As we enjoy an all day marathon of NBA games on Martin Luther King day, we remember how grateful we are for the life we're living. We live in the greatest country on Earth, and we get to watch the greatest basketball league on Earth.
The All-Star game is a popularity contest, but it is also an opportunity for everyone to appreciate the best basketball players in the world.
Just thinking about how incredibly difficult it is to get to this point for these young men is inspiring.
Hey now, you're an All-Star. According to us, at least.
Western Conference All-Stars
Points Per Game: 26.6
Blocks Per Game: 2.4
Free Throw Percentage: 86.1% (Career High)
The Los Angeles Lakers have gotten exactly what they've needed from Anthony Davis to be successful. His defensive presence has helped the Lakers become one of only two teams to hold opponents under 100 points at least 14 times this season (Philadelphia 76ers).
He's playing some of the best basketball of his career alongside Lebron James. He has proven that he is one of the best two-way players in the league.
Points Per Game: 25.2
Rebounds Per Game: 7.6
Assists Per Games: 11 (Career High and Leads NBA)
Lebron James has taken on a new style of play as he progresses into the next phase of his aging career. He is sharing the ball better than ever, and has taken a step back to allow Anthony Davis to take the reigns.
But that doesn't mean he's taking a step back in terms of dominance. Although he is averaging the least points per game since his rookie season, he is accounting for even more points because of his assist rate. The top vote getter gets to draft his team, and it looks like it will be between him and Luka Doncic for top in the Western Conference.
Points Per Game: 26.9
Rebounds Per Game: 7.3
Assists Per Game: 5.1 (Career High)
When Kawhi Leonard is playing, he is the best player in the NBA. He is the best two-way player in the game and could possibly go down as one of the greatest by the time his career is over.
It looks like we're going to have an all-LA front court in the West.
Points Per Game: 36.9 (Career High)
Assists Per Game: 7.4
Free Throw Attempts Per Game: 12.4
This guy is the easiest lock of them all. The way he's played the last three seasons has made it to where you can not just pencil him in, but you can use a Sharpie.
It looked like for a while that he could possibly average 40 points per game for a season, but he has slowed down a bit. And by "slowed down" I mean he's only averaging 33 points per game in his last ten games. Just a little perspective for you.
Points Per Game: 28.9
Assists Per Game: 9
Rebounds Per Game: 9.7
Even the biggest Doncic believers could never have thought the kid would have this much success this fast. He's doing what he did when he was a professional overseas, plus more. He makes the game look so easy.
His off nights look like 19-10-8 and his best nights look like 39-12-10. This guy could possibly be the top vote getter in just his second season in the league, and he's more than deserving of the honor.
Western Conference Reserves
Points Per Game: 19.4
Rebounds Per Game: 10
Assists Per Game: 6.3
He'd probably be a starter if the front court starters weren't so loaded with star talent. Regardless, he's in.
Points Per Game: 15.4
Blocks Per Game: 1.9
Rebounds Per Game: 14.5 (Career High)
We all saw Gobert cry last year when he didn't make the All-Star game. Don't cry this time bud, you finally made it.
Points Per Game: 25.6
Rebounds Per Game: 6.7
Three Point Percentage: 40%
This kid has career high's in just about every category you can think of. Not putting him into the All-Star game would be an all-time snub.
Points Per Game: 23.5
Free Throw Percentage: 90.9% (Career High)
Rebounds Per Game: 6
Even though Paul George has played just 26 games this season, there's really no reason for the media and players not to vote him in. When he's playing, he is one of the best two-way players in the league right now.
Points Per Game: 17
Assists Per Game: 6.4
Free Throw Percentage: 90%
What Chris Paul has done with the Oklahoma City Thunder has been phenomenal. Many people were writing him off once he got traded, but that hasn't stopped him from continuing to be one of the best ball handlers the game has ever seen.
Points Per Game: 27.9
Assists Per Game: 7.6
Threes Made: 154 (Third in NBA)
It has been a difficult season for the Portland Trail Blazers, but Damian has still done everything in his power to keep his team afloat amid an injury plagued season. His 61-point performance on MLK Day may have solidified his votes from the media.
Points Per Game: 25.3
Assists Per Game: 7.3
Rebounds Per Game: 7.9
With the last roster spot, we gave it to Russ. But it wasn't such an easy decision. His turnover rate made it hard for us to decide between him and one other guy. But it's ultimately his ability to affect the game in multiple ways that gave him the edge.
Maybe Next Time Kid
Points Per Game: 24.7
Assists Per Game: 4.3
Rebounds Per Game: 4.2
This was such a hard decision to keep this kid off of the All-Star game roster. He was the only guy on this list we could see getting in. But it is what it is when it comes to being invited to play with the best players in the world.
Points Per Game: 19.8
Rebounds Per Game: 5.4
Assists Per Game: 3.1
This kid has done nothing but continue to improve in every game he plays in. He recently became the youngest player ever to have a 20 rebound triple-double. And he's a guard. This kid has a bright future.
Points Per Game: 26.8 (Career High)
Assists per Game: 6.4
Field Goal Percentage: 51% (Career High)
The addition of Ricky Rubio has helped Booker grow into a smarter player who has become much more decisive with picking his spots on the floor. His 51% field goal percentage shows his maturity for his age. But his historically bad defense keeps him from taking the leap this season.
(Other notable names: Karl-Anthony Towns, Lamarcus Aldridge, Demar Derozan, D'Angelo Russel, Ja Morant)
The official All-Stars will be revealed on January 23rd, so we'll see if the fans, media, and players agree with us.
And all you young guys on this list, don't enjoy it for too long. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will be back next year.
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