Portland Trail Blazers: Which Blazers Deserve an NBA All-Star Selection?

Alex Tam@alexctamCorrespondent IIINovember 14, 2012

Portland Trail Blazers: Which Blazers Deserve an NBA All-Star Selection?

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    The NBA released its ballot on Tuesday for the 62nd annual All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 17 in Houston.

    Three Portland Trail BlazersLaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum—are on the ballot for the game that celebrates the best of today's NBA (via Joe Freeman of The Oregonian).

    Voting has changed this season, as voters can now select two players for the guard position and three players for the frontcourt.

    Aldridge became a first-time All-Star last season—the 15th player to be selected in the Blazers' 42-year history (via Mike Tokito of The Oregonian).

    What are the chances of a Blazer making the All-Star Game? Let's take a look.

Nicolas Batum

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    Season stats: 19.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists


    Why he should be selected

    Nicolas Batum, 23, is having a career year so far for the Blazers. He's averaging a career high in points, rebounds, assists and steals this season.

    Batum had a breakout game against San Antonio last Saturday with 33 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. The biggest question mark was whether he could step up his game when given the responsibility, and he has answered the bell so far.

    Batum is already a five-year veteran and certainly can be considered one of the rising young talents in the league.


    What's his drawback?

    Batum's biggest knock has been his inconsistency. The French native can show flashes of potential that demonstrate why some fans compared him to a young Scottie Pippen.

    Then there are games where Batum totally disappears, and you wonder if he deserved that big contract this past summer.


    Chances of being selected: 10 percent


    How to vote for Batum

    On Twitter, tweet: "Nicolas Batum #NBABALLOT"

    On Facebook at the NBA's official fan page

    On the NBA's official website

Wesley Matthews

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    Season stats: 16.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists


    Why he should be selected

    Wesley Matthews came into this season with a chip on his shoulder, looking to prove himself as a legit NBA starter. The 26-year-old is averaging career highs in points, assists, steals (2.1) and three-point percentage (41.0).

    Matthews wants to become an elite defender, and he's come out to make a name for himself. Matthews' defense played a big role in shutting down James Harden earlier this season in a road victory at Houston.

    “My mom said the best way to get seen is to guard the other team’s best player, because all the college coaches are watching him,’’ Matthews told Jason Quick of The Oregonian. “They had to see, ‘Dang, so-and-so had only five points. Who’s guarding him?'"


    What's his drawback?

    Like Batum, Matthews still has a lot to prove to consider himself one of the top guards in the game. He's a streak shooter, can be inconsistent and his ball-handling has drawn criticism.

    While there's no questioning his effort on a nightly basis, Matthews still isn't in the upper echelon of guards in the West just yet.


    Chances of being selected: 5 percent


    How to vote for Matthews

    On Twitter, tweet: "Wesley Matthews #NBABALLOT"

    On Facebook at the NBA's official fan page

    On the NBA's official website

LaMarcus Aldridge

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    Season stats: 20.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists


    Why he should be selected

    LaMarcus Aldridge is undoubtedly an All-Star in today's NBA. The 27-year-old became a first-time All-Star last season and has transformed into the team's franchise player with the departures of Brandon Roy and Greg Oden.

    What separates franchise players is their ability to make their teammates better. Aldridge is certainly doing that as his assist total is nearly double his previous career high. He is the focal point of opposing defenses and is a legit No. 1 option.


    What's his drawback?

    Aldridge's scoring and rebounding averages are slightly under his career highs. He is also shooting a career-worst 42.5 percent from the field, which has been a byproduct of him shooting jumpers rather than going inside (via Jason Quick of The Oregonian).

    He also faces stiff competition in the Western Conference with Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol and Kevin Durant all deserving of a spot in the All-Star frontcourt.


    Chances of being selected: 85 percent


    How to vote for Aldridge

    On Twitter, tweet: "LaMarcus Aldridge #NBABALLOT"

    On Facebook at the NBA's official fan page

    On the NBA's official website

Who Will Get Selected?

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    Rookie sensation Damian Lillard also deserves some recognition after he became the second player in NBA history to score at least 20 points and dish at least seven assists in the first three games of his career, joining Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson (via Joe Freeman of The Oregonian).

    That's pretty good company, and certainly merits an All-Star nod...eventually. But not now. Lillard should be prominently featured in the NBA's Rising Stars Challenge with first- and second-year players.

    LaMarcus Aldridge certainly has the biggest case to return to the All-Star Game, while Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews' chances are slim. However, their names on the ballot cement their places as legit NBA starters.