by Tyler Gobble
A bunch of piddly records humming out of the East side in this early part of the season, with only two teams above .500, a clusterfuck of mediocrity if you will. The notable guys for me are the young guys carrying their teams best they can. A lot of 15-20 points per game hoopheads. A lot of hustling, scrappy guys. It makes me wish I could put pairs–Andre Drummond and Brandon Jennings putting Detroit back in the playoff hunt, Evan Turner and Michael Carter-Williams double-troubling in Philly, Jeff Teague and Al Horford doing the little-big, one-two punch for the 3rd place Hawks. Nevertheless, not allowed. So, here is the roster I’d scoot out (however unlikely) for this year’s professional pickup game:
Andre Drummond— Despite a 10-13 record, the Pistons kinda look like a real team again and are only separated in their 7th spot from the 3rd seed by a couple games. And manning the middle, Drummond is the real deal down low–a volume rebounder (12.7 per game), an active defender, efficient scorer on put backs and the like–surely making those Pistons bruisers of the past proud.
Paul George — It’s gonna be hard to weasel the MVP from Lebron, but dang, I think George is making a loud case, right? No doubt star of the best team, record-wise, in the League, and with his scoring per game jumping each year–7 to 12 to 17 to now nearly 25–and as always locked-in on D, no one is playing better on both ends of the floor, besides (maybe?) Lebron, than this fella right here.
Lebron James — Everyone knows the start of the stat line, but further down is what truly makes this fella tops: his shooting efficiency–58.4 FG% and 43.3 3FG%. What else can I say? And absolutely, he has the best shot of breaking Wilt’s 42 points in an All-Star game records, if he chose to muster up the fight.
John Wall — Can John Wall be a franchise superstar? No idea, I’m just some guy in a hat, but right now he’s an assist machine, who can explode in the point category, who is finally showing some intensity on defense, who has a team of cast-offs like Nene and Martell Webster (oh and Al Harrington!) in the 6th seed.
Evan Turner — Maybe I should’ve stuck Michael Carter-Williams (league league in steals, team leader in assists) in this spot, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Turner. Yes, I have a void in my heart for a smooth wingman, team leader fella since Brandon Roy deteriorated, so maybe I’m hoping Turner is/can be that. Anywhichaway, he’s playing great ball for Philly, just like this (AI approved! I think! Ha!):
By far the better conference, top-to-bottom, and maybe not surprisingly, this is more of the veterans side of the league. But All Star spots for me have to be dished to some of the young(ish) stars, carrying young teams and/or surprising teams on their big ass shoulders. Or in two cases, impossible-to-ignore playmakers. Dun-dun-dun, my Western Conference All-Star selections:
LaMarcus Aldridge — LBJ and P-George are better ball players, but does anyone mean more to their team? The Blazers, who I love, who I predicted would hobble into the 11th spot in the West, are in that number one spot, with big thanks to this big guy. Aldridge is becoming what us Blazers fans always hoped–Rasheed without the temper.
Kevin Durant — The kid who can do backflips off the swing. The gal playing killer fiddle at 5. Kevin Durant. Some people I just shake my head at–jealous but mostly in awe. Burning towards another scoring title, this spot is his until he stops playing.
Kevin Love — Another wild, inexplicable human, Kevin Love is a mountain. Not only the league’s top boarder, he averages over 4 assists a game. And the T-Wolves are .500 (would be tied for 3rd seed in East)! THE DUDE HAD A 30-30 GAME:
Chris Paul — His assist and steals numbers, of course, are insane, duh. CP3 has his groove in LA and might throw lobs real far into next year. Also, it’d be a damn shame to have an All-Star game without this guy and his fancy-pants passes.
Lilliard — Maybe Steph Curry should get this spot, but the Blazers have that best record badge right now, and Lillard as a second year pro is at the helm, doing the right things–20 ppg/5.6 apg, 41 3FG%, and only 2 turnovers a ball game. Lilliard and Aldridge are battling CP3 and Blake Griffin for this season’s Stockton-Malone award.
Who you wanna see in this year’s All-Star game?