Making A Case For Every 2014 NBA All-Star Game Starter
Making A Case For Every 2014 NBA All-Star Game Starter
The NBA All-Star Game is upon us, and we finally found out the starters for the East and West on Thursday night. There were plenty of surprises and even some snubs, but all in all the teams are pretty solid.
Out of the four major professional sports the NBA All-Star Game is by far the most exciting. The game is fun to watch and the weekend by itself is very entertaining. The Pro Bowl in the NFL has become the biggest joke in sports history, the MLB All-Star game means more but isn't very entertaining and the NHL is still lacking in popularity behind all three of those sports. The NBA All-Star Game is a glorified pickup game, but it allows us to live out some geeky NBA fantasies. For example fans of the New York Knicks can just imagine what it would be like if Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James were on the same team.
There were a lot of big names left off the starting lineups. MVP candidates such as Chris Paul and LaMarcus Aldridge were the most notable omissions from the starters. This season there were plenty of surprise names that were put on the All-Star roster. The NBA has the fans vote for the starters which can cause some big controversy as players who are injured can still be voted to be one of the starters for their respective conferences.
This year's starters are all deserving of the honor, and here is how a case can be made for each and every one of them.
Stephen Curry is lighting it up this season. He has blossomed into the best pure shooter in the NBA today. He is averaging 23.5 points per game along with 9.2 assists per game, and he is also second in the NBA in triple-doubles with two this year. If you have watched the Golden State Warriors at all this season you know that Curry is one of if not the most exciting player to watch in the league. This will be his first career All-Star Game, and he is very deserving of the starting nod.
Kobe Bryant was one of the more interesting names to pop up in the starting team for the Western Conference. Bryant has only played in six games this season. He missed the first month or so recovering from a torn Achilles and then hurt his knee six games back in. Bryant urged fans to vote for younger players, but let's be real; everyone loves the black mamba. He is one of the greatest to ever play the game, and with his career winding down fans want to see him play as much as possible. He deserves a start out of respect.
Unless you have been living under a rock you have probably seen what Kevin Durant has been doing lately. With fellow superstar Russell Westbrook out of the lineup for most of the year, Durant has gone to a whole different level. He has scored 30 points in nine straight games. In his last 11 games he has scored 419 points on 254 shots, and he is hitting shots with hands directly in his face. Durant is on one of the best runs in NBA history in regards to scoring. He is the front-runner for the MVP and is a no-brainer for an All-Star starter.
Kevin Love doesn't get the type of attention most superstars get because he is playing with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he is the best power forward in the game right now. He is a double-double machine. Love averages 25 points per game and 13 rebounds per game. He leads the league with 35 double-doubles, and the Timberwolves have only played 40 games. This is Love's first All-Star Game start and it has been a long time coming.
I think it is time for people to stop using the term overrated when talking about Blake Griffin. Sure, when he first came into the league all he could do was dunk, but he has developed and gotten better every year. He has a solid low post game and can consistently hit a mid-range jumper now. Throw in the fact that with MVP candidate Chris Paul out Griffin has put the team on his back and led them to some big wins. Griffin is sixth in the league with 26 double-doubles. He is averaging 22.6 and 10 rebounds per game.
Kyrie Irving was one of the more interesting names on the starters list, but he is a tremendous player. With a Cleveland Cavaliers team that is horribly coached, Irving has put up admirable stats. He is averaging 21.7 points and 6.1 assists per game. His assists are likely to go up with addition of Luol Deng, and the Cavaliers should be able to push for a playoff spot because of Irving's star status. He has emerged as a top 10 point guard in the NBA and continues to climb up people's rankings. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that his Uncle Drew commercials are amazing.
Dwyane Wade has been battling through injuries all year. He has sat out 13 games this season due to lingering knee problems, but the Miami Heat's woes have shown just how good Wade is. He is only putting up 18.1 points per game, but with Wade it is all about the playoffs. The Heat have a pedestrian 7-6 record when Wade is out of the lineup proving how valuable he really is. He is a future Hall of Famer and when healthy the best two-guard in the NBA.
Paul George is having an MVP type year. If it wasn't for the recent stretch that Durant has gone on George would be right in the conversation for the award. The Indiana Pacers are the best team in the Eastern Conference and are the only threat to the Heat's three-peat. George is the superstar and clear leader of that team. He has taken over Danny Granger's role as star and is averaging 23.3 points per game. He has cooled off since the ridiculous start he got off to, but he's still worthy of his first All-Star Game start.
The New York Knicks have been awful this season, but Carmelo Anthony is still having an excellent year. He is third in the league in scoring with 26.1 points per game. He is also setting career-highs for rebounds averaging nine boards a game. Anthony is still one of if not the best pure scorer in the NBA and is very deserving of starting in this year's All-Star Game.
I don't know if you have heard, but this LeBron James guy is pretty good at basketball. Seriously, was there any doubt that James would be starting in the All-Star Game? He is second in the league in scoring and is putting up MVP-like numbers again. I mentioned before that Curry is one of the most exciting players to watch, but James is still No. 1. There is nothing he can't do. His field goal percentage is sky high and he makes everyone around him better. He is clearly the best player in the NBA and a no-brainer to start this year's All-Star Game.