Reportedly there’s been very little movement from the last time ballot results were released on Jan. 3, which is what the projected starters below are based on. Picks for snubs and reserves are listed below the starting lineups.
All-Star weekend runs from Feb. 15-17, and will take place at Houston’s Toyota Center.
G: Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
G: Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
F: LeBron James, Miami Heat
F: Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
C: Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
Who should make it: There are very few arguments for the forward spots, and at shooting guard in the East. James is continuing his campaign from the last few years as the game’s best player, and Anthony is scoring and shooting at a record pace, while leading the resurgent New York Knicks.
Tyson Chandler’s defense, rebounding, field goal percentage, along with Andrew Bynum’s injury, make him the East’s best big man by default. Garnett is still getting by with the Boston fan base, and has played well, but the Knicks have a better record and their improved defense starts with Chandler.
Wade is the starting two-guard by default, as well. He played through his knee surgery recovery, but there are few shooting guards to choose from.
Rondo leads the league in assists, even though the Celtics score at an average clip. Second-year point guard Kyrie Irving suffers because of a smaller Cleveland Cavalier fan base and the Cavs' NBA-worst record. But his 23 points, 5.6 assists, and 1.7 steals per game exceed every other East point guard’s production.
Reserves: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland, G; Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia, G; Luol Deng, Chicago, F; Josh Smith, Atlanta, F; Joakim Noah, Chicago, C.
Holiday has hit career-highs in every category, and has become increasingly more difficult to defend. Deng and Noah have kept the Bulls more than afloat in Derrick Rose’s absence, with Noah banking career-highs across the board. Smith is the lone bright spot for the struggling Hawks, and is still a much better choice than the aging Paul Pierce or Chris Bosh. The East needs a shot of youth, and every reserve listed here could put on a better show than past-their-prime veterans.
G: Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers
G: Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
F: Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers
C: Dwight Howard, L.A. Lakers
Who should make it: The guard selections are no brainers. Paul is the early MVP favorite for arguably the league’s best and most complete team. Bryant is the NBA’s leading scorer and is shooting better than he has in his entire career. Durant is anther obvious choice, shooting 52/40/90 so far. Griffin will be voted for his alley-oops and not his overall game, as he currently has career-lows in points, rebounds and shooting, and is playing five fewer minutes than last season, but his per-minute numbers are still down. The same goes for Howard, who will get selected because of previous work, and not for his play in the 2012-2013 season.
Reserves: James Harden, Houston, G; Stephen Curry Golden State, G; Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City, G; Zach Randolph, Memphis, F; David Lee, Golden State, F; Tim Duncan, San Antonio, C.
Harden’s first month with the Rockets would have gotten him the starting spot if Bryant didn’t exist, but he’s fourth in the league in scoring and should be named a reserve. Curry hasn’t missed a game all season, and lived up to the potential that made him a lottery pick in 2009. Westbrook continues to demonstrate his exceptional skills as perhaps the most athletic point guard in the NBA, though he has seen a minor dip in field-goal percentage.