Every NBA Franchise's Top All-Star Representative of All Time

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2013

Every NBA Franchise's Top All-Star Representative of All Time

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    When examining the NBA All-Star Game history of each of the league's 30 franchises, a variety of factors come into play.

    Some teams have a rich, storied past full of some of the greatest players to ever grace the hardwood. Others have struggled to establish any kind of All-Star identity, thanks to some abbreviated, unsuccessful pasts.

    So it goes without saying that the criteria for selecting the best All-Star representative in each team's history requires an evolving set of criteria. Some were obvious, some landed here by default, but most necessitated a thorough weighing of their All-Star credentials.

    Some of the following players built their All-Star resumes on the strength of their prolonged production. This isn't a list of simply each team's career leader in All-Star games, but the value of quantity over quality was factored in.

    Still, there were others who were simply so incredibly productive that even a shortened exposure proved enough to warrant selection.

    With that being said, continue reading to find out which players rose above the rest for each of the league's 30 teams.

    And, as always, let the debates begin.

Atlanta Hawks: Bob Pettit

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    It's hard to ignore what Hawks great Dominique Wilkins brought to All-Star weekend, but Bob Pettit's All-Star resume speaks for itself. 

    He was named an All-Star in each of his 11 NBA seasons, and he dominated the All-Star game like few others ever have.

    He topped the 20-point mark on seven different occasions. He failed to grab double-digit rebounds just twice (finishing with nine in each of those games) and pulled down at least 24 boards three different times.

    He's one of just two players in NBA history with four All-Star game MVP awards. (Don't know who the other play is? Trust me, you will before this slideshow is over.)

Boston Celtics: Larry Bird

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    Any team with a history as rich with success as that of the Celtics will have no shortage of possibilities for a greatest all-time list. And this was no exception.

    But Larry Bird rose above the rest with his consistent success on basketball's grandest exhibition.

    He was named to the All-Star team in 12 of his 13 NBA seasons, appearing in 10 All-Star games. "Larry Legend" captured his first (and only) All-Star MVP in 1982 when his 19 points and 12 rebounds helped the East eke out a 120-118 win.

    That game sparked a six-year stretch in which he averaged 18.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per All-Star game.

Brooklyn Nets: Jason Kidd

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    Jason Kidd lacked for the gaudy scoring numbers that define most All-Star talents, but that's because he was often the one setting the table for those scorers.

    He played in four All-Star games in his six-plus seasons with the Nets, dishing out 10 assists in three of the four games. Despite the game's typical loose play, he compiled 33 assists to just seven turnovers in his four appearances for the Nets.

    His scoring was up and down (he hit double digits twice and was held to just two points twice), but his pesky hands were a constant defensive threat. He averaged 3.0 steals over the four games.

Charlotte Bobcats: Gerald Wallace

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    The lone All-Star selection in the franchise's brief history, Gerald Wallace embodied the scrappy, physical style that defined the Bobcats during their only playoff season (2009-10).

    "Crash" spent six-plus seasons with the organization, ranking at or near the top in nearly every career statistical category. He averaged 16.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game during his tenure.

    Defense-first players have a tough time building successful All-Star campaigns, thanks in no small part to the exhibition's free-wheeling style of play. But his loaded box scores proved worthy of selection in 2010, perhaps partly as a nod to the Bobcats for their first (and only) winning season.

    Wallace played 15 minutes in the contest, finishing with three points, two rebounds and an assist.

Chicago Bulls: Michael Jordan

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    Just like his regular season and playoff career, Michael Jordan's All-Star performances had everything.

    The stats were there, the success, the hardware and, of course, the monster finishes.

    He's one of three players to capture three All-Star MVP awards, bringing home hardware in 1988, 1996 and 1998. Not to take anything away from his later performances, but that '88 game was legendary. He torched the West with 40 points, eight rebounds, four steals, four blocks and three assists.

    In the 1997 game, Jordan wowed the Cleveland fans with the first triple-double in All-Star game history (14 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists).

    Throw in his legendary Slam Dunk Contest efforts, and there haven't been many All-Star resumes quite like his.

Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron James

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    While LeBron James has undoubtedly evolved into a more complete player since joining the Miami Heat in 2010, it's not as if he arrived in South Beach with an empty slate.

    He burst onto the All-Star scene with a stat sheet-stuffing sophomore performance in 2004-05, filling the box score with 13 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals.

    But here's the real kicker: That was the worst All-Star performance of his career. He made five more trips to the event before leaving Cleveland, finishing with fewer than 25 points just once (he scored 20 in 2009).

    He grabbed two MVPs along the way—first for his 29-point, six-rebound game in 2006, then for his 27-point, eight-rebound, nine-assist effort in 2008.

Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki

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    Dirk Nowitzki's All-Star career has been more defined by its longevity over any breakout performances.

    Prior to this season, he had made 11 consecutive All-Star trips. He scored in double figures in five of those games, but only once scored more than 13 points (22 in 2010).

    His numbers may not look all that impressive, but that's more indicative of the wealth of interior talent in the Western Conference during his prime. Nowitzki had to compete for frontcourt minutes with the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Amar'e Stoudemire during those games.

Denver Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony

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    Carmelo Anthony needed four seasons to crack the Western Conference roster, but once he made his first appearance in 2007, he made it clear he wouldn't be giving up his spot anytime soon.

    His first three All-Star appearances in Denver (he made four altogether) showcased his dynamic scoring ability. He scored 65 points in those three games, twice shooting better than 59 percent from the field.

    But his effectiveness extended beyond the scoreboard. He never grabbed fewer than seven rebounds in those four games, finishing his Denver All-Star career with an impressive 8.3 rebounds per game.

Detroit Pistons: Isiah Thomas

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    Isiah Thomas was one of the greatest point guards the NBA had ever seen, and he didn't hesitate to remind the basketball world of that fact during All-Star weekend.

    He played in 11 All-Star games over the course of his 13-year career, though he officially made 12, grabbing two MVP honors along the way.

    He grabbed his first award in 1984, finishing the game with 21 points (all in the second half and overtime) and 15 assists (then the third-highest total in the game's history). But he topped that performance just two seasons later with 30 points, 10 assists and five steals.

Golden State Warriors: Wilt Chamberlain

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    As was the case throughout much of his storied career, Wilt Chamberlain put forth historically strong All-Star numbers without garnering the individual attention his performances deserved.

    He won his first (and only) MVP award during his rookie season, when he lit up the West with 23 points and 25 rebounds in front of his hometown fans. He had an All-Star appearance in each of his six seasons with the Warriors, averaging 22.2 points and a ridiculous 20.3 rebounds during that stretch.

    His 42 points in 1962 came without MVP honors or even a win, but it still stands as the record for the most points scored in an All-Star game.

Houston Rockets: Hakeem Olajuwon

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    Long before he was tutoring today's players on the finer points of life in the paint, Hakeem Olajuwon was schooling his defenders near the basket. And "The Dream" never slept through an All-Star weekend.

    He had 12 All-Star appearances in 17 seasons with the Rockets, a testament to both his longevity and the mass of post production during his career.

    He scored double figures in six of those games, maxing out at 21 points in 1988. He had four games with double-digit rebounds and had multiple blocks eight times.

    Considering he averaged fewer than 24 minutes per game in his All-Star career, those numbers look even more striking.

Indiana Pacers: Jermaine O'Neal

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    If you were expecting to see Reggie Miller in this spot, you're not alone. Frankly, so was I.

    But Miller's knack for performing on the big stage never translated to All-Star game success. He managed double digits just once in five tries (14 in 1998), and his adept three-point shot never surfaced in those games (26.3 three-point percentage).

    Jermaine O'Neal, on the other hand, thrived under the All-Star exposure.

    Like Miller, O'Neal also played in five games (made six), scoring at least 10 points in three of them. He also averaged better than seven rebounds and one block in those games.

Los Angeles Clippers: Bob McAdoo

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    You'd think a team with a history as sorry as the Clippers would struggle for strong All-Star showings.

    But the prolific Bob McAdoo put forth some spirited performances during the franchise's Buffalo Braves days.

    He played just four-plus seasons with the franchise, making four All-Star teams along the way. He was limited to fewer than 20 minutes per game during his first two appearances and still found his way to 11.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

    His next two appearances, though, cemented his All-Star legacy.

    He erupted with a 22-point, seven-rebound performance in 1976, then obliterated his career-bests with 30 points and 10 rebounds the following season. Just for good measure, he added three steals, two assists and a block in that 1977 game.

Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant

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    Like the Celtics, the Lakers haven't hurt for All-Star representation or All-Star success.

    It wasn't easy leaving Magic Johnson off this list, but Kobe Bryant has simply compiled the more compelling numbers in his career.

    Including this season, the 17-year veteran has been selected for the All-Star game 15 times (all as a starter). And he's rewarded his fans for their votes with one of the most dominant careers in the game's history.

    What's really impressive, though, is the fact that his performances have only improved with age.

    Last season, he scored 27 points at the tender age of 33. The year before that, he dropped 37. Incredibly, the 6'6" shooting guard also broke the All-Star record for offensive rebounds with 10.

    The 2011 showing earned Bryant his fourth All-Star MVP, moving into a tie with Pettit for the most all time. (See, I promised I'd tell you who it was.)

Memphis Grizzlies: Pau Gasol

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    Pau Gasol definitely has some of the Gerald Wallace karma working for him here.

    He's the choice by default, as he's one of just three Grizzlies ever chosen for the All-Star game (along with brother Marc and Zach Randolph).

    Here's what makes this a tough choice, though: As a member of the Grizzlies, Pau had as many All-Star points as I have in my All-Star career.

    How exactly does a lone, scoreless trip earn him the top spot? Well, Randolph and Marc were both underwhelming in their All-Star trips.

    And the opening left by Randolph and Marc is all that Pau needed for the list. Despite his scoreless night (in his defense, he attempted just three field goals), Pau still impressed with a 12-rebound performance in just over 14 minutes of action.

Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade

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    Assuming he stays healthy, it's only a matter of time before LeBron James takes over this spot.

    But, for now, Dwyane Wade's the clear-cut choice for the Heat.

    This season will mark his ninth All-Star appearance in his 10-year career, with Wade earning a spot in the starting lineup in eight of those games.

    He's never scored fewer than 10 points, and he has reached 20-plus points in three of those eight games.

    Here's the best argument on his behalf: In 2012, he became the third player in the game's history with a triple-double (24 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds). And that wasn't even his best showing.

    He took home the 2010 MVP award thanks to 28 points (on 75 percent shooting from the floor), 11 assists, six rebounds and five steals.

Milwaukee Bucks: Lew Alcindor

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    Before he was Lakers legend (and career scoring leader) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he was Lew Alcindor of the Milwaukee Bucks.

    Different name, but same dominance.

    He opened his NBA career with six seasons in Milwaukee, and he was elected to the All-Star team in each of those seasons.

    He played in five All-Star games as a member of the Bucks, finishing with double-digit points in four of those games and double-digit rebounds in three of them.

    Although he saved his greatest All-Star exploits for his days as a Laker, there's nothing wrong with 12.4 points and 10.0 rebounds per game (his Milwaukee All-Star averages).

Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Garnett

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    The NBA had never seen a player quite like Kevin Garnett when he broke into the league in 1995. His blend of size (6'11", 220 pounds), skills and athleticism revolutionized the power forward position.

    But if the league was surprised by his emergence, then the people of Minnesota were blindsided by it. The franchise had only been in existence for five years when the preps-to-pros star fell in their laps via the fifth overall pick in the '95 draft.

    Of the Timberwolves' 15 All-Star selections, Garnett is responsible for 10 of them. Unlike Nowitzki, Garnett was able to force himself into the West's deep frontcourt rotation.

    He was named MVP of the 2003 All-Star Game, the first (and only) double-overtime game in its history. His 37 points (on 71 percent shooting) leave him tied with Bryant for the fourth-best total ever.

New Orleans Hornets: Chris Paul

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    Chris Paul played in only three All-Star games during his six seasons with the Hornets (made four), but that was enough to tie him with Glen Rice for the franchise's career leader in appearances.

    While Rice enjoyed the greatest All-Star moment in team history (he was named the 1997 MVP for All-Star records of 20 points in a quarter and 24 in a half), Paul was more consistently effective.

    His first two All-Star outings were sensational. He scored a combined 30 points in the two games, connecting on seven of his 14 field-goal attempts in each.

    But the floor general flexed his leadership muscle with back-to-back 14-assist outings. He also compiled 10 rebounds and seven steals and committed just three turnovers over the two games.

New York Knicks: Patrick Ewing

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    Patrick Ewing may never have brought a championship to New York City, but he did give them 15 years of steady production.

    His All-Star career only mirrors that dependability.

    He played in nine All-Star games over his career (made 11), earning the starting center spot three different times.

    Starting with the 1990 game, Ewing amassed six straight games with double-digit points. He had 10 rebounds in three of those games and finished with at least four blocks twice.

    His performance in 1991 didn't earn him an MVP, but it surely drew some consideration. He finished the night with 18 points (on 8-of-10 shooting), 10 rebounds, four blocks and a steal in 30 minutes of action.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Gary Payton

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    Like Wade, Gary Payton's simply a franchise placeholder. Kevin Durant could claim this spot already on Sunday.

    For now, though, longevity still makes "The Glove" the choice.

    He played in nine All-Star games during his 12-plus seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics. His scoring numbers fluctuated a bit (he scored 17-plus three times and went scoreless in 2001), but his assists put him among the game's all-time great point guards.

    He had as many double-digit assist efforts (three, including 15 in 23 minutes in 1995) as he did games with five or fewer. His 8.1 assists per game garnered him the fourth spot on the game's all-time career ranking.

Orlando Magic: Shaquille O'Neal

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    Although none of his three All-Star MVP awards came during his Orlando days, the original "Superman" put forth some heroic efforts in his first four All-Star trips.

    Through his first two All-Star games, Shaquille O'Neal amassed 22 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks in 41 minutes of work.

    By his third appearance, though, Shaq began hinting at his proficiency waiting to burst through.

    In the 1995 game, he set new personal All-Star bests with 22 points, seven rebounds, three steals and the first All-Star assist of his career. He continued his ascent the following season, finishing with a game-high 25 points to go along with 10 rebounds in his 28 minutes.

Philadelphia 76ers: Julius Erving

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    Between some legendary Sixers All-Star performances from Wilt Chamberlain and Allen Iverson lies the franchise's only two-time All-Star MVP, Julius Erving.

    Despite playing his first five All-Star games in the defunct American Basketball Association, Erving still ranks sixth on the NBA's All-Star scoring list (221 points).

    He played in the game in each of his 11 NBA seasons, topping the 20-point mark five different times and scoring 30 or more twice. His most productive scoring night came in 1984 when he poured in 34 points but lost the MVP award to teammate Isiah Thomas.

    During his two MVP performances (1977 and 1983), "Dr. J" totaled 55 points, 18 rebounds, six assists, five steals and three blocks.

Phoenix Suns: Amar'e Stoudemire

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    Long before any lingering injuries or subsequent appearances off the Knicks bench, Amar'e Stoudemire was compiling one of the most impressive All-Star resumes in Suns history.

    He played eight seasons in the desert (although he essentially lost the 2005-06 season to microfracture surgery in his knee and a lengthy rehab process), garnering All-Star selections in five of those years.

    After a forgettable start to his All-Star career in 2005 (six points, nine rebounds in 20 minutes), Stoudemire blitzed the Eastern Conference's best with 29 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and a steal in 21 minutes off the bench in the 2007 game.

    He followed that showing with three straight trips over the next three seasons, averaging 16.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in those games.

Portland Trail Blazers: Clyde Drexler

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    As was often the case throughout his Hall of Fame career, Clyde Drexler's All-Star performances were overshadowed by his contemporaries.

    But over the course of the Trail Blazers' All-Star history, Drexler's resume rises above the rest.

    He played in eight All-Star games during his 11 full seasons in Portland, averaging 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 rebounds along the way.

    But he poorly mistimed his breakthrough All-Star performance.

    In 1992, Drexler finished with an MVP-worthy stat line: 22 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks. But it was also the same night Lakers legend Magic Johnson returned to the hardwood after his first retirement.  

    Johnson's 25 points and nine assists landed him his second MVP.

Sacramento Kings: Oscar Robertson

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    Back when the Sacramento Kings were known as the Cincinnati Royals, they employed one of the game's biggest stars.

    Oscar Robertson, better known as the "Big O," attacked opponents with a ferocious, versatile game. He's the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double (30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists per game in the 1961-62 season). Incredibly, he finished one rebound or assist per game shy of matching that feat in four seasons.

    And he brought that same versatile production to the All-Star game. He brought home All-Star MVP honors as a rookie in 1961, leading the West to a resounding 153-131 win with 23 points, nine rebounds and a then-All-Star record 14 assists.

    He made nine more trips on behalf of the franchise, averaging 23.0 points, 7.8 assists and 6.9 rebounds in those games.

San Antonio Spurs: David Robinson

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    As with everything Spurs, the decision came down to David Robinson and Tim Duncan.

    As the franchise's wildly successful stint under the big men's direction might suggest, there really wasn't a wrong way to go.

    Sunday's game will mark the 14th All-Star appearance for Duncan, four more than Robinson tallied.

    Duncan had twice as many double-doubles (six) as Robinson (three), but Robinson largely avoided the forgettable games that Duncan's seen in his past five trips.

    Duncan has scored six or fewer points in each of those games (and scored two in his first All-Star Game), while Robinson hit double figures in eight of his 10 games. Robinson averaged 14.1 points per game over his All-Star career, while Duncan managed just 10.5.

Toronto Raptors: Vince Carter

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    Vince Carter left his biggest All-Star imprint in the Saturday night dunk contests, but he never left himself without the legs to perform on Sunday night.

    "Air Canada" played in four All-Star games as a member of the Raptors (made five), only failing to reach double figures when he finished with nine points in 2003.

    It's hard to choose an identifying game from his resume. He set his career high with 16 points in 2001, but he needed 18 shots to reach that mark.

    He only scored 11 in 2004 but was frighteningly efficient in his 14 minutes (5-of-7 from the field).

Utah Jazz: Karl Malone

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    While Karl Malone failed to deliver the same All-Star punch as his career wore on, it's impossible to ignore the way it began.

    The "Mailman" drew his first All-Star look in his third season, and he quickly showed that it probably came two years later than it should have. He had 22 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals in his 1988 debut.

    He captured his first of two MVP awards the following year, leading the West to victory with 28 points (on 12-of-17 shooting), nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.

    After tallying 27 points, 18 boards and seven dimes over his next two appearances, Malone added to his hardware collection in front of an appreciative Salt Lake City crowd in 1993.

    Bolstered by teammate (and co-MVP) John Stockton's 15 assists, Malone brought the West another win behind his 28 points and 10 rebounds.

Washington Wizards: Elvin Hayes

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    Before things like political correctness sneaked into our nation's capital, Elvin Hayes patrolled the paint for the Bullets. It's probably just as well, because there was nothing PC about the big man's game.

    He bullied opponents near the basket and kept up that physical play during the All-Star game. He represented the Bullets eight times in his nine seasons with the franchise.

    His resume was marked by consistency, as he scored 12 points in four of those eight games and 13 in another. He had four games with double-digit rebounds, and he twice dished out at least four assists. 

    After totaling just two blocks in the six seasons that they'd been recorded, Hayes finished the 1980 game with four blocks, which stands tied for the third-most blocks in All-Star history.