BallnRoll’s Ogi Oroz Predicts the 2018/19 NBA All Star Team
The NBA All-Star game is a little over a month away and voting is in full swing. Fans will choose the 5 starters while coaches and media members will select the remaining 7 reserves for each of the respective conferences. Like every year, the question is whether to select players purely based off of their statistics or to factor in the success that the player’s teams have had thus far in the season.
G: Kyrie Irving:(Boston Celtics – PTS 22.9 / AST 6.6 / REB 4.9)
Undoubtedly the best point guard in the Eastern Conference and arguably the one player whose hands you want the ball in when it comes to crunch time. Irving has not put up spectacular numbers this season, mainly because he is surrounded by so much talent and is attempting fewer shots than in past seasons.
G: Victor Oladipo: (Indiana Pacers – PTS 20.0 / AST 5.3 / REB 6.0)
Oladipo’s numbers are down this season as he has missed some games due to injury and the Pacers have reduced their reliance on the combo guard significantly, but he remains their go-to-guy. Outside of Kyrie, Oladipo has the best clutch time scoring stats for any guard in the NBA this season. The Pacers have gotten off to a fantastic start, to the surprise of many, at 27-13, and look poised to challenge for a top 4 seed in the East.
F: Kawhi Leonard: (Toronto Raptors – PTS 27.3 / AST 3.1 / REB 7.8)
Leonard leads the East in scoring and has led his team to 1stplace in the East. He is arguably the best two-way player in the NBA and it is scary to consider that he has continued to improve as the season has gone on.
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo: (Milwaukee Bucks – PTS 26.6 / AST 6.0 / REB 12.6)
The Greek Freak has evolved from an above-average starter to an All-NBA player, to now being one of the primary candidates for MVP. He also has a great shot of winning the Defensive Player of the Year award this season too. The Bucks have the second best record in the NBA and with Giannis leading them; they will feel as though they have as good a shot as anyone to come out of the Eastern Conference.
F/C: Joel Embiid:(Philadelphia 76ers – PTS 26.7 / AST 3.5 / REB 13.4)
Embiid has put up very impressive numbers so far this season, and like Giannis & Kawhi, he is the defensive anchor of his team. Though the 76ers have gotten off to a slightly disappointing start, Embiid has maintained his elite play and it will be up to the team finding the right balance and chemistry if they want to challenge the other Eastern Conference contenders.
G: Kemba Walker: (Charlotte Hornets – PTS 25.1 / AST 5.8 / REB 4.3)
It is difficult to identify a player in the NBA who has had a supporting cast worse than what Kemba has had for the past couple of seasons. As a result, he continues to put up outstanding numbers, including career-highs in points and assists this season.
G: Kyle Lowry: (Toronto Raptors – PTS 14.4 / AST 9.6 / REB 4.3)
Kyle’s numbers are down this season as he has adapted his game with the arrival of Kawhi by becoming more of a facilitator, dishing out 9.6 assists per game, good enough for second in the NBA. Regardless of Lowry’s numbers, with the best record in the NBA, the Raptors deserve, at least, two all-stars.
G: Bradley Beal: (Washington Wizards – PTS 24.0 / AST 4.8 / REB 4.9)
The Wizards 2018-19 season has been a disaster thus far, however, Beal continues to make his case as the best pure shooting guard in the Eastern Conference. Amongst guards, he his second in scoring in the Eastern Conference and shoots a high percentage from the field.
G/F: Jimmy Butler: (Philadelphia 76ers – PTS 19.1 / AST 3.6 / REB 4.8)
It has been a turbulent season thus far, to say the least for Jimmy Butler. Most recently he has voiced his discontent about how he is being used in Brett Brown’s offense. One thing is for sure, Butler has yet to hit top form but has still managed to put up solid numbers in the meantime.
F: Blake Griffin: (Detroit Pistons – PTS 25.3 / AST 5.2 / REB 8.5)
Griffin is having a fantastic season thus far, averaging a career high 25.3 points per game and almost single-handedly carrying the Pistons. An argument can be made that he would be a legitimate MVP candidate if he had a more reliable supporting cast around him.
F: Khris Middleton(Milwaukee Bucks – PTS 17.7 / AST 4.2 / REB 5.6)
In past seasons, NBA head coaches have shown that they value team records more than individual stats, so by that logic the Bucks deserve at least 2 all-stars and Khris Middleton deserves to make the trip to Charlotte. Middleton’s numbers are not spectacular, but he is a reliable shooter and wing defender.
F/C: Nikola Vucevic: (Orlando Magic – PTS 20.2 / AST 3.7 / REB 12.1)
The final spot if difficult, but Nikola Vucevic gets the edge. Sure, his team is 17-23, but he has taken the next step this season and is averaging career-highs in all of the major categories. Should the Magic wish to trade Vucevic, now would be the time to do so as his value has never been higher.
G: Stephen Curry: (Golden State Warriors – PTS 28.9 / AST 5.5 / REB 5.2)
For the Western Conference, it is mainly status quo. Though Curry has missed 11 games due to injury, he is averaging almost 29 points per game and remains the best point guard in the West. He may not be an MVP candidate this season, but Curry’s style of play has always made him a fan favourite.
G: James Harden: (Houston Rockets – PTS 33.7 / AST 8.7 / REB 5.9)
No, that is not a typo. James Harden is currently averaging 33.7 points per game and based on his last 10 game stretch, that number may even increase. He has simply been unstoppable. Without Chris Paul, teams have devised defensive schemes solely based on limiting Harden and it has not worked. If the season ended today, James Harden would be crowned the 2018-19 MVP.
F: LeBron James:(Los Angeles Lakers – PTS 27.3 / AST 7.1 / REB 8.3)
Not a whole lot to add here. Though currently injured, LeBron has put up great numbers this season and is still arguably the most dominant player in the NBA. He is not in the East anymore, however, and will need to do some heavy lifting in the second half of the season to ensure that the Lakers get into the playoffs.
F: Kevin Durant:(Golden State Warriors – PTS 28.4 / AST 6.1 / REB 7.4)
With various Warriors injured and struggling throughout the season, Durant has been the one constant. Like Irving, his numbers would be Harden-like were it not for the amount of talent that he is surrounded with.
F/C: Anthony Davis:(New Orleans Pelicans – PTS 28.7 / AST 4.4 / REB 13.3)
There is only so much that Anthony Davis can do for the New Orleans Pelicans. If this team wants to keep his services, then at some point they really have to consider shaking up their roster and getting him help. Davis’ numbers speak for themselves and he is arguably the most dominant big man in the NBA.
G: Damian Lillard:(Portland Trailblazers – PTS 26.2 / AST 6.0 / REB 4.6)
Lillard has gotten off to another very impressive start to the season, putting the Blazers on his back and leading them to a 24-17 record thus far, tied for 6thin the West. Lillard has always been known for his clutch play and is among the league leaders in 4thquarter points scored.
G: Russell Westbrook: (Oklahoma City Thunder – PTS 21.2 / AST 10.3 / REB 10.8)
Sure, Westbrook is averaging a triple-double but upon closer inspection, this Westbrook has not been the vintage MVP Westbrook from previous years. His FG%, 3P% and FT% numbers have all dropped at quite an alarming rate and were it not for Paul George the Thunder’s record would be nowhere close to 25-15.
G/F: Paul George: (Oklahoma City Thunder – PTS 26.8 / AST 3.9 / REB 8.0)
George has somewhat quietly regained his old Pacers form and put himself firmly in the MVP conversation. Were it not a fan vote, George would almost certainly be a starter in the Western Conference. Anyone who has closely followed the Thunder this season knows that George has been their most important and most efficient player, on both ends of the court. Thanks in large part to George, the Thunder find themselves in 3rdplace in a very challenging Western Conference.
F: Karl-Anthony Towns: (Minnesota Timberwolves – PTS 22.1 / AST 3.0 / REB 12.3)
After a shaky start, plagued by the Jimmy Butler drama, Towns has rebounded from that initial stretch and put up very solid numbers. Towns will need to maintain, if not elevate his level of play if the Timberwolves plan on making the playoffs this season.
F/C: Nikola Jokic: (Denver Nuggets – PTS 19.2 / AST 7.5 / REB 10.1)
With the Denver Nuggets at the top of the Western Conference (!) and bearing in mind the fact that they have been without three starters for much of the first half of the season, Nikola Jokic simply has to be an all-star. One of the most unique players in the NBA, he leads the Nuggets in points, assists and rebounds, while also being the primary facilitator and playmaker.
G: Demar DeRozan: (San Antonio Spurs – PTS 22.6 / AST 6.4 / REB 6.2)
After years of easily making the Eastern Conference roster, DeRozan just sneaks in here with one of the final roster spots. After a somewhat shaky start, both DeRozan and the Spurs have rebounded nicely and find themselves tied for 6thin the West with a 24-17 record. Demar’s scoring is down, however he has become a more complete player this season, as his assists and rebounding numbers have increased significantly.
F: Tobias Harris:(Los Angeles Clippers – PTS 21.1 / AST 2.2 / REB 8.0)
Harris is having a career-year, averaging career highs in all major categories. As the leading scorer of a team with no real star, who have gotten off to a surprising 24-16 start, Harris deserves his first ever all-star nod.