PG – Kyle Lowry
Stats: 21.3 ppg, 7.4 apg, 4.6 rpg, 1.5 spg, 46.0% FG, 45.3% 3P, 37.0 mpg, 4.8 win shares (7th,) 20-8 (2nd in East)
Lowry started off the season cold, but has since recovered beautifully. The Villanova product continues to surpass the expectations set upon him for a late first round pick that was given up on by the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies. Lowry’s 46.0% shooting is a career high, as is his 124 offensive rating, 22.9 PER, .222 win shares per 48 minutes, and +14.0 points per 100 possessions on/off. In terms of individual production to help a team effort, there is no better point guard in the Eastern Conference. Lowry will get the starting spot for the 2nd straight year.
SG – Jimmy Butler
Stats: 24.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.7 spg, 45.2% FG, 33.7% 3P, 36.1 mpg, 5.4 win shares (4th,) 14-14 (6th in East)
Jimmy Butler continues to improve his offense with every year. Butler is averaging a career high in points for the 5th straight season while playing the lowest minutes per game since the 2012-2013 season when he came off the bench. Butler’s 6.7 rebounds per game, 123 offensive rating, 25.8 PER, .256 win shares per 48 minutes, and +18.5 points per 100 possessions on/off are career highs as well. People would criticize Butler in the past for not being a reliable franchise player, but as the 4th leading player in win shares this season, those criticisms are false. Butler has earned himself a starting spot in this all-star game.
Stats: 22.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 5.8 apg, 2.1 spg, 2.0 bpg, 52.0% FG, 34.9 mpg, 4.7 win shares (8th,) 13-14 (9th in East)
The Greek Freak is becoming even scarier. The 6’11” point forward has terrorized his opponents on both ends of the court. Giannis and his teammate Jabari Parker have put the young Bucks on their backs to try and lead them into playoff contention. Their record today is 9th place in the Eastern Conference, but they are only half a game behind the 6th seeded Pacers, and they are just 1.5 games behind the 5th seeded Knicks. Antetokounmpo is currently the only player in the league averaging that 20-9-5-2-2 stat-line of his, and hes doing it on an uber-efficient 52.0% shooting. Antetokounmpo has the 5th best defensive rating in the NBA as well with 99, and 27.3 PER and .239 win shares per 48 minutes are both superb marks good for 6th and 9th in the NBA. He is a special talent and has earned a starting spot.
PF – LeBron James
Stats: 25.5 ppg, 8.8 apg, 7.8 rpg, 1.3 spg, 0.5 bpg, 51.4% FG, 38.0% 3P, 37.2 mpg, 4.6 win shares (10th,) 21-6 (1st in East)
LeBron James has been an all-star for years, and is a fix for a spot in the starting line-up annually. This season is no different, as James has lead his Cavaliers to the best record in the Eastern Conference behind averages of 25, 9, and 8 on 51% shooting. This individual season for James, however, does not stand out relative to his past seasons. His offensive rating of 118 is the highest since rejoining the Cavaliers, but besides that, this is just another year of greatness from James.
C – Hassan Whiteside
Stats: 18.1 ppg, 14.8 rpg, 2.4 bpg, 0.8 spg, 54.8% FG, 33.9 mpg, 3.4 win shares (22nd,) 9-20 (13th in East)
Hassan Whiteside is having another superb season as the franchise big man for the Miami Heat after they found him out of nowhere in 2014. Whiteside has been relatively stranded on the Heat; Goran Dragic is the only other consistent and reliable offensive weapon in the starting line-up. Whiteside, however, has been fantastic individually. He has still been able to amass a respectable 3.4 win shares despite the losing of his team, and he leads the league in rebounds. Whiteside is also 4th in blocks per game. There is not a single center who is more imposing defensively than Whiteside in the Eastern Conference, and he deserves a spot on the all-star team at the very least, if not a spot in the starting line-up.
6 – DeMar Derozan
Stats: 27.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.2 spg, 48.2% FG, 35.2 mpg, 3.9 win shares (16th,) 20-8 (2nd in East)
Derozan is in the midst of his best year as a pro yet. He is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, field goal percentage, offensive rating (115,) win share rate (.191 per 48 minutes,) and PER (25.5.) His team is off to another great start, and Derozan is the leading scorer – even with Kyle Lowry on the team. The former USC Trojan is one of the deadliest players in the mid-range game, and with his athleticism Derozan is very hard to guard. Derozan has made the all-star game two of the previous three seasons, so his presence in this one in the midst of his best season ever should come as a shock to no one.
7 – Kevin Love
Stats: 22.3 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.1 spg, 46.8% FG, 41.2% 3P, 32.2 mpg, 4.0 win shares (15th,) 21-6 (1st in East)
Kevin Love might be having his best season ever. This may be a shock to hear for those who remember his dominant Minnesota Timberwolves days when he averaged 26 and 13, but the efficiency is much higher, and so too is the team success. Love is averaging career highs in field goal percentage, steals, win shares per 48 minutes (.249,) and on-court plus/minus (+11.8 points per 100 possessions.) Tyronn Lue has given Love a bigger role this season, and he has absolutely made the most of it. Love made the record books against Portland this year by having 34 points in a 1st quarter: the most ever. Love didn’t make the all-star team last year, but that shouldn’t be the case for this season.
8 – Kemba Walker
Stats: 22.6 ppg, 5.5 apg, 3.9 rpg, 1.4 spg, 46.0% FG, 41.3% 3P, 33.5 mpg, 3.4 win shares (21st,) 16-13 (4th in East)
Kemba Walker is a winner. He won the NCAA tournament with UConn, and he has helped completely turn around this Charlotte Hornets franchise from a losing one into a playoff fix. They’ve made the playoffs two of the last three seasons under Walker, and currently hold a home court advantage seed in this year’s standings. Walker is the undisputed leader of this team, and he is having a career season himself. Walker is averaging career highs in points, field goal percentage, three point percentage, offensive rating (113,) PER (22.6,) win share rate (.174 per 48 minutes,) and on-court plus/minus (+4.4 points per 100 possessions.) As the best player on a top-four team, Walker’s spot on this all-star team should be set, but he might be out of a spot in this strong year for point guards.
9 – Isaiah Thomas
Stats: 26.6 ppg, 6.0 apg, 2.6 rpg, 0.9 spg, 43.8% FG, 36.3% 3P, 33.3 mpg, 3.8 win shares (18th,) 16-12 (3rd in East)
Thomas is in a very similar situation to Walker; he is the leader of a high level playoff team in the point guard position. The comparison continues through all of Thomas’ career highs. He is averaging career highs in points, offensive rating (120,) PER (25.9,) win share rate (.229 per 48 minutes,) and box plus/minus (4.4.) Thomas has played masterfully this season on the offensive end, even if his petite 5’9″ frame hinder his defense. Thomas’ ability to lead the Celtics has been questioned, but if they are winning games, then these critiques are irrelevant. Thomas made his first all-star game last season, and he should absolutely make it this season as well.
10 – Kyrie Irving
Stats: 24.2 ppg, 5.3 apg, 3.3 rpg, 0.6 spg, 48.1% FG, 42.7% 3P, 34.7 mpg, 3.3 win shares (24th,) 21-6 (1st in East)
Just like his teammate Love, Kyrie Irving was questioned last season, after a relatively rough regular season last year coming off injury. Irving made the all-star game three consecutive seasons prior to missing the game last year. After an excellent playoffs, and a finals series in which he outplayed league MVP Stephen Curry, Irving has regained his footing. Now Irving is posting excellent numbers and is helping his team win lots of games. Irving is averaging career highs in points, field goal percentage, three point percentage, offensive rating (117,) PER (22.1,) and Irving has only missed two games this year – a problem of Irving’s in the past. NBA Fans love voting for Uncle Drew in the all-star balloting, so expect Irving to be on the team.
11 – Kristaps Porzingis
Stats: 20.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.8 bpg, 1.3 apg, 0.7 spg, 45.2% FG, 39.2% 3P, 34.6 mpg, 2.6 win shares (43rd,) 15-13 (5th in East)
Porzingis has followed up a delightfully surprising rookie season with a strong sophomore campaign. Admittedly, I was not high on New York going into the season, but so far Porzingis has helped lead the Knicks to a very respectable 15-13 record. He has done this behind strong averages. Porzingis is averaging these impressive numbers as just a 21 year old in his second season. At 7’3″ and shooting the three ball as well as a high-level guard, ‘Zinger’s future is scary for the rest of the East. Not that he is any less deserving, but Porzingis playing for a highly marketed team like the New York Knicks is also going to help his prospects for making this team.
12 – Paul George
Stats: 21.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.8 spg, 44.8% FG, 38.3% 3P, 35.6 mpg, 1.8 win shares (85th,) 15-15 (6th in East)
Paul George has had a disappointing season so far, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is still a star. People thought that the Pacers’ revamped roster would lead to more success. They acquired Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, Al Jefferson, Aaron Brooks, and Kevin Seraphin as well as hiring Nate McMillan as their head coach, yet they are winning less games than last season. The chemistry just hasn’t been there, and George himself is at a relatively low level defensively. Despite all this, George’s +8.6 points per 100 possessions on-off plus/minus is the 2nd highest of George’s career, and he is still playing all-star level basketball for Indiana.
13 – John Wall
Stats: 23.7 ppg, 9.7 apg, 4.5 rpg, 2.3 spg, 0.5 bpg, 46.0% FG, 33.7% 3P, 36.2 mpg, 3.0 win shares (28th,) 13-15 (10th in East)
John Wall is having his best season as a pro this year. Wall is averaging career highs in points, steals, field goal percentage, free throw percentage (80.7%,) offensive rating (109,) PER (24.2,) and win share rate (.152 per 48 minutes.) Wall is stuck on a very mediocre Washington Wizards team, but Bradley Beal and him have shined. Wall is doing all that he can to help this team, and he is even leading the league in steals, but for Wall and the Wizards, their general defensive efficiency needs to improve. Wall’s numbers and win shares are just too high to pass him up for the all-star team, especially since he’s made the team each of the last three seasons.