Derrick Rose became the first Chicago Bull to make an all-star squad since Michael Jordan, and I expect he'll make it again this season. However, this year, he may have some teammates with him.
Here's a look how I handicap the all-star game prior to the season starting.
First let's look at last year's all-stars playing in the East this season:
Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh, Al Horford, Amare Stoudemire
LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Gerald Wallace
Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose
How does it look this year?
Let's break down the big men, first. Figure that the team probably carries five big men again as the SFs/Guards are more interchangeable.
(locks if healthy)
1: Dwight Howard
2: Chris Bosh
3: Kevin Garnett
4: Amare Stoudemire - he's an all star type player with his scoring ability, however, without Steve Nash creating room for him I wouldn't be surprised to see him struggle a bit this season. I'm not sure he's a guy the coaches really vote in either given his lack of work in areas coaches typically appreciate. However, he's probably the next most talented guy on the board.
5: Al Horford - I think the largest problem he might have is that I expect the Hawks to take a big step back this season, however, he's a two way player and like Stoudemire, technically counts as a C even though he's really more of a PF.
6: Carlos Boozer - He's got the talent, but missing the first month of
the season, he'll need to play fairly spectacularly in both December and
January to make it in. He has a chance, but he's starting with a
disadvantage due to his injury. A fully healthy Boozer probably would be above Horford in the list.
7: Joakim Noah - In this offensive system, he's passing the ball extremely well and showing off a lot more skill. Noah's preseason stats are remarkable, and while that's completely meaningless in terms of what he'll do in the regular season, he's had these skills all along. He's just in an offense that utilizes them now. It will be interesting to see if Noah/Boozer split the vote on each other hurting both their odds though.
8: Andrew Bogut - If he could stay healthy then he'd probably get the nod over Noah and possibly Boozer as well. Especially if the Bucks have a quality record. However, he's already announced that he likely won't be 100% all season long, so it's hard to give him too much benefit of the doubt for his first half season performance.
9: Brook Lopez - Lopez puts up better numbers than Noah offensively and the all-star ballet typically rewards offensive minded players. That said, if the Nets are in the absolute tank again I would guess that he gets passed over unless he does something unbelievable offensively which doesn't seem likely.
If the Bulls have a much stronger than expected start, it wouldn't be hard to envision both Noah and Boozer making the game. I think only Howard and Bosh are really locks for the game. Garnett could easily miss the game due to health issues while Horford isn't a pure all-star talent, and Amare's team could easily suck balls as could he without Steve Nash but with a new guaranteed contract and less motivation.
Next come the SFs. I'd say anywhere from 1 to 3 SFs can make the team.
1: LeBron - The only SF lock out there is LeBron.
2: Danny Granger - Granger struggled with injuries last season, but when healthy he's the second best SF in the conference.
3: Paul Pierce - While his game is slowing down, reputation and a good team record probably keep him in the game for one more season.
4: Gerald Wallace - He's a decent player, but he's on a bad team and is always hurt. I think the odds of him making it are fairly low.
5: Luol Deng - Yes, he might actually be the next best SF in the east. He'll have to fight with Andre Iguodala for that honor, but he'll be on a better team and the new system should make Deng look much better than he looked last season.
6: Andre Iguodala - He's a high quality player who does a bit of everything, but he'll need to learn to play with Evan Turner and his stats could easily take a dip this season. The 76ers also look like a truly awful team, so I don't expect much team success there.
Finally, the guards. I'd predict 4-6 depending how many SFs make the roster. Most likely 4-5 guards make it.
(locks if healthy)
1: Dwyane Wade
2: Derrick Rose
3: Joe Johnson - He may put up better stats than Rose, but I think Rose kills him in the popular vote and is voted a starter this season. He's starting to do more commercials, and Rose is marketed more by the NBA and seen as a young star. Johnson's still likely a near lock to make the team though.
4: Rajon Rondo - Rondo might actually be the best player on the Celtics now, and while the quality of his teammates is frequently held against him, at this point, you could argue he carries them more than the other way around.
5: John Wall - It's rare for a rookie to make the team, but the East really lacks a lot of guard depth, so Wall has some chance to squeeze someone out if he plays as impressively as people think he might. Of course, he might struggle to outplay his own teammate, Gilbert Arenas, but I can't imagine Gilbert making it in on the fan or coaches vote after his escapades the past two seasons.
6: Mo Williams - Without LeBron in Cleveland expect Mo Williams to put up some fairly gaudy statistics as the primary scorer. He's shown the ability to carry his team in the past before and now will have a green light as there is no one else there to score.
I'll stick with my predictions in order assuming no major injuries. That makes it:
Big men: Dwight, Bosh, Garnett, Amare, Horford
Wings: LeBron, Granger, Pierce
Guards: Wade, Rose, Johnson, Rondo
Of the group, ignoring the injury flag, I think Horford is the most likely to get outplayed and have someone else take his spot based on talent. Boozer and Noah both could do it, and I would put Boozer ahead of Horford if I didn't think the games played would be held against him.
Filed under: Miscellaneous
Tags: al horford, all-stars, amare stoudemire, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, Brook Lopez, carlos boozer, chicago bulls, chris bosh, Danny Granger, derrick rose, dwight howard, Dwyane Wade, Gerald Wallace, Joakim Noah, joe johnson, Kevin Garnett, lebron james, Luol Deng, mo williams, paul pierce, rajon rondo