Roughly a third of the way through this 2012-2013 NBA Season, the All-Star teams are beginning to take shape. There may be some significant changes leading up to the official selections in February, but this is the team I’d take if I had to pick today.
EASTERN STARTING GUARDS (Accompanied with pictures of them doing their thing, cause they know they’re the automatics.)
Rajon Rondo, Boston
Though age may FINALLY be getting the best of the Boston Celtics, perhaps enough to realistically keep them out of contention for the title for the first time in the KG era, Rondo remains a marvel to watch, commanding the floor and game tempo as well as any guard in basketball. He’s once again averaging 11.5 assists in a game, and while that’s not quite Stockton/Magic levels, he’s equaling what Steve Nash did in his prime with a far less dynamic offense. Just imagine if THIS Rondo had played with the Celtics of three years ago.
Dwyane Wade, Miami
There’s a line of pharmacies on the east coast named Duane Reade, and every time my girlfriend called me from Brooklyn to tell me she was going there, I thought she was telling me she was going to Dwyane Wade. To do what, I thought but not seriously, to sleep with him? No, she’d say, to buy garbage bags or some shit, and I’d be relieved… but then I’d think, wait, would there have been a way for me to make money out of that? Then I realized what I was thinking things that pimps think of, so I started this blog.
EASTERN STARTING FORWARDS
Carmelo Anthony, New York
I’ve never been a huge Carmelo supporter- he’s always fallen into that Iverson-esque category of gaudy, eye-popping numbers that don’t necessarily equate into consistently high winning percentages. But there’s no denying the way Melo has taken his team on his shoulders this season, and has been largely successful. Time will tell if the Knicks can sustain the run- there’s a ton of questions coming up about old-roster fatigue, Raymond Felton’s health, Amare Stoudemire’s efficiency- but if they can, Carmello will deservedly be in the MVP discussion.
LeBron James, Miami
Yeah, no championship fatigue here. Barring some sort of injury, LeBron is well on his way to a fourth MVP, having himself another all-time great season.
EASTERN STARTING CENTER
Chris Bosh, Miami
Bosh quietly got off to the best start of his career this season, averaging 20 points a game while Wade rehabbed himself and Miami adjusted to the tweaks in their roster. Those numbers are down a bit, but if The Detroit 4 and the Boston Three Party could all start together in the all-star game, Bosh is just deserving of getting Miami that same level of respect.
EASTERN RESERVE GUARDS (Accompanied with pictures of how they reacted to just making the cut).
Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia
Jrue has been the most consistent part of an inconsistent Philly team, embracing his new role as captain in lieu of Andre Iguodala’s exit to Denver and currently sitting at 14th in the league in scoring (18.9) and third in assists (8.9, behind only Rondo and Chris Paul). A strong favorite for most improved player, alongside DeAndre Jordan, he’s also proved he can be a clutch closer in the final minutes of tight games.
Paul Pierce, Boston
The consistency of Pierce at this point is nearly as staggering as Kobe Bryant’s. While KG inevitably slows down, there seems to be little drop-off in Pierce’s game, still averaging 20 a night at 35 years of age. If his shooting numbers can improve just a tick, he could well be on his way to his strongest season since the Celtics’ title run in ’08.
EASTERN RESERVE FORWARDS
Joakim Noah, Chicago
Noah continues to serve as the throbbing heart to Chicago as they anxiously await Derek Rose’s return. He’s a beast defensively, and his rebound and block numbers don’t even properly reflect the amount of shots he alters inside. His passion may seem obnoxious to those outside Chi-town, but you can’t deny his impact. More so than Luol Deng, he deserves credit for keeping Chicago’s playoff hopes alive.
Josh Smith/Al Horford, Atlanta
I’ll go with both Atlanta big men, who have become highly efficient players that compliment each other nightly, creating problems for any opponent inside. Smith in particular has never gotten the credit he’s entitled to, and with them leading a surprise Atlanta team (a game and a half back of Miami for first in the conference), it’s time for both of them to get some proper respect, along with Atlanta GM Danny Ferry.
Paul George, Indiana
I was on the fence with Paul George, but the 6’8″ small forward has continued to improve in each of his three seasons in the league, currently leading the Pacers with 16.5 ppg in the absence of Danny Granger, coupled with a slow-starting Roy Hibbert. Like Joakim Noah, he’s keeping their playoff chances alive. Whether he can keep the Pacers afloat as the all-star game approaches will determine whether he keeps his spot.
Brook Lopez, Brooklyn
Though I should probably balance the roster out with another guard, I consider the east’s starting five versatile enough that I can acknowledge Lopez, who has stealthily shed many doubts about him this season, rather than throw in, say, one of the Buck guards. (The east is also quietly far less guard-driven than the west). His offensive range has dramatically expanded, and he’s shouldered the load for Brooklyn with Deron Williams having an off-year. He remains a bit of a defensive liability (though his rebounding numbers are up), but the Nets are 14-10 when he plays (2-5 when he doesn’t.) They’re a better team when they put the Brook in Brooklyn, and just maybe that five-game losing streak when he was out could have been prevented and saved Avery his job.
12 others I considered: Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Luol Deng, Anderson Varejao, Aaron Afflalo, DeMar DeRozan, Kemba Walker, Kevin Garnett
West coast team to come tomorrow.