Jeremy Lin will be voted a starter on next year's Eastern Conference All-Star team, but that isn't much of a prediction. Dwyane Wade and his ridiculous and cowardly cheap-shot ways may never start in an All-Star game again as Lin and Derrick Rose look to have the Eastern Conference's two starting guard spots locked up for the foreseeable future.
Truly predicting any future event in the NBA outside of Kobe Bryant and the Lakers making the playoffs, LeBron James finishing in the top 3 in MVP voting and the Toronto Raptors landing in the draft lottery can be extremely difficult.
Predicting one, let alone three first-time all-stars for next year's 2013 NBA All-Star game is a difficult task indeed, but one that I will tackle.
Here are the three players I believe have a great shot at making their respective conference's 2013 NBA All-Star teams.
Javale McGee, or "Ja-vaaiill Mac-Geeeeeee" as TNT's Shaquille O'Neal would say, will make his first NBA All-Star team in 2013.
The Washington Wizards are a train wreck of a team.There is no doubt about that. However, lost in their disastrous season is the coming-out party of the ultra-talented McGee.
He is not just averaging nearly 12 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks per game while shooting over 53 percent from the field, he is doing so in just 28 minutes a game while shooting a career low in free throw percentage. If McGee were getting the nearly 40 minutes per game that a player like Kevin Love gets, he would be averaging 16.7 points, 12.6 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game! Those are much better numbers than what Roy Hibbert, this year's first-time Eastern Conference All-Star center, is putting up.
Next year, if McGee can get star minutes and can return to the mid-60 percent free throw range he shot his first two years in the league, he could legitimately average more than 20 points per game to go with amazing rebound and block numbers.
The 24-year-old product of Flint, Mich., is a physical freak of nature, one of the most electrifying dunkers and perhaps the best pure shot- blocker in the league. McGee should have won the 2011 All-Star Slam Dunk contest over Blake Griffin. I wouldn't be surprised if he turns next year's All-Star weekend festivities into his own personal dunk party by winning the dunk contest and shocking the senses of All-Star game viewers with an array of insane dunks.
In 2013, Javale McGee, not Hibbert, will be named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
DeMarcus Cousins is the second-best center in the NBA. You read that correctly, I said Cousins is the second-best center in the NBA right now.
Cousins may play on a bad team and may indeed live up to his nickname of "Bad Attitude" more than the Sacramento Kings organization would like. However, his skill set and talent level are beyond reproach. He already plays like a man among boys, even though he is truly a boy among men in the league.
Cousins is averaging 16.6 points and 11.5 rebounds in just 29.5 minutes per game. If one compares the per 40-minute averages of Cousins to those of elite centers Andrew Bynum and Andrew Bogut, you'll see that Bynum averages 18.8 points and 14.8 rebounds, Bogut 14.9 points and 11.0 rebounds, while Cousins averages an amazing 22.5 points and 15.6 rebounds while playing solid if uninspired defense (3.3 combined steals and blocks per game). Cousins is even a gifted passer, having averaged 3.5 assists per 40 minutes as a rookie.
I predict that next season "Bad Attitude" brings the pain against the league, causing coaches to game-plan against him like never before. Yet he will still manage to average at least 20 points and 14 rebounds per game and makes his first All-Star team...quite possibly as a starter for the Western Conference, but only if Dwight Howard stays in the Eastern Conference.
Predicting that a college freshman will make the NBA All-Star team next season is as close to lunacy as it gets in the sports seer field. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and other bona-fide superstars did not make their respective Conference's All-Star teams as rookies.
In fact, in the past 17 NBA seasons, only one rookie has been voted onto the All-Star team by the coaches (Tim Duncan in 1998) and only two true rookies (Blake Griffin was not a "rookie" last season) have made the All-Star game, those being Duncan and Yao Ming in 2003.
Anthony Davis has a chance to make history. The Kentucky Wildcat freshman's per-40 minute averages boggle the mind and currently stand at 18.2 points, 12.5 rebounds, 6.1 blocks and 1.9 steals while shooting an astounding, nearly 66% from the field and a very respectable, nearly 72% from the free-throw line. Those are stats that even Dwight Howard and Kevin Love would be jealous of.
Depending on which team drafts Davis next year, he could end up in a fantastic situation, from playing alongside Dwight Howard in New Jersey to starring for Michael Jordan's Charlotte Bobcats, to instantly becoming the face of the franchise in New Orleans with the Hornets.
No matter where he ends up, Davis should, at worst, be an instant game-changer on the defensive end and, at best, a transcendent superstar who makes his team much better than they otherwise would be, a la Duncan with the San Antonio Spurs in 1997-98.