The 2014 All-Star team is shaping up to be an honor of attrition. Injuries that have either hampered player production or that could keep players out of the game itself will have a huge influence on the final rosters and make it hard to predict who will actually play. Right now Kobe Bryant has the most guard votes in the West, but he is hardly deserving of a selection this year and likely won’t be able to participate, and he’s just one of many.
I’m making my selections based on who is healthy right now and who I think deserves to replace the injured stars. Criteria is based solely on this season, and winning counts as well as individual performance.
My West team is missing Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook due to injury, and I think Ty Lawson, Eric Bledsoe and / or Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas all have arguments for backcourt worthiness as well. Up front I didn’t get Tim Duncan or David Lee in because the conference is just stacked to the brim with great wings and bigs, but they definitely deserve mention. Choosing among those two and Dirk and Davis was very difficult and basically came down to Davis being too fun to watch to miss the All-Star game and Dirk getting the credit for the Mavs season while Parker and Curry rep their teams. No matter how you shake it out, 12 spots just isn’t enough to for this conference.
The East on the other hand was kind of tough to fill. I was sorely tempted to make a team of all Heat and Pacers with Melo and Wall thrown in for good measure. I considered Andre Drummond as a rep for Detroit, but as fun as he is to watch and as good as his per possession stats are, I think a few other guys deserve the spots more. Next year if he starts making a slightly less deplorable percentage of his FTAs, he’ll be in for sure. Missing Brook Lopez and Al Horford steals two of the East’s best frontcourt players, but it’s the guard position that is comparatively weak. Wade, Wall, and Kyrie are gimmes. After that? It would be a totally different scenario if Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, and Deron Williams had healthy seasons but instead we get a few players who may never make another All-Star team.
On thing I will give the East, they are the more versatile bunch. You could call LeBron and George both guards and start a huge line-up with Melo, Bosh, and Hibbert, and it would actually be a great unit. The West really doesn’t have any swingmen, but they are deep with quick talent and big athletes and shooters.
What do you think? Did I miss anybody completely? Did I botch one ranking or another or several? Letting me know.