NBA All-Star Game 2012: Predicting the Starters for Both Conferences
I was really troubled when the NBA locked its players out indefinitely. The love for an action-packed court battle was the first reason that fear emerged. The second was the thought that the 61st NBA All-Star game wouldn't happen if the league and its players continued to fight from different battlefields.
Well, accompanied by a precious opening ceremony held in Orlando, the NBA opened the All-Star balloting which means the annual NBA All-Star game will happen. The fear of not seeing these athletes perform to bring joy to fans faded away instantly and the hype emerged.
Come February 26th, the East and the West squads will collide in one special night in Orlando that will feature stars from both conferences. Who would spark as starters? Here are my predictions:
West PG: Chris Paul
Chris Paul was shipped to a new team before the start of the season but returns to the All-Star game for the same All-Star team. It is undeniable that Paul was a vital ingredient for a postseason recipe being prepared by the Los Angeles Clippers. He is averaging a near double-double at 16.4 points, 9.8 assists and 2.6 steals per ball game.
During his stint with the New Orleans Hornets, the 26-year-old product of Wake Forest University had developed the leadership skills and killer instincts that are needed to run a team. In his fifth appearance in the All-Star game, Paul would start in the one position. Backing him up probably would be OKC's Russell Westbrook.
West SG: Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is 33 years old but there is this magic of his that makes him look like an elite player in his early 20s. It seems that father time has a lot of chasing to do before catching up with last year's All-Star game MVP.
Leading a new-look Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant averages 26 points and six boards per game. He's also averaging six assists each game for the first time in his career. Completing an LA backcourt for the West, Bryant would shoot for a milestone in his 14th All -tar Game appearance as he would try to pick his fifth All-Star game MVP plum, which I think would be very close with the way he has been playing now.
West SF: Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant rewrote All Star history in 2009 when he punched in a record 46 points for the sophomore squad en rout to a victory over the rookies.
This year, the scoring champion for the past two seasons would appear in his third All-Star game as the primary weapon at 3 for the West team, and why not? Durant averages 26.1 points and six rebounds and three assists per ball game. His deep shooting and clutch factor makes him one of the most dangerous machines the NBA has to offer.
West PF: Blake Griffin
I don't want to take anything away from Tim Duncan nor Dirk Nowitzki, but I handed the power forward start role to the BlakeShow. Let's admit it, Griffin has been the most electrifying star in the NBA today. His eye-popping barrage of dunks is what people wanted to see. It is what they pay for and come All-Star weekend, it is what they are going to see.
The reigning Rookie of the Year averages 25.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, and a block every single night and the excitement he provides is immeasurable. Starting Griffin at the 4 spot would complete an LA triangle for the West troop. But Los Angeles isn't done yet.
West C: Andrew Bynum
If Andrew Bynum stays healthy until the All-Star week, and if he continues to pour in the 22.7 points and 17 rebounds he has been earning each night, he would complete the LA rectangle for the West, and beat Kevin Love at the 5 spot.
Bynum is a force inside and a legitimate contender for the league's best center. For the past few years, the West featured no legitimate center in the All Star game. Yao Ming sits out because of injury and good old Shaq does the job and Amare Stoudemire is fond of playing the 4 position.
This year, Bynum brings youth and dominance at center for the West, who seeks a back to back win over the East.
East PG: Derrick Rose
The reigning league MVP starts at point guard for the East. He averages 21 points per game alongside nine assists and three rebounds. Rose has been one of the most electrifying players in the NBA today with his flashy slashes and fancy posters during games.
Much like Blake Griffin, I see Rose win this spot because people want to see his athleticism in the All Star game. His court-general role isn't inferior either. He is good in creating plays and situations for his team.
I see Rajon Rondo, another athletic and defensive-minded point guard, share the 1 spot with Rose.
East SG: Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade won his first All-Star game MVP in 2010 and will not be afraid to pack for more. Though his numbers are down a bit this season, I see Wade starting at two-guard for the East. He nails in 18.8 points and 6.5 assists per night.
Wade adds extreme energy for the squad who will feature one of the most athletic All-Star teams in history. His versatility helps him get recognized through out his career and it is necessary to mention how he works on defense. Wade, at 6'4", is one of the most defensive guards the NBA has seen. Orlando would very much love see Wade do his stuff in the 61st All-Star game.
East SF: LeBron James
Here comes South Beach boy! In a grudge match against Carmelo Anthony for the start at the 3, I see Lebron winning it all. Saying that he's a dominant force is an extreme understatement. Right now, I see LeBron James as a calamity for other teams.
He is 27 and is at the top of his game. Early in his second season with Miami, the King averages 29.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game, a clear reflection on how he dominates. In addition, James would be chasing for his second All-Star game MVP and with the way he is doing it every night, his chances are as huge as his forehead right now.
East PF: Amare Stoudemire
I see Amare Stoudemire take this one because of his power and youth, and he is not a small forward. The East are abundant with talented small forwards but with the power forward position, everything changes. Amare Stoudemire averages 19.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest which makes him a serious candidate for the 4. His defense is also a factor nonetheless.
East C: Dwight Howard
Who else but Superman? Whether he'll be playing for Orlando or New Jersey, I KNOW Dwight Howard would be East's starting center. He is putting up 19 points per ball game and dominates the boards with 16 rebounds per night.
The reigning three-time defensive player of the year walks into his sixth All-Star game with a purpose, and that is to entertain the whole Orlando audience that would be showing up that night.
In addition, if the East All-Stars win it all this year, I see Dwight Howard win MVP honors. No conspiracy on that.