Does your favorite team have an All-Star representative? If not, don’t worry, you’re in luck. Sort of. Well, depends. See, eventually the team nearest and dearest to your heart will have a rep in the All-Star game again. I’m here to help you predict who it might be and when it might happen. Hopefully the drought won’t be too long for your favorite AllStar-less team.
**Note: Not really taking into account player movement or team’s potential draft picks over next few years. That would be really hairy and confusing if I did.
Nets- Brook Lopez: He’s averaging a healthy 19.4 ppg but this season his rebounding is considerably down from his first 2 seasons in the league (over 8 in first 2, now under 6). Rambunctious Kris Humphries (9.4 rb/gm in 25 min) might have a little to do with that, but come on Brook, you’re seven feet tall! Hard to see this offensively gifted center not ever appearing in the AS game. He’ll soon have ample opportunity in the conference because the 34 year old Kevin Garnett probably doesn’t have too many more AS games left in him.
Other current Net possibilities- Sasha Vujacic in a perfect world.
No, excuse me. In his own reckless world.
76’ers- Jrue Holiday (in Rook-Soph game): Will have a good chance in the next couple years as Ray Allen is also pretty old and not many more AS games are in his future. I see Jrue as a 18ppg 8 assists and 6 reb guy for many years to come. Jrue’s only 20 years old and he’s already helping lead the Sixers to the playoffs. Essentially, Jrue has that element to his game that screams future All-Star (not to mention a nice frame for a point).
Other current 76′er possibilities: Pretty safe to say Iggy will never make an AS game, no matter what conference he resides in. Though Evan Turner is an interesting case. The rook is surely having some troubles this season but he will make a maddening leap in his game the next 2-3 seasons, similar to the leap he made at Ohio State. And being left out of the Rookie-Sophomore game will no doubt fuel his fire. Cliché, I know. Versatility is Turner’s biggest asset and I think a lethal offensive game will evolve. Of course, Lamar Odom is quite similar and has never made it (but should).
Raptors- Demar DeRozan (in Rook-Soph game): Case where a decent player flourishes on an awful team? Probably. DeRozan has the potential (there’s that word) to be a special (what does ‘special’ exactly mean) player but must develop some semblance of a 3 point shot and hit the boards more frequently. He’s very young and eager player and I see star quality things in his future, maybe a la Vince Carter.
Other current Raptor possibilities: Andrea Bargnani and Ed Davis–if you combined them into one player. Of course.
Cavs- J.J. Hickson: If J.J. can eliminate mental errors and stay on the floor (read: do what coach wants) there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to put up freaky numbers and make a couple All- Star teams down the road. He’s just 22 years old and hopefully in the next couple seasons the Cavs will surround him with some good guards and maybe a solid center. Haha I just made myself laugh there.
Pistons- Greg Monroe (in Rook-Soph game): He has the best chance of anyone on this roster. Austin Daye and Jonas Jerebko have nice futures ahead of them, but as integral role players and nothing else. Greg has sound all around game and his IQ is surprising for a youngster. Once he develops that jumpshot he’s going to be a pain to guard. Though honestly, his ceiling isn’t that high. I see him ending up with a Camby like career…solid numbers across the board but certainly not an All-Star. I just don’t see that insane drive in Monroe that some players have. I know he wants to be really good, but top 12 in the conference good? Nah.
Pacers-Danny Granger: The almost 28 year old forward is still clearly one of the best 30 players in the league. Kind of getting lost in the mediocrity that is the Indiana Pacers. Well, at least he has Tyler Hansbrough to help him.
Other current Pacer possibilities: Darren Collison is under the radar like dog hair under the rug. You know it’s there but you don’t really pay attention even though you know you would feel better if you did. Darren Collison will have a better career than Brandon Jennings. What does that have to do with the chance at an All-Star appearance? Nothing. But I thought I’d put it out there.
Bucks- Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings (in Rook-Soph game): Both are All-Star tweeters for sure, but on the court I can’t see either making an AS team unless there’s a few injuries to already chosen players. But it is the East, so Bogut could certainly squeeze in there once or twice, but for Jennings I just can’t see him ever leap frogging current Eastern conference guards like Holiday, Wall, and certainly not Rondo or Rose.
Bobcats- Stephen Jackson: As long as Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson are in the same conference it doesn’t look good for Stephen Jackson. Plus he’s 32 years old. It’s a shame he’s not a better guy and not a little younger or I’d say he should be an All-Star at least once. Stephen will definitely regret not making love to the fans more often (beating them up in the stands is not the way).
Wizards- John Wall (in Rook-Soph game): His time will come. He may not overtake Rose or Wade soon but damned if he doesn’t pair with Rondo year after year on that All-Star bench. Over/under 11 All-Star appearances for Wall?
Other current Wiz possibilities: Really tempted to put Andray Blatche and Nick Young here, however, I know better. The day Andray Blatche decides to play for real will be the day this country will be tax free.
Houston (Yao doesn’t count)- Kevin Dallas Martin: Has never done much more than score. And even that he has not been known for doing efficiently. Manu Ginobili will probably not make another All-Star appearance so that does free up a spot for a guard or forward. Yet, LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Jefferson, Monta Ellis, Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Rudy Gay and Stephen Curry are certainly good bets to make All-Star teams themselves. So there’s stiff competition for Martin.
Other current Rockets possibilities: Not looking good for Scola. 19 and 8 this season while shooting over 50%. And he really wasn’t even close to making it. Too bad he didn’t play in the league about 25 years ago.
Grizzlies- Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph: Rudy making an AS team is a given. He does a little bit of everything and as long as the Grizz keep talent around him there’s going to be opportunity for him show what he has to offer. He doesn’t turn 25 until the summer…the same day I turn 23. As for Zach, he’ll have a good shot to wrap up his second AS appearance if he stays in Memphis. With this being the last AS appearance for Timmah Duncan, Zach’s main competition will be Aldridge, Love and Jefferson for now.
Other current Grizz possibilities- Wayyyy down the road here; but, Xavier Henry will have a very productive career on both sides of the ball. What a frame he already has! I watched him several times while at Kansas and there’s not a lot to knock at this time, and at this time he’s 19 years old. He’s the future at the two guard in Memphis.
Blazers- Aldridge and Wesley Matthews (in Rook-Soph game): Aldridge is a good bet to punch five or six tix to the game. He’s slowly but surely becoming an unstoppable player and as far as I’m concerned has shed the finesse label. It goes without saying he’d be even that much freer if he had Oden playing with him 25-30 minutes a game. Or Camby. I digress. Poor Trailblazers fans. Wes, man, he can shoot it. And he’ll keep improving and certainly capable of averaging 20+ppg.
Other current Blazer possibilities: Really pulling for Greg Oden and Brandon Roy and their serviceable returns. Roy is due back very soon while the news for Oden is much harsher as there’s really no timetable for his return. Oden I’m pretty confident would have been a perennial All-Star if he stayed healthy; at the very worst definitely far from a bust. Maybe Papa Greg comes back and is fairly decent and he gets in? Would be the best ending ever.
Warriors- Monta Ellis and Wardell Stephen Curry (in Rook-Soph game): Monta, the 06-07 most improved player in the league, still has some improving to do (shot selection!), but in short time he’ll have an AS appearance to go with the gobs and gobs of baskets he’ll make in his career. However, being the best player, or maybe even second best, on a winning team would vastly improve his chances just as it would for Stephen Curry. Don’t know if two 6’3 ish guards can successfully coexist and reach their true potentials while playing together.
Other current Warrior possibilities: David Lee, barely. He’ll put up consistent numbers but it’s likely just way too crowded. Wayyy down the road, Ekpe Udoh. Ekpe might seem like his ceiling is just as a defensive stopper, but if you know how his offensive game evolved from two years at Michigan and then two years at Baylor (had to sit out first year) then maybe you could see the possibility for major development is realistic for him. Marcus Camby is the closest comparison I can come up with. Ekpe has the tools, I’m certain.
Suns- Bleak, real bleak. Though, I guess not many people predicted Steve Nash would win two MVP awards, so can’t necessarily count out him maybe eeking out one more AS appearance. Though, really hope Nash finds himself with a contender the last 3 or 4 years of his career where he can just be a piece of the puzzle.
Kings- Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins (both in Rook-Soph game): No telling how long DMC will last in Sactown but you have to believe there’s some AS games in his future by just the intensity with which he plays the game. Polishing those post moves and improving his body and conditioning will go a long way in allowing for him to be a devastating headache for the league to contain. Don’t overlook that good looking jump shot he has in his arsenal either. As for Tyreke, he’s putting up filthy numbers right now while he’s not even 100%. Only glaring weakness is his career sub 30% 3pt shooting —shore that up and it’s lights out. All-Star starter over/under 6?
(Images via sportsnickel.com & sportsillustrated.com)
(The numbers via basketball-reference.com)
Follow CCRB All-Star Ryan on Twitter @rpravato. His J is Super Soaker wet.