Eastern Conference All-Star Roster Review

Having already written a teaser with some of the storylines that make this All-Star just so intriguing (if you haven’t read it, you should, its quite good) its time now to really get down to the actual game. So here’s a breakdown of the Eastern Conference All-Star roster with some arguments for or against each player being on the roster, including one player in particular. Leave me some feedback and tell me what you think or if you disagree!

 

Eastern Conference Starters:

 

Point Guard- Derrick Rose

No arguments here. The only thing that’s been able to stop Rose this season has been Rose’s back which caused him to miss 5 games. But when he’s played, the reigning MVP has played like it, using his all-world speed to average 22 points, 7.7 assists, 3.5 rebounds a game, all while guiding the Bulls to the second best record in the conference at 27-8. Last year in the Eastern Conference Finals, Rose and his Bulls ran into the buzz-saw of the Miami Heat using a triangle defense to surround Rose and force him to take jumpers and ultimately lose the series to Miami 4-1. Rose has seemed to take that lost to heart, raising his game to new heights including using his court vision and anticipation to involve his teammates even more and solidifying his status as one of the elite point guards in the NBA and starter for the Eastern Conference.

 

Shooting Guard- Dwyane Wade

Can’t argue with this selection either. Despite missing 9 games this year with a number of ailments, from a sprained right ankle to bruised left foot, the 7-time All-Star and former NBA Finals MVP continues to produce for the Miami’s dubbed big three averaging 22.4 points, 4.8 assists, and 4.3 assists a game, all while playing lockdown defense on the wing. Along with LeBron and Bosh, Wade has leaded the Heat to a league best 26-7 record heading into Thursday’s game with the Knicks. From his high-flying dunks to his acrobatic blocks to his shutdown defense, Wade has once again proven himself to be the premier shooting guard in the league opposite of Kobe Bryant and among the top 5 players in the league making him the Eastern Conference shooting guard starter.

 

Small Forward- LeBron James

Hate him or love him, you simply can’t argue with his production. At least his regular season production. This year, LeBron has, dare I say it, been Jordan-esque doing the impossible and passing his two MVP season’s and putting up numbers rivaling that of “His Airness.” Averaging 27.6 points, 6.8 assists, and 8.1 rebounds a game LeBron is a threat to go off for a triple-double at any time. But he’s been putting up numbers like this for a few years now so what exactly is LeBron doing that separates this year from all the others? He’s become even more efficient. Taking less 3’s and using the long off-season to build a post game, LeBron is playing even better off the ball and with his back to the basket adding a post game that borders that of any player in the league. His off-season coaching with Hakeem Olajuwan has made James’s non-existent post game turn into that of a hall-of-famer. From his fadeaways to his new sky-hook to his finger roll and teardrop drive, LeBron has truly become one of the most complete players on the offensive end in league history. Combine that with his All-NBA defense and you have a player that at the age of 27, is already a Hall-of-Famer. He’s the MVP of the League this year, hands down. Best player on the best team playing the best ball he’s ever played. Add a ring to his hands and you have a player that is as good as Air Jordan himself and worthy of a starter’s spot on this All-Star team.

 

Power Forward- Carmelo Anthony

Finally, a little controversy! Now, 5-time All-Star is certainly a fine choice as a starter, being the starter for the Western Conference just last season. However, that doesn’t necessarily make Anthony the best choice. I believe Chris Bosh is having the type of year for the Heat that he should’ve gotten the nod as the starter for the Eastern All-Stars this year. But we’ll get to more about that when we get to the reserves. Since coming into the League along with LeBron, Wade, and Bosh in that incredible 2003 NBA Draft, Carmelo has excelled at one area in particular, an area that single-handedly made him a superstar: scoring. From his dribble drive to his isolation breakdowns to his penchant for getting fouled, Anthony is simply put one of the scoring phenoms of the game. Add that with an elite ability to rebound anything within reach its no wonder New York mortgage basically half its team for the rights to lock up Anthony to a max-contract. His numbers are down at 21.8 points, 4.3 assists, and 5.8 rebounds but with the emergence of Jeremy Lin, I believe Anthony will return to his old self and lead the Knicks to a deep playoff run for the first time in over a decade. And that, in and of itself, makes him worthy of an All-Star selection, if only as a reserve.

 

Center- Dwight Howard

Even if the game weren’t in Orlando, Howard would still be the choice. He has become the most dominant Center in the game and its not even close. There’s Howard and then there’s everyone else. He is a man among boys at the center position. He’s carrying an under .500 team, putting them on his back, and competing for a top 4 seed in the Conference. With his 20.3 points, 15.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks a game the 6-time All-Star and 3-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year is a force. His vast array of moves on the block, with the addition of a 15-foot bank shot and mini-hook has made him the best post up player in the game. His value is unquantifiable, as most teams have to send 2 defenders in order to defend the big man down low, opening up the outside for his team of 3-point specialists. In addition, he is a black hole when it comes to rebounds, again leading the league in rebounds and often out-muscling 2 or even 3 players on the offensive end to create second shot opportunities for his team. But what makes him a top-2 player in the association opposite LeBron is his defensive prowess. He is the best defensive player since Bill Russell or Mr. Eleven Championships. He is the best rim defender in the association, using some of the best anticipation trapping skills ever seen to create turnovers. Any shot within 5 feet of the basket he either straight up blocks or alters. Simply put, this once in a generation player has played center at a level not seen in decades and is very much worthy of this All-Star Starting Nod.

 

Now its time for the reserves, and we’ll start with the man who I believe should be the starter at Power Forward in…

 

Forward- Chris Bosh

I can hear the Heat haters yelling at me right now. “How can you justify three Heat players in the starting lineup?” “How can you say Bosh is the best power forward in the Eastern Conference when he’s the third best player on his team?” Let me explain. Now it is true, Bosh is far and away the third best player on the Heat. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that he deserves to be the starter for the Conference. Averaging 18.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and a block a game. This year, Bosh raised his game, averaging 32 points a game in the 9 games Wade missed this year leading the Heat to a 7-2 record without Flash at shooting guard. But not only does he put up the numbers but does all the little things right, becoming one of the premier pick and roll big men in the association, while rebounding at a high rate and still knocking down the open jumpers provided by LeBron and Wade’s dribble penetration. He is a premier player who as the third player of the big three, plays with a chip on his shoulder. This year should’ve have been the year that Bosh was recognized as a great player in his own right.

 

Forward- Luol Deng

If Rose is the motor that makes the Bulls go, Deng is the car body that protects him. Deng does a little bit of everything averaging: 16 points, 3.3 assists, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block a game. He’s the glue of the Bulls, the man charged with guarding the opponent’s best player and doing an admirable job of it. He has a penchant for chipping off screens and with his long arms and freakish athleticism, can bother and hurt even the most elite of players. Honestly, I feel Josh Smith would’ve been a better selection for this slot as he’s having a career year and is the best player on a good Hawks team. But all that being said, seeing Deng rewarded with his first All-Star selection makes him a worthy if overrated All-Star reserve selection.

 

Forward- Paul Pierce

At the beginning of the year, I’ll admit, I thought Paul Pierce was done. He looked old, lethargic, gassed, and quite frankly, just old. Put leave it to the “The Truth” to prove me on. Over the past month, Pierce has gotten hot, red hot bringing up his averages to 17.4 points, 5.3 assists, and 5 rebounds a game and still that ability to close out any team at the end of any game. The now 10-time All-Star still has it and is certainly a good choice to fill the final forward spot on this team.

 

Guard- Deron Williams

Yes, a guy on a 10-25 team can make the All-Star game. People forget Williams’s greatness, taking mediocre Jazz teams deep into the playoffs. Now Williams may not be having his best year this year but he is still a top-3 point guard and elite player in his own right. In fact, he’s the number one point guard in fantasy basketball right now! But between his 22.2 points, 8.2 assists, and 3.4 rebounds a game for a team that without him might not win more than a handful of games, Williams is still a truly remarkable and transcendent talent and rightfully deserves to be a reserve on this All-Star team.

 

Guard- Rajon Rondo

Rondo, a late addition to the roster with the injury to Joe Johnson, is very much worthy of this All-Star calling. With a declining core in the original big three of Garnett, Pierce, and Allen, it’s been Rondo who’s been picking up the slack. Averaging 14.8 points, 9.5 assists, and 5 rebounds a game; Rondo has been the one picking up the slack, keeping the Celtics afloat with injuries taking their toll on the Celtics. He’s become the best player on a team with 3 Hall-of-Famer’s and this season’s work has been one of his finest. Even if he wasn’t originally on the team, it’s better late than never for this All-Star.

 

Guard- Andre Iguodala

Surprise, surprise. Or at least it might have been for those of you who haven’t been paying attention to the 76ers this year. The surprise team in the conference this year the 20-14 76ers are playing a team-oriented offense with a suffocating defense lead by Iguodala. The former gold-medalist and now first time All-Star is 12.4 points, 5.3 assists, and 6.5 rebounds doing a little bit of everything from his slasher mentality to get to the hoop to his hunger for offensive boards to be a solid offensive player. But offense is not what makes Iguodala an All-Star; it's his defense that makes waves. Other than Tony Allen, Iguodala is the premier perimeter defender in the NBA. People forget that in crunch time in the Olympics, it was Iguodala on the court with LeBron, Kobe, Wade and Howard because of his ability to control any and every perimeter player thrown at him. In a absolute brawl of a series in the first round against the Heat, Iguodala kept LeBron absolutely stuffed throughout the entire series, chasing him around screens bothering him on post ups and putting a hand in his face on every jump shot. For the best player on a surprise team, Iguodala is absolutely worthy of becoming an All-Star for the first time this year.

 

Now we FINALLY have the one spot that I absolutely completely disagree with involving:

 

Center- Roy Hibbert

It isn't that Hibbert isn’t a good player; he’s averaging 14 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 1.8 rebounds; or that he’s on a bad team, as he’s on a solid Indiana Pacers team in the middle of the hunt for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. But despite all that, he DOES NOT belong on this All-Star team. Josh Smith the power forward for the Atlanta Hawks is far and away having a better season having to make up for the lost of Al Horford and the injury to Joe Johnson averaging 16 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks a game all the while becoming an absolute force in the post, becoming able to get to the rim at will, and playing with a defensive intensity that rivals anyone in the association. You could easily squeeze Smith in and drop down Bosh to the backup center or just put Smith at the backup center since conferences are allowed to change the player’s positions in order to accommodate some players. Picking Hibbert over Smith is an absolute TRAVESTY; Josh Smith got robbed of his first All-Star appearance again! Its ridiculous, congratulations Roy Hibbert enjoy it but Josh Smith got shafted.

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