NBA All-Star 2013: Predicting the starters for each conference


Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Voting for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game starters has ended and the starters will be announced tonight on TNT at 7 p.m. EST.

The fans of course vote for the starters of this game which can be a good thing and a bad thing. By voting fans will of course get to see who they want in this game but there’s also the case where fans really don’t know what they’re talking about it the voting becomes a popularity contest.

So predicting the starters for this game is basically predicting which five players from each conference are the most popular. That makes it pretty easy to do.

There was a change to the voting this year eliminating the center position and instead classifying the voting for two backcourt players and three frontcourt players.

Eastern Conference Backcourt

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat – 19.9 PPG, 4.4 APG, 4.7 RPG, 22.8 PER

Wade has fallen off somewhat this season but not far enough to miss out on starting in this game. He is still one of the best guards in the league and the competition in the Eastern Conference isn’t enough to knock him off.

Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics – 13.0 PPG, 11.2 APG, 5.1 RPG, 18.5 PER

Rondo is leading the league in assists and having one of the best seasons of his career. He hasn’t taken the leap to stardom quite as much as some expected but he is still one of the best in the league.

Bench: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers; Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets; Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers

Easten Conference Frontcourt

LeBron James, Miami Heat – 26.0 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 6.9 APG, 29.8 PER

LeBron is leading the league in PER for the sixth straight season. He’s coming off the best season of his career and playing this year as well as ever. Most impressively he’s shooting 54.6 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from the 3-point line.

Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks – 29.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.4 APG, 25.7 PER

Anthony is also having the best season of his career as the Knicks have gotten off to a great start to the year. Anthony has really found his role on this team and has been shooting the best he’s ever had.

Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics – 14.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.1 APG, 18.6 PER

Garnett has the lowest PER this season since his second year in the league back in 1996-97. His numbers don’t tell the whole story though as he is still one of the premiere defenders for his position in the NBA. This is where the voting turns into a popularity contest.

Bench: Chris Bosh, Miami Heat; Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks; Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls; Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks

Western Conference Backcourt

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers – 29.9 PPG, 4.8 APG, 4.9 RPG, 24.9 PER

Kobe is amazingly leading the league in scoring at 34 years of age and shooting the ball the best he’s done in years. The Lakers have really struggled this season and the playoffs are very seriously in jeopardy but that won’t stop Kobe from starting in this game. Kobe will likely finish with more votes than anyone and start in this game for the rest of his career, regardless of whether or not he deserves to.

Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers – 16.8 PPG, 9.7 APG, 3.5 RPG, 26.6 PER

Paul and the Clippers are looking like one of the best teams in the league this season. Paul is of course the biggest reason for this as captain of their ship. He’s not having the best season of his career but it should be good enough to land him more votes than Russell Westbrook, James Harden or Jeremy Lin.

Bench: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder; James Harden, Houston Rockets; Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

Western Conference Frontcourt

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder – 28.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 4.2 APG, 28.8 PER

Durant is having the best season of his career and the only player in the league who can come close to standing toe-to-toe with LeBron. Durant is having an all-time season shooting the ball as he is currently on pace to become the seventh player ever to join the 50-40-90 club.

Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers – 17.8 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 2.6 BPG, 20.5 PER

Things haven’t gone as planned this season for Howard and the Lakers. Howard still looks hurt and the Lakers aren’t winning. Howard is still leading the league in rebounding but does have his lowest PER since his second season in the league. There may be a few others more deserving than Howard but if he starts, it won’t be the worst thing in the world.

Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers – 17.7 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 3.3 APG, 22.4 PER

Griffin’s numbers are down across the board this season but that also includes his minutes. The Clippers are winning though and Griffin is of course a big part of that. Griffin will definitely make this team because of the popularity factor. The good news is that there is no better player for All-Star Game highlights in the league than Griffin.

Bench: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs; Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies; Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies; LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers