard, there is no doubt that Lillard would be included when selecting the coach’s reserves. To that end, it is always fun to argue which seven players will start, and at this venue we aim to form 12-player teams by anointing the best seven delegates from each conference.
There are some shoo-ins among the bunch, but others are a bit tricky to pick. At any rate, here is the way to begin with the Eastern Conference.
- Khris Middleton – Middleton has 51/44/90 shooting splits. He completely out of his mind, yet. Put some respect in his name.
- Jason Tatum – The Celtic hanging around .50o is not the norm, but as you’ll see in a moment again, Tatum and Jaylen Brown have mastered. The problem is … almost everything.
- Bomb Adebayo – Miami has not been very good this season, but Adebayo is not the cause. In fact, he is averaging 20/9/5 shooting 57 percent and playing a superb defense role. Overall, he is also the best player for the Heat as Jimmy Butler extended the time.
- James Harden – Yes, there was some setback for the way things ended up in Harden Houston. He is also very good for leaving the bus (way) off. If you didn’t agree already, he should win the return of Brooklyn (without Durant and Irving) in a Phoenix bout earlier this week.
- Jaylen Brown – Brown’s breakout season continues with about 26 points per game and 41 percent from three-point range. He has improved almost the entire board and is a doubtless selection.
- Zach LaVine – Jokes about LaVine’s rescue apply to a large extent. No jokes about his efficiency. The scoring guard is putting up 28.5 points per game and shooting 52/44/85. He There is an excellent All-Star affair and the Bulls are roaming the play-ins to help their cause.
- Try Young – As usual, Young’s counting figures are terrible and he is one of the best offensive guards in the league. In the national consciousness, his foul-drawing is causing some push-ups, in large part, and Atlanta’s recent flutters didn’t help. Nevertheless, the Hawks have a +3.5 net rating to play and -8.3 net rating when he sits. He excels, even while shooting a bit below where his actual baseline is.
- Julius Randall – My pal and DIME’s own bill was very important to Defilipo Randall. He I had my last cut and is very worthy of inclusion.
- Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner – The Pacers are a solid playoff team, and it is strange to leave them altogether. Unfortunately, I could not make a case for anyone, as all three have been very good (and valuable) in different ways.
- Nikola Vosevic – This season in Vucevic Orlando is awesome, and it’s really a shame that Magic is so bad. That’s why he hasn’t left, but it probably plays a part.
- Gordon Hayward – Charlotte’s investment in Hayward raised a lot of eyebrows, but the year is going well. He Averaged over 22 points per game, shooting 42 percent of three and looking a lot like the All-Star caliber player he was in Utah.
- Jimmy Butler – This is just a math problem. Butler missed 12 of the first 28 matches for Miami. He is still very, very good and one should not be surprised if coaches vote for him.
- Paul George – Maybe some Questions about George playing only 20 games so far, but this is enough. He Shooting 48 (!) Percent out of three and the Clippers are awesome. He is getting in and he should.
- Rudy Gobert – Utah is a juggler and Gobert may still be the No. 1 defensive force in the league. He also has a crime. This is an easy one.
- Anthony Davis – Davis probably won’t play (and we’ll replace them later), so this is the performance. He is still done enough to earn an All-Star bid with low count figures, and it would be wise to remember that he is an uber-elite defender at the helm of everything.
- Damian Lillard – Probably the easiest selection across the board. He is incredibly good.
- Donovan Mitchell – Mitchell led the team with the best record in scoring in the NBA. This is usually what you get in the All-Star arena but, even if he doesn’t sell you, he’s shooting 39 percent of the three for the season … even after a slow start.
- Devin Booker – Booker is scoring and assisting slightly less than last year. Comes with the field when you add Chris Paul and the talent around you improves. He is still the best player on a (very) good team, and Booker has proven himself at this point.
- Zion Williamson – This is probably the most controversial selection. I got it. Zion is not very good on defense. He averaged 25 points per game with 67 percent true shooting and Williamson is getting better by the day. It is also the All-Star Game and as a tie-breaker, go with the fun player.
- Mike Conley (injury replacement) – Call me a hopeless romantic, but it would be fun to see Conley earn his first All-Star bid as a replacement for Eddie. The slide to the Zion frontcourt and a wild card spot opens. It is not that Conley has not played well on the court. In fact, he leads the entire game in net ratings. Three All-Stars in Jazz can give their incredible runs, and I’m in.
- D’Orone Fox – Sacramento has been very competitive and Fox is their best player by a wide margin. He There are statistics to make a case, and it will come soon for that.
- DeMar DeRozan – Honestly, it sounded great to me a few months ago. Now, DeRozan is great for a Spurs team that is in the midst of a playoff race. He was very skilled as a scorer to go along with seven assistants per game, and his big shot prow helps that team.
- Chris Paul – I almost put the team on Paul, not even giving any statistical reasoning for it. He turned awesome again.
- Brandon Ingram – Ingram vs. Williamson might be an interesting argument, but I keep leaning on Zion’s efficiency. Ingram is still enjoying a strong first half.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – SGA must have an incredibly flashy number Real Chance. Nevertheless, the Thunder are scary and are playing excellent basketball and deserve a mention.