Third returns on fan votings for next month’s All-Star Game are upon us, and even though most insiders and players feel as if that’s not a fair way to pick the best 12 hoopers of the Conference, it is what it is.
Naturally, that means some players are bound to be snubbed from the All-Star Game even despite playing at an MVP level, but the league is just trying to give fans what they want to see, and that’s great.
Considering last year’s success, this season’s All-Star Game will follow the same guidelines: The two most voted players from each Conference will Draft the guys that will join them, rather than the old-fashioned East vs West game.
Even so, imagine we were to see an East vs West game, who should make the team according to fan returns and coaches? Let’s break it down.
Point Guard: Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving is the East’s top vote-getter as a backcourt player and it shouldn’t come as a surprise with him finally taking a step forward to become a leader and a playmaker rather than just a scorer.
Over the course of the season, Irving has carried the Celtics through inconsistency and is leading them to the 5th spot in the East with averages of 23.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game.
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade making it to the All-Star may seem unfair at first glance, as he’s anywhere near the hooper he once was and other backcourt players deserve it the most, but C’mon guys, it’s Wade’s farewell season, give him a break.
The Miami Heat are struggling to catch the beat during Wade’s ‘Last Dance’ but they will at least try to help him have the last playoff run before calling it a day. This season, he’s posting averages of 13.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.2 dimes a night.
Small Forward: Kawhi Leonard
It didn’t take long for Kawhi Leonard to silence his doubters following a season in the shelf with an “injury”, showing no signs of rust whatsoever while leading the Toronto Raptors to the top spot in the East.
Leonard continues to prove he’s one of the best two-way players in the world night in and night out, and he’s Canada’s greatest hope since Wayne Gretzky. So far, he’s averaging 27.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists a contest.
Power Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the Eastern Conference’s most voted player and for good reason, as he’s having an MVP caliber year and leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the top of the Conference on a 2-team tie with the Toronto Raptors.
The Bucks have shown no signs of slowing down and neither has the Greek Freak, who’s currently averaging 26.5 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. James Harden is going to put a hell of a fight with him for the MVP, though.
Center: Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid has already proved to be worth the wait and precautions for the Philadelphia 76ers. I mean, he’s made a once-in-a-lifetime talent like Ben Simmons look like the Robin to his Batman in no time.
Embiid may be one of the frontrunners to win both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year award year in and year out. Leading the Sixers to the 4th seed in the East, he’s posted averages of 27.1 points, 13.2 rebounds and 3.6 dimes per game.
Victor Oladipo is probably out of the season, so Nikola Vucevic is favorite to make the first All-Star appearance in his career. He has a great season, averaging 20.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. He is a free agent this summer and he will probably sign a lucrative deal.
Kemba Walker is the only reason why the Charlotte Hornets are currently fighting for a playoff spot. He’s playing the best ball of his career and is one of the most unstoppable scorers in the league since the start of the season. So far, he’s averaged 25.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists per contest.
Can we just go ahead and say that Bradley Beal is the best player in the Washington Wizards even when John Wall’s healthy? Because I truly think so. He’s a much-improved defender, willing passer and has become more aggressive and confident when driving. This season, he’s averaging 24.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists a night.
While Kyle Lowry’s offense and outside shot have been kind of off this season, he’s found ways to help his team secure the best record in the Conference with his playmaking ability. Even when Leonard has been out due to rest, Lowry has stepped up, posting averages of 13.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 9.4 assists per game.
People should stop bashing Ben Simmons’ lack of a jumper and just focus on how good he is in, well, everything else on the court. The jump-shot will come with time, but his talent is just God-given. Simmons has made a huge impact in both ends of the floor, averaging 16.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.1 assists a game.
Blake Griffin is having arguably the best season of his career, but the Detroit Pistons have been a major disaster anyway. Barring major changes, he’s just going to waste his prime at Michigan, but that doesn’t mean he’s not All-Star worthy, especially with his averages of 26.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.2 points per game.
D’Angelo Russell is finally becoming the player we all thought he’d become. He’s a scoring machine that’s leading the Nets to a playoff spot even despite the lack of talent on that roster, and he’s about to get paid big time in the summer. So far, he’s averaging 19.2 points, 3.7 and 6.4 assists per game.