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Tuesday December 1, 2009 10:15 pm

December 2009 NBA All Star Potential Starters




Posted by Phil Partington Categories: Editorial, NBA,

LeBron James versus Kobe BryantFan voting is a major folly of the NBA All-Star Game. Each year, NBA fans are allowed to vote to determine which players start in the esteemed game. The problem with this format is that 1) fans on the whole don’t know squat about which players actually deserve the honor, and 2) fans are biased. Since online voting has been allowed, Chinese players, such as Yao Ming, have had an unfair advantage due to their huge popularity in China. This leads to a tainted All-Star Game, where, in all likelihood Yao may be voted in as the starting center for the Western Conference, despite not playing in one single game this season to injury.

With that in mind, here are the players—after considering only the first month of the season—who deserve to start in the 2010 NBA All Star Game in February.

Western Conference

Center - If Tim Duncan is considered a center (afterall, he’s used like a center), then he’s the hands down favorite. Since he’s typically listed as a forward, Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers should get the nod. It’s likely that Bynum’s numbers will decrease with the return of Pau Gasol from injury, but to this date, Bynum has been fantastic, averaging 18.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 1.9 bpg, while shooting 57% from the field to help the Lakers with a 13-3 start. Of course, Gasol could always make a push for the honor if he’s able to steal Bynum’s minutes.

Forwards - Dirk Nowtizki of the Dallas Mavericks is making an early case to be considered for league MVP. He’s averaged 27.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.1 spg, 1.5 bpg, while shooting 47% from the field and 89% from the line to help the Mavs to a 13-5 start. Also having a fast start is the Denver Nuggets’ star, Carmelo Anthony. “Melo’s” helped the Nuggets to a 12-5 start with a league-leading 31.0 ppg, 6.0 rbpg, while shooting 49% from the field and 86% from the line.

Guards - The Phoenix Suns are back to their old ways, running and gunning without paying much heed to half-court defense. It seems to work for them, however, as they’ve surged to a league best 14-3. Nash has contributed a league-leading 12.1 apg, to go along with 16.4 ppg. He’s also shooting 53% from the field (great for a point guard) and 94% from the line. Also deserving of a starting All-Star spot is the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant. Kobe is having a Kobe-like year with 29.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.3 spg, while shooting 49% from the field and 85% from the line.

Eastern Conference

Center - It’s hard not to give this to Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic, despite most of his numbers being down from last season. Still, without him, the Magic don’t have a 14-4 record. Howard’s averaging 18.1 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 1.9 bpg, while shooting 64% from the field. He supposedly worked all summer on his free-throw shooting, but that hasn’t seemed to pay off much as he’s shooting 56% from the line, which is down from 59% last season. The Atlanta Hawks’ big man Al Horford gets a mention, as his 12.9 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.7 bpg has helped the Hawks to a 12-5 record.

Forwards - Barring injury, LeBron James should be a lock here. It’s hard to imagine a player doing more for his team. James is averaging 29.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 8.0 apg, while shooting 52% from the field. He’s even kept up his free throw percentage (78%), which has been a problem in the past. Despite a disappointing 7-11 record, Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors is also deserving of a starting forward spot. Bosh is having a terrific season. Part of the reason might be the perimeter shooting added to the lineup in the offseason. Whatever the reason, Bosh is having a career year early on, averaging 25.4 ppg, 12.2 rpg, while shooting 49% from the field.

Guards - Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade is a stud. His 27.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 5.4 apg, 2.1 spg has got the young Heat team overachieving to a 9-7 record. Picking the other guard isn’t so easy. Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks may be the best candidate. His 21.0 ppg leads the well-balanced Hawks team. If Paul Pierce were considered a guard (Ray Allen is the shooting guard of the Celtics), he might be considered here, too.

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