NBA Knee-Jerk All-Stars (Eastern Conference Reserves)
It took a while to narrow down such a diverse pool of talent to seven players, but I think I’ve picked the seven more deserving All-Stars for each conference. I try to get at least one player per team if it’s a team that is significantly above the .500 mark. Traditionally the All-Star reserve format has been two guards, two forwards, a center, and two wildcards, so I will follow that format to the best of my ability for my reserves.
G – Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks
Brandon Jennings has been playing spectacular basketball this season. He leads the league in steals and he has really improved his efficiency at the offensive end of the court. He’s averaging 8 assists pre game and is leading the Milwaukee Bucks, a team many prognosticators and fans figured would be a mess this season,and has them playing winning basketball.
G – Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets
Still one of the top point guards in the league, Deron Williams fell off the radar hard since he left Utah (and playoff contention). The Nets are winning games right now, and while Brook Lopez has a lot to do with it, Deron Williams is still the leader of that team and deserves a spot as an eastern all-star guard.
F – J.R. Smith, New York Knicks
Is this the first surprise? J.R. Smith has been playing fantastic basketball in that sixth man role. He still forces up shots but with two veteran NBA point guards leading the charge, and with one of them being Jason Kidd, J.R. is finding offense a whole lot easier. He is absolute fire from three point land and is leading the league in there point percentage with a whooping 63.6% shooting. Bravo Earl Smith, bravo.
F – Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
Despite Rondo really evolving into an elite player, Pierce and Garnett can still be the leaders of the Celtics on any given night. I was a little hesitant to give Pierce a spot because of the Celtics’ shaky start, but Pierce is putting up good number across the board, and as a 35-year-old, is letting the league know that he is still a 20 points per game scorer.
C – Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls
Ignore his recent lackluster performance against the Clippers. Joakim Noah has been the best player on the Bulls this season. He’s starting to become more relevant on offense, he’s leading the Bulls in rebounding, is second in the league in assists per game for Centers, and is averaging blocks and steals on top of that. He’s playing like a top 5 center in the league, and Bulls fans should be really excited at the development of all their players with Derrick Rose out.
G – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
This pick won’t be nearly as controversial as my next pick. Despite the Cavs shitty record, Kyrie Irving is putting up some fantastic numbers, and if his team was above .500, there would definitely be conversation over whether or not he is the best point guard in the league. He really is not that far off. Uncle Drew has potential to do some very special things in this league.
C – Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers
ANDERSON VAREJAO!? One of the league’s top rebounders, now a capable player on offense (had a 35-18 game against Brooklyn) and is dishing out assists like it’s nobody’s business. I’m fully aware that I am throwing in two All-Stars on a team way below the .500 mark, but Varejao is putting up All-Star numbers, but also playing with relentless hustle. He’s a “big man Shane Battier” with stats to back it up. I am snubbing a lot of players with this Varejao selection, but I’m just doing what had to be done.
And just for fun, I think there should be a 13th spot for all NBA fans’ most beloved stat… The +/- stat… Pronounced “plus minus.”
The 2013 +/- Eastern All-Star, a position awarded to a non-All-Star caliber player with a high +/- statistic, goes to…
F – Mike Dunleavy, Milwaukee Bucks
What a great selection. I was honestly expecting someone lamer like Spencer Hawes or something. Mike Dunleavy has always been one of the NBA’s better players, but he is never a player that is pursued by many teams. He’s a decent team defender, and does many things well on offense. He probably boasts one of the best production-to-natural-talent ratios in the league.
G – Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers
I am very aware of the fantastic season that Jrue is having, but it’s hard to put him in over any of the other point guards that I have already selected. If anyone is injured, he is the first guy in the game.
C – Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets
Having a fantastic season, one of the few NBA big men who can score down low consistently. He’s also become a pretty good shot-blocker this season.
F – Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls
Not much is new for Luol Deng, except for a greater offensive load. I can’t believe in my earlier years of watching basketball, I never identified Luol Deng as an All-Star capable player. I always thought that back on the Baby Bulls, players like Hinrich, Gordon… Even Tyrus Thomas for a while would all have higher ceilings than Deng. Deng, along with Joakim are both doing a good job keeping the Bulls relevant this season, but they really are better off tanking. They could pick up a Shabazz Muhammad to bring much needed firepower to their shooting guard position, or even Cody Zeller and try and run a twin tower combination with Joakim.
C – Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons
His team is an absolute piece of turd this season, but I’m definitely going there by saying Greg Monroe has been the third best center in the NBA this season. His Pistons have just been comically bad. Absolutely terrible. The Pistons are actually hard to watch this season. I feel sorry for Detroit fans.
Feel free to make comments below or follow me on Twitter @Giordun