NBA Watch: Justifying the NBA All-Stars
Derrick Rose: I've said it time and again; Rose looks to be the focal point of the Chicago Bulls. The 23-year-old Chicago native is in his third consecutive All-Star season and I see him maintaining that run for a number of years to come. I'd have been surprised if the reigning league MVP didn't make the NBA All-Star game.
Dwyane Wade: Shooting guard and eight-time NBA All-Star, Wade has been good this season so far, averaging 21 points a game. It's always nice to see players with potential perform. He's making a return from injury and I believe that the injury was a boost for team chemistry.
LeBron James: I'd have been surprised if James wasn't voted into the NBA All-Star game; this guy has been on fire this season. He's an eight-time All-Star, like his teammate Wade, and I'm sure he'll have plenty more. The only thing that bugs James right now is the fact that he's missing an NBA ring.
Carmelo Anthony: To be really honest with you, I haven't heard much about Anthony this season. True, he's averaging 22 points a game, which is great, but most of the news that I've seen out of New York has been concerning Amar'e Stoudemire, so this is great news for the former Denver man. This will be his fifth All-Star appearance and he is surely going to try to make the most of it.
Dwight Howard: Superman Howard is one of the most coveted players in the league. I know the Los Angeles Lakers were eyeing him during the off-season. This will be the sixth straight All-Star appearance for the player, who's won three NBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards. Howard has started all but one game in his career, and that is something special. He's definite All-Star material and he proved it by getting the most votes at a little over 1.6 million.
Chris Paul: The transfer saga of the off-season, Paul is doing justice to the faith that the Clippers put in him. An All-Star appearance, his fifth in a row, is justified. Paul might not have the flashiest point per game stat, but at nearly nine assists a game and almost 19 points a game, he's impressive.
Kobe Bryant: Another perennial All-Star, Los Angeles Lakers' main man Bryant somehow always seems to find form every year. A 40-point night with an injured wrist seems to be the order of the day. Bryant is definitely up for a lot of praise once he eventually retires, but before that day comes, I expect more MVP-type performances from the Lakers' lynchpin.
Kevin Durant: What can I say about Durant? It's hard to criticize him because he's been great so far in his short career. You could say that Durant is the face of the Oklahoma City team and their success largely depends on his form. Remember, this is a guy who's started every game he's ever played and he's only 23. Having played in three All-Star games in a row, Durant definitely has many more to come in the future.
Blake Griffin: Big Griffin has been a beast. The Clippers have one of the best young players in the league. His recent monster dunk over Kendrick Perkins went viral, and is only one of the reasons why he is an All-Star. There is a mean swagger to his style of play and his dunking ability is one of the best I have seen in quite a while. One thing is certain; Griffin will have a successful career in basketball's big leagues.
Andrew Bynum: Bynum is another player whom I haven't heard much about this year, probably because most of the news from the Lakers concerns Bryant. Looking at his stats, Bynum is averaging 17.1 points per game, his best ever. He's polled in over a million votes, so basketball fans are noticing his efforts. This year marks Bynum's first All-Star appearance, so the 24 year old is definitely progressing in the correct direction.
The weekend of February 26 is definitely going to be a big one for basketball fans, given that the league is a truncated one because of the lockout. The rest of the All- Stars will be announced in due time. Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge are amongst my favourites. The NBA website reports that Canadian Steve Nash could make the cut at 38, and I know I would love to see that materialize.