The NBA’s shift toward letting the fans determine the starters for the NBA All-Star game has completely taken away from who’s deserving of actually being selected. The fans are too supportive of who they like as a player personally and are guilty of voting with that same bias. For example, and don’t take this the wrong way because I absolutely love Dwyane Wade, but he should not be an All-Star this season. As of right now, he has the second most votes among Eastern Conference guards with 1,738,043 votes, trailing only Boston’s Kyrie Irving. Wade is more than 700,000 votes clear of Kemba Walker who is third. On the season Dwyane Wade is averaging 14ppg, 4apg, & 4rpg. Let’s be real; those are not All-Star caliber starting numbers. The All-Star game has become a mockery of who’s actually deserving.
Year after year, deserving players have been left off the final ballot, time and time again. A perfect example was two years ago, Damian Lillard wasn’t selected. Now let me break this down, the committee, they try to keep an even mix of guards and frontcourt players. Usually, they try and select six guards for the team, and then six frontcourt players. That would mean that between the Eastern and Western roster that 12 guards all together have been selected. Well that same season (2016) when Lillard went unselected for the All-Star game, he ended up making the All-NBA team. The All-NBA team is a higher honor and selects one player from each position to be on each of the three different All-NBA teams. I would love an explanation of how that makes any sense. How is someone one of three point guards selected throughout the entire league to make the All-NBA team, but that same player isn’t deserving of being an All-Star? The answer is simple; it’s because of the fan voting.
Since the fans have demonstrated complete bias time and time again, I’ve conducted a list of players who deserve to be an NBA All-Star. These are the 12 most deserving players from each conference (6 frontcourt players & 6 guards). The list has no bias, nor does it take into account a players legacy or career accomplishments. The list is solely comprised of the players who are most deserving to be among the 12 best players in its conference for this season, and this season only. We’re not taking into account records of the team to justify a specific team having a certain amount of players. Just simply listing who has been the best among guards and frontcourt players this season. The starters will be listed first, and then the bench.
WESTERN CONFERENCE STARTERS
LEBRON JAMES – FORWARD – LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Even at 34 years old, the King has shown zero signs of slowing down. While he’s lost a step as far as athleticism goes, he’s utilized other aspects of his all-around game to remain just as effective. Before his groin injury suffered versus the Warriors on Christmas day, LeBron had his young Lakers squad up to the fourth seed in the Western Conference. An impressive feat given the depth of the West. On the season LeBron is averaging 27.3 points per game, 7.1 assists per game, and 8.3 rebounds per game.
PAUL GEORGE – FORWARD – OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Silky smooth PG is in the midst of the best season of his career. George has been his usual two-way force, dominating on both offense and defense. George is gaining serious ground for the defensive player of the year award, sitting at the top of the league in steals, and constantly stifling opponents wings. On offense, PG is having the best season of his career, averaging 26.7ppg, 4.0apg, & 8rpg. The Thunder are currently sitting in 3rd place in the Western Conference standings, and it’s been George who’s been their best player, not Russell Westbrook.
KEVIN DURANT – FORWARD – GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Much like LeBron, Durant has become a staple in the All-Star game starting lineup. When you’re one of the top-3 basketball players on the planet year in and year out, it tends to work out that way. Durant is already a 9x all-star. This year will 100% become his 10th selection, in his first 11 years as a pro. The already 4x scoring champion is putting up insane numbers yet again. On the season Durant averages 28ppg, 7rpg, & 6apg. His six assists per game average is a career high. Durant’s game is continuing to evolve, even on the north side of 30 years old. Impressive.
JAMES HARDEN – GUARD – HOUSTON ROCKETS
What we’re witnessing from Harden over the last month is arguably the greatest offensive display the game has ever seen. The Rockets have been decimated from injuries, and Harden has completely taken the team and thrust them onto his shoulders. I mean they’re starting guys who are on 10-day contracts and fresh out of the G-League, but it doesn’t matter. Since December 12th, Harden is averaging north of 45 points per game. That’s absurd. On the season Harden is averaging north of 35ppg. Almost 6 points ahead of his closest competition. Harden’s offensive abilities are unmatched. He’s already acquired the league’s assist title, scoring title, and an MVP. He’s likely about to double-up on the MVP hardware by the end of this season.
STEPHEN CURRY – GUARD – GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
The 3x NBA champ and greatest shooter in NBA history is off to another insane year. His ability to shoot the three is the greatest of all time. Curry has already hit 10 or more three’s in a game three times this season. No other player has more than that in their entire careers. Curry is averaging just a shade under 30ppg this season, and shooting lights out once again. He’s the starting Western Conference point guard, that’s a no brainer.
WESTERN CONFERENCE BENCH
LUKA DONCIC – FORWARD – DALLAS MAVERICKS
The Dallas Mavericks have the steal of the 2018 NBA Draft. They got away with highway robbery. Doncic has been the runaway rookie of the year, and it’s not even close. Luka has been so incredibly great this season, that he’s going to make the all-star team as a rookie. – something that hasn’t been done in over 20 years. He’s been that sensational. On the season the 19-year-old phenom is averaging 20ppg, 7rpg, & 5apg. He’s also displayed an incredibly clutch gene, coming up huge for the Mavericks time and time again down the stretch of games. This is the first of many accolades this kid is going to garner over his career.
NIKOLA JOKIC – CENTER – DENVER NUGGETS
Nikola Jokic might be the shyest superstar of all-time. You never hear him say a word, or question anything. He simply plays basketball, and he plays it at an extremely high level. Want to know an absurd statistic? Nikola Jokic is 9th in the NBA in assists per game! He’s a freaking center. The Nuggets are currently sitting in the 2nd-seed in the West. The Joker is averaging 20ppg, 10rpg, & 8apg. He’s an easy selection for his first all-star appearance, and well deserving.
DAMIAN LILLARD – GUARD – PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Lillard is a man of little words on the court. You’ll find yourself tuning into a Trail Blazers game and not even realize that Dame has a 40 piece. He’s one of the most authentic players in the NBA and has always let his game do the talking. Lillard is on pace for his fourth NBA all-star selection, and rightfully so. The Trail Blazers currently sit fourth in the standings of the West. Lillard is averaging 26ppg, 4rpg, & 6apg. Slightly above his career averages. You could argue him to be an All-NBA selection again this season as well, and if selected it would be his fourth time. Dame is not only one of the best guards in the league, but one of the best players.
ANTHONY DAVIS – FORWARD – NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
Is there anything Anthony Davis can’t do?? The man is a one-man wrecking crew, and the Pelicans need to get him help ASAP before it’s too late. Davis has been playing for the Pelicans for six years now, and they’ve never done anything to give him a chance to make a run at a championship. The closest they came was acquiring Demarcus Cousins, but who really thought that pairing two bigs in a guard dominate, 3-point shooting league was going to lead to championships. The Pelicans have wasted their AD years, and are now on their last lifeline with the superstar. On the season AD is averaging 29ppg & 13rpg. He’s a walking double-double, and soon to be Laker. You heard it here first.
DE’AARON FOX – GUARD – SACRAMENTO KINGS
De’Aaron Fox has been magnificent this season. As a rookie last year, Fox flashed his oozing potential, especially in the open court where he’s arguably the fastest player in the league. However, he struggled running the offense mightily in the half-court sets. This year has been an entirely different story, and for the first time in over a decade, the Kings are relevant. They are currently one game out of the 8th seed for the last Western Conference playoff spot. No one on the team has a more significant impact than Fox, and his second-year improvements jump off the screen when you watch his game. You East Coasters who struggle staying up for the West Coast matchups, make it a point to catch some De’Aaron Fox action this season, you won’t be disappointed. On the year Swipa is averaging 17ppg & 7apg. His assist average has him sitting in the top-10 in the league, in just his second year. This kid is going to be special.
RUSSELL WESTBROOK – GUARD – OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Russell Westbrook is the most underappreciated player in NBA history. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s insane to me that he doesn’t get more credit for the contributions he makes on the court night in and night out. Instead, the critics want to label his contributions as “stat padding”. That’s absolutely idiotic! Isn’t the whole purpose of playing the game to help your team in as many ways as possible? If you can get a rebound, an assist, or a bucket, and it’s going to benefit your team, why wouldn’t you do it? Russell Westbrook is the hardest playing baller in the NBA, and it’s not even close. We’re talking about a point guard who averages over ten rebounds per game. That’s amazing. What’s even more amazing is the fact that he’s in the midst of his 3rd consecutive season where he’s averaging a triple-double! Ridiculous. If it was so easy, and just “stat padding”, then why would everyone not put up his numbers? Because they can’t, that’s why. On the season Westbrook is averaging 22pg, 11rpg, and 11apg. Keep doing you, Russ.
KLAY THOMPSON – GUARD – GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
As much as I want to give this last and final Western Conference spot to Derrick Rose, Klay deserves it. Klay scores so easily it’s almost unfathomable. If someone told you today that he was averaging 22ppg on the season, you’d look at them cross-eyed. It doesn’t even make sense. How one team has three players all averaging over 22ppg is insane. But, that’s exactly what the Golden State Warriors have. Klay is the best catch and shoot shooter in the history of the game. Any breathing room at all and he’s going to make you pay. The best part about Klay’s game is his confidence in his shot. He can be in the middle of a slump, missing ten straight, and he’ll still shoot that 11th shot with the same confidence. That confidence in himself is the exact reason he’s a 3x NBA Champ and now a 5x all-star.
EASTERN CONFERENCE STARTERS
KYRIE IRVING – GUARD – BOSTON CELTICS
Uncle Drew started the season off a little slow, which is expected when someone is coming back from offseason knee surgery. Now in mid-season form, there’s no better guard in the Eastern Conference. Irving has put on a clinic as of late and been single-handedly carrying the Celtics. His teammates need to get it together because there is no way a roster with this much talent should be sitting in the 5th spot in the East standings. Kyrie is shooting over 50% from the field for the first time in his career. On the season he’s averaging 24ppg, 5rpg, & 7apg. Again, he’s still the best guard in the East.
BRADLEY BEAL – GUARD – WASHINGTON WIZARDS
Bradley Beal is in the middle of a career-changing year. It’s almost like the injury to John Wall has unlocked a version of Beal we’ve never seen before. He’s been carrying the Wizards as they’ve won seven of their last ten and are in contention for the Eastern Conference playoffs. Beal has accumulated his first two career triple-doubles since John Wall went down. For much of his career, he’s been viewed as a complementary star, stuck in second fiddle. Now with Wall being out, he’s had the chance to show his ability to be a teams number one option, and boy has he delivered. Beal is putting up a career-high 25 points per game to go along with 5rpg & 5apg.
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO – FORWARD – MILWAUKEE BUCKS
When Giannis was drafted if you had told me he was going to be the best basketball player on the planet I wouldn’t have been able to control my laughter. Now, five years later, it’s becoming more and more realistic right before our eyes. The Greek Freak is one consistent jump shot away from earning the honor of being the world’s best basketball player. Whether or not he’ll overcome that hump is yet to be determined, but what is prevalent is his constant year to year improvement. This year is no different. Giannis has his Bucks sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings and is dunking his way along the season. At 6’11” he’s the most terrorizing force in transition that the league has to offer. His ability to check-in at Center make the Bucks a matchup nightmare. On the season Giannis is putting up 27ppg, 13rpg, & 6apg. The MVP would be his if James Harden didn’t exist.
KAWHI LEONARD – FORWARD – TORONTO RAPTORS
It’s insane to think that once upon a time, coming out of college, Kawhi Leonard was labeled as an athletic project. Fast forward eight years, and he’s the most prolific two-way force the game has to offer. Kawhi Leonard is the only player on the planet capable of locking down your favorite player and also dropping 30 points on him. If you were wondering how he would respond to his leg injuries that kept him out most of last season; your answer is, magnificently. The Raptors haven’t lost a beat by acquiring Leonard for DeRozan, and have instead improved their odds to reach the NBA Finals. Leonard is having the best scoring season of his career, averaging 28ppg & 8rpg. Defensively, he’s been his usual disruptive force, and it’s rubbed off on his teammates. The Raptors have arguably the best defense in the NBA. Expect a deep playoff run from the North this season.
JOEL EMBIID – CENTER – PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
Joel Embiid is the most dominant center in the NBA since Shaquille O’Neal. The footwork he possesses for someone of his size should be illegal. Self-renowned as “The Process”, he’s now in the process of dominating every single one of his opponents. There hasn’t been a center with the footwork or touch that Embiid possesses since Hakeem. It’s crazy to think that the frail kid we saw at Kansas four years ago has blossomed into this. Andrew Wiggins garnered all of the hype from that Kansas team. Four years later and Andrew Wiggins isn’t even a ¼ of the player that Embiid is. Embiid is in the midst of cementing himself as the best center of this generation, and there isn’t even any competition. Embiid’s averaging 27ppg, 13rpg, & 2bpg.
EASTERN CONFERENCE BENCH
JIMMY BUTLER – GUARD – PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
Jimmy Butler has found himself under the microscope for much of the NBA season. First, it was him demanding a trade, and not getting his wish. So, then he took it upon himself to show up at practice and beat the starters with the 3rd stringers, cementing his worth. Next, it was him expressing himself to head coach Brett Brown about being unhappy with his role. You can keep it. All of that media stuff is irrelevant. What’s relevant is what he does on the court, and what Butler does is contribute on both offense and defense. Jimmy B is one of the best defending shooting guards in the entire NBA. He’s also one of the premiere offensive minded shooting guards. The guy just understands how to play the game of basketball, and has made positive contributions wherever he’s suited up. Butler is averaging 20ppg, 5rpg, & 4apg.
BEN SIMMONS – GUARD – PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
When you watch Simmons play, you’d think he’s a 10-year veteran. The poise in which he plays the game with is remarkable for someone in just their second year as a professional. While Simmons has limited shooting potential right now, he does pretty much everything exceptionally well. At 6’10” he possesses incredible size for the point guard position and is a matchup nightmare for every opponent. Much like Giannis, if Simmons could figure out his jump shot he’d have the potential to one day be the best player in the world. Right now Simmons season averages are 17ppg, 10rpg, and 8apg. He’s been arguably the second-best point guard in the Eastern Conference behind Kyrie Irving all season long and has earned the right to be selected to his first all-star game.
BLAKE GRIFFIN – FORWARD – LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
I don’t know if it was the Kardashian curse, or what, but ever since Blake and Kendall have split up, he’s become unstoppable. Griffin’s game in its current form is the most versatile he’s been in his career. The guy is hitting stepback 3s on the regular for crying out loud. Where was this Blake when he played for “Lob City”? Griffin is a testament that players can still improve dramatically ten years into their careers. A couple of years ago he was hesitant with his jump shot, and now he’s welcoming them. He’s also single-handedly keeping the Pistons relevant. This is a career year for Griffin. He’s averaging 26ppg, 8rpg, & 5apg.
NIKOLA VUCEVIC – FORWARD – ORLANDO MAGIC
It’s bizarre to think of the Orlando Magic having an all-star, as they’ve been entirely irrelevant since the days of Dwight Howard. But, Nikola Vucevic has been tremendous all season long. Throughout his career, he’s always flashed the offensive abilities to be a teams go-to option, but he never could seem to develop any consistency. I’m not sure if it was the coaching changes, or what, but this season has been different. Vucevic has been efficient and consistent all season long, and in return, he has the Magic on the cusps of their first playoff berth in months. Vuc is averaging 21ppg this season, the most he’s scored in his career. He’s also contributing 12rpg.
KEMBA WALKER – GUARD – CHARLOTTE HORNETS
You know, if you’re a fan of basketball, it’s damn near impossible not to root for this guy. Kemba Walker is the definition of hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Walker doesn’t possess the size, athleticism, or physical attributes that many of his fellow colleagues possess. But, that hasn’t mattered at all. He’s worked his butt off to become a force to be reckoned with. Offensively, you won’t find a more talented guard. Kemba can finish inside, beat you off the dribble, or pull up right in your face. He’s absolutely fearless, and it’s a joy to watch. He’s gotten better and better over the past three seasons, and he’s done it again this year. Kemba is producing 25ppg & 6apg. He’s a lock for his 3rd all-star appearance.
D’ANGELO RUSSELL – GUARD – BROOKLYN NETS
D’Angelo Russell is finally putting it all together, and it’s been awesome to watch. He’s come up with bigtime baskets time and time again and currently has the Brooklyn Nets in the 6-seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. It’s weird to picture the Nets battling for the playoffs, but you can credit this guy for having them in this position. It was a toss-up for me between D’Lo or Spencer Dinwiddie to be the Nets player selected to their first all-star game, but I thought Russell was slightly more deserving. He’s blossomed into their leader and has taken over games late time and time again. Coming into this season, Russell had only eclipsed 30 points eight times in his career. He’s already equaled that number this season, and we are only at the halfway point. On the year Russell averages 19ppg & 6apg.
PASCAL SIAKAM – FORWARD – TORONTO RAPTORS
Siakam is earned the last and final all-star spot. Many of you may wonder how he is being selected over his teammate Kyle Lowry, but simply put, he’s been more valuable. Siakam’s versatility is what makes the Raptors so good. When Lowry was out, they were equally as impressive with Fred Van Fleet running the show. Siakam and Leonard together are the scariest wing pairing we have in the league. Defensively they cause absolute chaos with the length and size they can display. Offensively Siakam has been brilliant. He’s developed a knockdown corner jump shot, can get to the basket at will, and is a better facilitator than he’s given credit for. He is the Toronto Raptors X-factor. On the year he’s averaging 15ppg & 7rpg.