NBA All-Stars 2007-2008
Will Camby finally make an All-Star team?
Voting for the 2007-2008 NBA All-Stars is now over and the starters have been named. As usual, NBA fans have screwed it up and voted for popular players (cough, Carmelo Anthony) rather than the most deserving. In this post, I will do my best to choose the top 12 players in each conference. This season has been crazy and its been harder than I can ever remember to make these picks, especially in the Western Conference at the guard position. Up first…
Eastern Conference Starters
(*see 82Games for more on Roland Rating)
C – Dwight Howard 22.0 pts, 14.9 reb, 2.6 blk, .596 FG%, +11.3 Roland Rating
Howard’s been an absolute beast for Orlando, drawing comparisons to a young Shaquille O’Neal. On both ends of the court, he has improved leads and bounds even over last year (when he was excellent). Howard deserves MVP consideration, his only weakness being his poor FT percentage.
F – Kevin Garnett 19.2 pts, 9.9 reb, 1.4 blk, .551 FG%, +15.4 Roland Rating
Possibly the MVP of the first half, KG has led an amazing turnaround in Boston. He is the most intense player in the NBA, bar none. Garnett’s tenacity seems to have infected the entire Celtics roster and right now he is playing at a championship level for the best team in the league.
F – Lebron James 29.7 pts, 7.6 reb, 7.4 ast, 2.0 stl, +18.0 Roland Rating
Lebron is the definition of a one-man gang for the Cavs. The Cavs are one of the worst teams in the NBA without Lebron and with him they are a legitimate Championship threat. His combination of size, strength, skill and drive is unprecedented… and he’s only 23. A +18 Roland Rating? Lebron is just ridiculous.
G– Chauncey Billups 18.0 pts, 7.1 ast, 91% FT, 41% 3PT, +14.3 Roland Rating
Chauncey Billups is once again the driving force for the Pistons. His strength creates an incredibly tough matchup for most PGs in the league. Billups is solid and consistent on both ends of the court and his late game heroics are well-documented. He is the one player the Pistons cannot afford to lose.
G – Paul Pierce 20.3 pts, 5.6 reb, 5.1 ast, +11.1 Roland Rating
Now that Danny Ainge has surrounded Pierce with some talent, he’s showing that he can be the go-to guy on the offensive end for one of the best teams in the league. Pierce’s game has always been underrated in my opinion. Obviously, he can create his own shot and fill up the scoresheet, but he also a great passer, rebounder and solid defensive player. The addition of Garnett seems to have invigorated Pierce as his intensity has been more consistent this year then in the past few.
Eastern Conference Bench
Chris Bosh 22.5 pts, 9.2 reb, 1.1 blk, 85% FT, +11.6 Roland Rating
Bosh is Mr Consistency. You can pretty much pencil this guy in for 20 points, 10 boards, good shooting and solid defensive play. While he probably won’t in an MVP award, Bosh is easily and All-Star caliber player and the heart of the Toronto Raptors.
Caron Butler 20.4 pts, 6.8 reb, 4.7 ast, 1.8 stl, 89% FT, +10.2 Roland Rating
Antawn Jamison 21.3, 10.4 reb, +12.7 Roland Rating
Butler and Jamison have stepped up huge for injured Gilbert Arenas, keeping the Wizards in the thick of the playoff race in the East. If the playoffs started today, the Wizards would be the 5 seed in the East… and outside these two guys, this is a terrible roster. Roland ratings of 12.7 and 10.2, respectively, place Jamison and Butler alongside the elite players in the NBA. Butler has done everything this year for the Wizards while Jamison has been immense averaging 20+ points and 10+ rebounds for the first time in his career.
Jason Kidd 11.3 pts, 10.6 ast, 8.3 reb, 1.6 stl, +3.6 Roland Rating
Kidd, having perhaps his worst season in recent memory still makes the sqaud in my opinion. Other than Steve Nash, no one else comes close to making their teammates better offensive players than J-Kidd. Plus his 8.3 rebounds from the PG position are insane.
Josh Smith 18.2 pts, 8.2 reb, 3.4 blk, 1.9 stl, +5.6 Roland Rating
J-Smoove has been a force at both ends of the court for the Hawks. This year, Smith’s basketball skills seem to finally be catching up to his freakish athletic ability. His offseason work with Calvin Murphy and Hakeem Olajuwon has helped him average a career best 18.2 points. And defensively, he has always been a beast. He’s second in the league in blocks and 11th on steals while averaging an eye-popping 8.2 boards from the SF position. And while an 18-22 record might not seem that great, the Hawks are actually in position to make the playoffs for the first time in 9 years. The only complaint with Smith is his attitude and tendency to lose his temper.
Michael Redd 23.0 pts, 4.7 reb, 2.0 3PT, 86% FT, +6.2 Roland Rating
The Bucks aren’t having much of a season, but Redd can hardly be blamed for that. Redd is having another tremendous season (especially shooting the ball) and might be the only thing keeping the Bucks from having the most ping-pong balls in the upcoming lottery.
Gerald Wallace 21.3 pts, 6.2 reb, 2.2 stl, 3.6 ast, +4.9 Roland Rating
Wallace has always had the defense and his offense has been growing leaps and bounds over the pat few years. This year, he has improved his outside touch and increased his scoring average over 20 points for the first time in his career. His production has been more consistent this year than in year’s past and he has meshed well with addition Jason Richardson. The Bobcats disappointing season can be attributed to the regression of Emeka Okefor rather than the performance of Wallace.
Just Missed the Cut:
A few days ago, when I originally made my picks, Ray Allen held down the last spot. Ray has been outstanding for Boston for most of this year, hitting a number of huge shots. However, with his shooting struggles since the New Year and a few recent losses for the Celts, Allen dropped of my ballot in favor of Wallace. Joe Johnson, who’s still only 26 years old, is putting in a season that demanded serious consideration for the All-Star squad: 21 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. His 41% FG are his lowest in 5 years, though. Dwyane Wade, as amazing as his is, has not been 100% this year and I just can’t justify an All-Star spot for any player on a team with a .214 winning percentage, coming off a 15 game losing streak. The Pistons have a number of players that could make a case to join Billups on the All-Star team; in my opinion, none moreso than Tayshaun Prince. Prince’s Roland Rating of 5.6 is second on the Pistons. He is an excellent defender, but his tendency to disappear on offense is what keeps him off my ballot. Hedo Turkoglu (who was outstanding today against Boston) and Rashard Lewis have put in great seasons for the Magic and also just missed the cut.
Western Conference Starters
C – Andrew Bynum 13.1 pts, 10.2 reb, 2.1 blk, .636 FG%, +11.1 Roland Rating
I know he is injured, but he’s been the best center in the conference so far this year. Bynum’s emergence is the main difference in the Lakers this season vs last. Without Bynum in the lineup, the Lakers are an average team; with him they are title contenders. Plus there’s a good change that Kobe is long gone if not for the young kid’s improvement this season. 64% FGs… are you kidding me?!
F – Tim Duncan 19.3 pts, 11.1 reb, 1.8 blk, .515 FG%, +8.6 Roland Rating
Tim Duncan is Tim Duncan is Tim Duncan. He’s one of the top all-time players and is still playing close to his best ball.
F – Dirk Nowitzki 22.1 pts, 8.5 reb, 3.7 ast, 87% FT, +12.7 Roland Rating
It seems like Dirk is the forgotten man this year. After his huge season last year followed by the Mavs early exit from the playoffs, no one in the media seems to wan to even acknowledge the big German. But Dallas only 1 game out of the top spot in the West and Dirk is leading the way, once again. His stats are down a bit from last year, but he’s still one of the most feared players in the league.
G – Kobe Bryant 27.7 pts, 6.0 reb, 5.1 ast, 2.0 stl, +13.1 Roland Rating
Kobe has done more this year than any in his career to make the players around him better. He game seems to have matured as he has shown more confidence in his teammates and its paid off for the Lakers. Kobe is not only a great offensive players, but also an outstanding defender. He is a leading MVP candidate and one of the top 5 players in the league, without a doubt.
G – Chris Paul 20.6 pts, 10.5 ast, 2.6 stl, 88% FT, +13.1 Roland Rating
In the most shocking development of the NBA season so far, Paul has led the New Orleans Hornets to the best record in the Western Conference. He can do it all: pass, shot, drive, defend and now is becoming a leader in only his third year in the league. A top 5 candidate for the MVP, I see no weakness in Paul’s game at the moment. And he’s only 22!
Western Conference Bench
Steve Nash 17.7 pts, 12.0 ast, .519 FG%, 90% FT, +13.9 Roland Rating
The two-time MVP Nash is having another spectacular season for Phoenix. Who cares if he can play much defense? Nash changes the game in the way that no one else in the league can. He’s the best passer and probably the best shooter in the NBA and he’s an absolute warrior as well. The Suns are percentage points behind the Hornets for best record in the West right now and if they end up with the number one seed, look for Nash’s to be right in the thick of the MVP race once again.
Brandon Roy 19.3 pts, 5.6 ast, 4.5 reb, +4.0 Roland Rating
Roy has been the catalyst for the Blazers return to prominence this season. He can do it all, is super quick and has the ability to seemingly get to the basket at will. He has been versatile and consistent all season long and cannot be denied an All-Star slot.
Allen Iverson 27.1 pts, 6.1 ast, 2.1 stl, +9.5 Roland Rating
Iverson seems to be getting better with age. Playing almost 42 minutes/night, Iverson has matched last seasons 45% FG and increased his scoring average to 27.1 points, while leading the Nuggets to a surprising division lead. He is thriving in George Karl’s system and is a better player on both ends of the court than teammate Carmelo Anthony.
Josh Howard 20.8 pts, 7.6 reb, +9.0 Roland Rating
The jack-of-all-trade Howard has shown steady improvement over the first 5 years of his career. A borderline All-Star the past couple of years, Howard has cemented his place on the team this year as he is on pace for career highs in points, rebounds, assists, FG% and FT attempts.
Marcus Camby 9.4 pts, 14.4 reb, 3.9 blk, +6.6 Roland Rating
Camby is an absolute force on the defensive end, pulling down 14+ boards, blocking almost 4 shots per game and altering many more. As George Karl said today, Marcus would be the hardest player on the Nuggets to replace and is deserving of his first All-Star game appearance. Camby runs the court extremely well for a big man and has a knack for getting to loose balls.
Manu Ginobili 19.0 pts, 4.8 reb, 4.2 ast, 1.7 stl, +12.3 Roland Rating
Considering the Spurs success over the years, its surprising that Manu doesn’t seem to get the credit he fully deserves. Ginobili is a sparkplug on offense, a pest on defense and a general nuisance for anyone he plays against. With the injury to Duncan and a decline in some of the Spurs role players, Manu’s had to carry more of the load this year and has responded with a career highs in points, rebounds and assists.
David West 19.7 pts, 9.3 reb, +8.8 Roland Rating
My last spot goes to the underrated David West. West has been a monster on both ends of the court this year. His consistent play has largely been overlooked as Paul seemingly gets all the national hype out of New Orleans. But it has not been a one man show down in the Big Easy. West’s Roland Rating proves how integral he has been for the Hornet’s success. He might be flying under the radar, but he gets my nod for the All-Star team.
Alternate (Injury Replacement For Andrew Bynum)
Yao Ming 22.1 pts, 10.7 reb, 2.5 blk, .502 FG%, +6.8 Roland Rating
Although his stats are down this year, Yao is still a tough matchup and you can’t argue with his numbers. I still maintain that Yao could be so much more with his size and touch. How a 7 foot 6 inch guy gets substituted for defensive purposes is still incomprehensible to me.
Just Missed the Cut:
The toughest omission had to be Baron Davis. The Baron has been spectacular for Golden State, averaging 22 points and 8 assists with a Roland Rating of 10.8. Davis probably would have been my choice to start if he was in the East, but he barely misses out on my Western Conference team due to the depth of outstanding guard candidates this year. In a brutal year to choose only 12 players, other tough luck omissions include Shawn Marion (only averaging 15.7 PPG) , Tony Parker (see Baron Davis), Deron Williams (see Tony Parker), Carlos Boozer (Roland Rating not as high as competition) and Amare Stoudamire (plays no defense).
So there you have it! Feel free to let me know what you think.
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