With only one day remaining until the All-Star reserves are announced on TNT, here are KJG’s predictions for who the reserves should be.
The league rules dictate that each conference has to select two backcourt, three frontcourt and two wildcard players (any position) to fill out the reserve roles. Here come the predictions:
Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers) 23.7 ppg, 5.7 apg, 3.6 rpg
Despite the Cavaliers holding a disappointing 11-32 record on the season, Kyrie Irving has emerged as one of the elite point-guards in the East. At 23.7 points per game, Irving ranks 6th in the league in scoring, and first among all guards in the East. He has had several impressive scoring performances this season, including a 41 point game at Madison Square Garden and most recently a 40 point outburst against the Boston Celtics. At the age of 20, Irving is already playing like a seasoned veteran, doing more than enough to deserve a spot among the All-Star reserves.
Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia 76ers) 19.0 ppg, 9.0 apg, 4.2 rpg
At the age of 22, Jrue Holiday is having a breakout year. Last season he averaged 13.5 points and 4.5 assists per game, but has truly been the backbone of the 76ers this year. In the absence of Andrew Bynum, Holiday has put up consistent numbers and done a great job of getting his teammates involved, ranking 4th in the league in assists per game.
Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks) 12.2 ppg ,11 rpg, 1 blkpg
Many probably thought that Tyson Chandler was more deserving of a starting spot in the East than Kevin Garnett was, but there is no doubt Chandler should participate in this year’s All-Star weekend. While Chandler’s numbers are not particularly flashy, they are solid nonetheless. Chandler is shooting 67.4% from the field and has done a superb job at anchoring the improved defense of the Knicks.
Brook Lopez (Brooklyn Nets) 18.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.1 rpg
There is no doubt that Lopez is one of the most refined offensive centers in the league, and he has managed to stay relatively healthy this year. Lopez has been very efficient this season – with a PER of 25.55 he ranks 5th in the league, leaving very impressive names behind him. Lopez has also improved defensively, averaging a career-high in blocks.
Chris Bosh (Miami Heat) 17.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.4 rpg
Most might consider Bosh the third wheel in Miami, but his importance to the reigning NBA champions was highlighted in last year’s playoffs. Bosh is a perennial 7-time All-Star and has made the game every year since 2006. He is shooting a career-high 54.5% from the field this year, a major improvement on his 49.5% career average. Bosh has done enough this season to keep his All-Star streak alive.
Paul George (Indiana Pacers) 17.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 3.8 apg
Paul George is having the breakthrough year that most predicted him to have. With Danny Granger sidelined and Roy Hibbert playing worse, George has kept the Pacers afloat. The Pacers are 3rd in the East and George’s development has been key to the team’s success. George is already one of the most athletic players in the NBA, and at a mere age of 22, you can bet that he will keep making progress.
Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls) 17.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.0 apg
Now this last pick was very hard, as there are quite a few players deserving of a wildcard nomination. The reason Deng should make his second consecutive All-Star appearance this year is simple – Derrick Rose hasn’t played a single game this season. Deng was an All-Star last year and has improved his numbers this year. Without Rose, the Bulls are still 5th in the East and while Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah deserve a lot of the credit for that, Luol Deng should get the nod.
Honorable mentions: Paul Pierce, Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings, Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer, Josh Smith
Do you disagree with the predictions? Give us your take in the comment section below.