So the finalised All-Star starters were announced last night, after votes from players, fans and the media were totalled. First of all, I’d like to state my absolute delight that Zaza Pachulia won’t be a starter in the All-Star game. I know he’s a Warrior and all that good stuff, but he’s terribly trash, I mean, how can you be a 7 foot starter and still not average double digit rebounds, let alone points. I personally feel that averaging 5 and 5 as a starting NBA player isn’t enough to make you a starting player in the regular season, let alone at All-Star weekend. Now, back to the starting teams;
There was never really any doubt that KD was going to make the All-Star team considering his ability to put up 26 PPG on a team like the Warriors. He’s also averaging just under 9 RPG, which is more than Golden State’s centre Zaza Pachulia.. Aside from the fact that he’s able to put up numbers on any given night, KD is a genuinely an entertaining player to watch. 6’9, with the ability to run the floor on a fastbreak and throw it done at the other end, as well as the ability to control the pace of the game when he brings the ball up. A good decision in my books.
I’m not entirely sure about this one. Don’t get me wrong, Kawhi is having a great season, being one of the elite defenders and putting up 25 PPG are fantastic achievements to boast in the modern NBA. But I feel that he’s being pulled out of the plays too much due to his excessive effort on defence, and isn’t getting to show his talent which would get him on my All-Star list in any other season. But Kawhi is a machine, to be fair to the 2x Defensive POTY, and he’s a fun player to watch when he gets going. I personally feel that DeMarcus Cousins deserved the starting role more, but I’ll talk more about that later. Credit given to Kawhi for making the starting line-up though.
One of the best decisions in the starting line-up, in my own opinion. Davis is having an amazing season, and while the Pelicans are no doubt struggling in the regular season, none of the blame can be placed on Anthony Davis. Boasting an impressive 29 PPG combined with 12 RPG is a great feat on a weak squad, and I feel that Davis needs to leave the Pelicans for a team that could actually win a title, he’s definitely deserving of one. But the most important factor of being selected for the All-Star team, Davis is a moving highlight reel, which is why I’m so glad he’s been selected. Excellent choice for me.
Everybody and their dog are stating their opinions on this choice, and it’s probably the most controversial decision in the starting line-up. So Steph is Steph, one of the most exciting players to watch in the NBA with his crazy shooting and slashing ability, as well as a more than impressive repertoire of dribbling moves. His 25 PPG is understandable considering the addition of KD to the Warriors, so no arguments there. But it’s not Steph’s ability, or lack thereof, that’s causing controversy throughout the NBA fan base. No, it’s Russel Westbrook. Everyone, including myself, feel that Westbrook is having the best season this year, second possibly to James Harden. But I’ll talk more about Westbrook later. This is a bad decision in my opinion, but Curry is a Warrior, so he’s always going to get more votes than most players in the league.
There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that The Beard was going to crack to starting line-up, especially myself, being a Rockets fan and all. Only being 1.7 RPG off averaging a triple double this season, Harden is boasting an impressive 29 PPG and 12 APG. What makes his season even better is that he’s carrying the Houston Rockets on his back in his first season at Point Guard, which is clearly one of the best decisions the Rockets have ever made. He and Westbrook are the leading vote getters for MVP this year, but I feel he deserved the starting spot more than Westbrook because he doesn’t force his stats in-game, he just lets the play come to him. Can dance around players, shoot the ball from way down town, and throw it down with the best of them, making him an exciting player to watch. Excellent decision for me.
The All-Star game wouldn’t be the All-Star game without King James, would it? In 13 years he’s made the All-Star team 13 times, 12 of those times as a starting player. The 6’8 monster has dominated the NBA since he came into the league straight out of high school, and this season has been no different. While he’s not putting up an MVP performance, he’s still averaging 25 PPG and 8 APG, making an impact in both scoring and passing. He’s in his 30’s now, but LeBron is still one of the most exciting players in the league to watch, with his ability to throw the ball down off a drive, or a lob, unmatched by any player in the league with the exception of KD, Westbrook and Zach LaVine. No arguments here from me with this choice.
I swear I spelled his name by heart. Giannis is having a monstrous year in every way, quickly becoming a star in the league that the Bucks can build around. The 6’11 Point Forward has exceptional abilitys for a player his size, including ball handling. Giannis has quickly risen to fame in All-Star voting, despite how difficult it is to spell his awkward-ass surname. He’s now fifth in the KIA MVP race after putting up a series of fantastic games, which, at only 22 years of age, is almost unheard of in the NBA as of recent history. High basketball IQ for such a young player, making him a smart yet entertaining player to watch, especially when he gets a head of steam while charging towards the basket. Very happy that he cracked the starting line-up.
Jimmy Buckets has become one of the most clutch players in the league this season, hitting several game winners and putting up big numbers in the fourth quarter of close games. Improved tremoundesly as a shooter after the Bulls’ acquistition of veterans D-Wade and Rajon Rondo, despite Rondo taking a step away from the starting line-up. Butler has become the player that the Bulls are going to build their franchise around, and, if he sticks around and continues to play like he has been, he could be the MVP in a few years. While his passing ability leaves much to be desired, averaging only 5 APG, his scoring and slashing ability makes him a fantastic player on the court. Definitely a good choice as a starter.
Another starter I’m slightly on the fence about. Don’t get me wrong, DeRozan’s having a great season and is a very good player, leading the Raptors to the second seed alongside PG Kyle Lowry. The 6’7 Shooting Guard is averaging 28 PPG, putting him in fith place on the leading scoring list, and making him one of the most dynamic scorers in the league, and we all know that pump fake is deadly. While the Raptors took a serious L last night against the Hornets, DeRozan played well on a weak Raptors team, one of the only poor performances we’ve seen from the second seed squad this season. But I feel DeRozan’s choice has left Celtics carrier Isaiah Thomas off the squad, who I believe is much more deserving of the starting position due to his recent play.
While some feel that Isaiah Thomas is more deserving of the starting PG spot in the East line-up, I personally believe that Kyrie is having a better season. While he isn’t putting up the scoring numbers that IT is, that’s understandable considering that he’s playing with LeBron James and Kevin Love. But there’s no denying that Kyrie is the most cold-blooded player in the league right now, shooting daggers against almost every team in the NBA. His ball handling and finishing ability is second to none, and his passing ability is improving as he continues to play alongside LBJ and feed him the ball more. Averaging almost 24 PPG and 6 PPG, Kyrie is an obvious choice for the East PG role, closely followed by IT
There are a few players in the league that I feel were snubbed by the NBA voting system, players that, while they wouldn’t be most people’s first choice in most seasons, are certainly leading the league in their ability to carry their respective teams to a playoff seed. Honourable mentions in this category are Joel Embiid, Kyle Lowry and Eric Gordon, but these aren’t the players I want to talk about.
I shouldn’t even have to say why I think Westbrook was snubbed by the league. Westbeast is averaging a triple double, what other stats do you need to realise why he should be starting for the West. He’s got 22 triple doubles this year, and while he may force some assists to reach double digits, there’s no denying that Westbrook is putting on a show this year as he carries a struggling OKC Thunder squad to the 6th seed in the Western Conference. His dunking ability and sheer speed and athleticism is unmatched at the Point Guard position, making him the toughest match-up in the league for other guards. Westbrook’s already won the All-Star MVP award perviously, and averaging a triple double should give him a guaranteed spot on the starting line-up, but he was snubbed by Warriors sharpshooter Stephen Curry. This is just a ridiculous position to be in for Westbrook.
Boogie was benched for Defensive Superstar Kawhi Leonard as a Western All-Star starter. But there’s one major problem with a Defensive Superstar being a starter at All-Star weekend; there’s no defence played in the All-Star game, so defence shouldn’t really play a role in why a player was voted for. Kawhi is a fantastic player, but Boogie has that fire in him that makes him such an exciting player to watch. The Kings are struggling to get into the playoff picture this season, holding a 16-26 record which secures them the 11th seed, Cousins is certainly not to blame for their failure, Averaging nearly 28 PPG and 10 RPG, Cousins is the most dominant centre in the West, second only maybe to Anthony Davis. If it was my choice, I’d bench Kawhi and throw Boogie into the starting line-up in the centre role, moving AD to the Power-Forward role.
IT is carrying the Celtics to the third seed in the East, while also hitting some clutch shots in the progress, many of those being game winners. IT is averaging nearly 29 PPG, but is often overlooked due to his size. His dribble pull-up is unmatched in the league, and his offensive ability is becoming one of the most deadly in the NBA. I feel that IT was snubbed from the starting role at SG by DeMar DeRozan, who is also having a great season but isn’t on the same level as Isaiah at the moment. I’d certainly like to see IT in the All-Star game, and since he isn’t a starter I hope to see him get some decent minutes in come Feburary 17th.
Well that’s my thoughts on the All-Star starters for 2017. Let me know what you think of the starting teams for both the East and West All-Stars.