OPUS Mag

Far from timid • Caveat Lector

Who SHOULD be in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game?

Who SHOULD be in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game?

             Eastern Conference

                     Starters

Frontcourt

Jimmy Butler - Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have been extremely inconsistent this season, which explains why they're hovering around the .500 mark, but none of the blame can be placed on Jimmy Butler. He has gotten even better this year and he’s been going crazy the past two weeks, with scoring outputs of 40, 42 & 52 during that span.

Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks

The Greek Freak has arguably been the best player in the East this season, as he’s officially arrived as a bonafide star. He should be locked in as an All-Star starter for the next decade.

LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers

Best player on the planet.

Backcourt

DeMar Derozan – Toronto Raptors

Many thought Derozan may have peaked after last season, but he’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. After signing a new deal for $139 mil and grabbing a gold medal at the Olympics in the offseason, Derozan has looked like a man on a mission this season. He’s averaging a career high 28 points a night, and he arguably has the best midrange game in the league.

Kyrie Irving – Cleveland Cavaliers

Uncle Drew is having the best season of his career so far, as he’s emerged as the Cavs go-to player in the clutch. He’s also quickly putting to bed any debate as to whether he's the best teammate to ever play alongside King James.

Reserves

Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers

With the pressure of winning a championship now gone, Kevin Love has finally regained his Minnesota form, as he’s back to his 20 & 10 ways.  He was my starter; however, that was before Jimmy Butler started going crazy.

Kyle Lowry – Toronto Raptors

Lowry continues to get better as he gets older. This year he’s averaging career-highs in points and rebounds. Arguably Toronto’s most important player, Lowry should be in line for a big new contract in the offseason.

Paul George – Indiana Pacers

The Pacers haven't been as good as many thought they would be heading into the season, but PG13’s play still has them in the hunt for a top 4 seed in the East. He’s shooting a career-high from the field and from three so far this season, and he’s still one of the best two-way players in the game.

Isaiah Thomas – Boston Celtics

In any other season, IT4 would be getting serious MVP consideration – that's how good he's been this year. Channeling his inner Allen Iverson, Thomas is fourth in the league in scoring at 28 per game, and he has the Celtics in position to be a top 2 seed in the East in the playoffs.

John Wall – Washington Wizards

Wall is often forgotten about when the best point guards in the league are mentioned, and he's made it clear he doesn't like it. This season he’s playing the best basketball of his career, averaging 23 points along with 10 assist a night. He's been the best point guard in the East this season, as he’s been asked to carry a much heavier load than his counterparts just to keep a mediocre Wizards team alive in the playoff hunt.

Kemba Walker – Charlotte Hornets

Walker has the Hornets in line for their first back to back playoff appearance since they were led by another All-Star point guard by the name of Baron Davis. Walker, like most of his peers at the point guard position, is having the best year of his career and he continues to be one of the best players in the league during crunch time.

Hassan Whiteside- Miami Heat

The Heat have stunk this season, but Whiteside has done his part, averaging 17 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. He's been the best big man in the East so far this year, and he's lived up to that big contract Pat Riley gave him in the offseason.

Western Conference

Starters

Frontcourt

DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento Kings

His antics have been at an all-time high this season, but fortunately for the Kings so has his production on the court. Cousins has been the best big man in basketball, and he has a horrible Sacramento organization in the hunt for the eight seed out West.

Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans

Davis has bounced back in a big way this year after an injury-riddled 2016 season had people questioning his durability. He's been healthy most of this year and most importantly he's been dominant. AD’s second in the league in scoring at 29 a night, and he's grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds a night as well.

Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors

KD’s transition to the Warriors has been seamless so far, and he's clearly the best player on the team. He shooting a ridiculous 53% from the field, and he's grabbing nearly 9 rebounds a game as well.

Backcourt

James Harden – Houston Rockets

He's been the best player in the NBA this season, and that's saying a lot. He has Houston on pace for a 60 win season, leads the league in assists, and as of now it's his MVP award to lose.

Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder

31-10-10.

Reserves

Steph Curry – Golden State Warriors

He hasn't been the Steph we saw last season, but that was expected with the arrival of KD. He’s still averaging 25 points & 6 assists in what's being called a down year.

Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio Spurs

The clear-cut leader of the Spurs with Tim Duncan gone, and nothing has changed as San Antonio is on pace for another 60 win season.

Chris Paul – Los Angeles Clippers

He's got a spot on this team every year as long as he's healthy. Still the best leader and floor general at the point guard position.

Gordon Hayward – Utah Jazz

The most underrated, under-appreciated player in the league will finally get a spot in the All-Star game this season. The Jazz have remained healthy enough to win consistently, and Hayward’s play has them in position to win a division a title for the first time since the Deron Williams/Carlos Boozer era.

Marc Gasol – Memphis Grizzlies

Many wrote Gasol off after his season ended early in 2016 due to injury, but he's responded with one of his best seasons. He's averaging a career-high 19 points a game and he kept the Grizzlies afloat after Mike Conley went down with an injury early in the season.

Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors

Klay told everyone in the offseason he wouldn't have to sacrifice his numbers this season, and he’s backed it up. He's still averaging nearly 22 per game, and he's shooting a career-high 47% from the field. Don't forget, he scored 60 points in 29 minutes in a game earlier this season.

Damian Lilliard – Portland Trailblazers

Before going down with an injury, Lilliard was having the best season of his career. On the season, Lilliard is putting up 26 points on a career-best 45% shooting from the field, and he has a mediocre Portland team an 8th place in the Western Conference.

Congratulations to Zaza Pachulia and all you dirtbags that voted him into the All-Star game.

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