8 point Preview of NBA All Star Game 2013
The aliens from Space Jam ought to choose the all star game for their soul stealing antics. The amount of talent present on the hardwood during these games is off the charts. Tomorrow morning at 6:30 AM, the East and West will battle it out in the all star game. Watch it live on Sony SIX. Here’s a 8 point preview of this contest -
The King is a reason by himself. LeBron has already won the all star MVP twice now, and he will be looking to get his third this time around. LeBron has entered the all star game in historic fashion, riding a seven game streak of scoring 30 or more points while shooting above 58%. The last player to enter the all star game on such a streak was Wilt Chamberlain. Last year, LeBron’s nemesis Kevin Durant won the all star MVP. This time, the King will come out of the gate, firing away at the award.
Lack of point guards for the East
The East are missing Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose, both out with injuries. They only have two point guards, Jrue Holiday and Kyrie Irving. While Irving by himself is a once in a generation talent, he isn’t at the level of Rose or Rondo yet. And if the Nets’ players had not ran out their coach, Avery Johnson, there’s a good chance that Deron Williams would have been selected in the all star game. But he wasn’t, and the East are a little thin at the one guard spot.
Kobe chasing history
Only two players have won four all star game MVP awards, Kobe Bryant and Bob Pettit. Bob is not in the league any more and Kobe has a shot at becoming the only player to win the award five times. With his recent pass first attitude, he is well poised to take advantage of the great teammates he will rub shoulders with and chase down a triple double to help him win the all star MVP award.
First time all stars
The East features six players who are first time all stars. The west is full of perennial all stars. Experience will work in the favour of the West.
Lumbering bigs for East
The East features solid big men who aren’t big on offence. Chandler and Noah are defensive centers more than anything and in the all star game, you need fast and versatile big men more. Nobody can deny the importance of a defensive big, think back to Mutombo in the 2001 all star game and the historic comeback he made possible. But in today’s game, the more versatile your big, the better. Garnett himself has said that next year he may not even make it to the all star team with the level of competition in the league.
The West has two starters from the LA Clippers and two from the LA Lakers. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have an amazing chemistry going with each other and Kobe Bryan and Dwight Howard have, well, at least they have played together for half a season. It makes a huge difference when you are playing with players with whom you have played before. The East has the trio of the Heat too, but the West has more of a backcourt/frontcourt combo going with its players.
Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul are collectively better than Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. While James is the undisputed best player on the floor, he shares the same position with Anthony and Wade to some extent. The West are more diversified as Chris Paul is more of a pure point guard and even Kobe has embraced his inner passer. Looking at the bench, the West has Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker. Parker has been playing like an MVP and carrying the injury ridden Spurs and Westbrook is the fastest player in the league (according to NBA 2K13). The East has Holiday and Irving and while the two are solid guards, the West has the East beat when it comes to the perimeter.
While small forwards technically come under frontcourt, I’ve grouped them as perimeter players above because small forwards play more on the perimeter then power forwards or centers. The East has players like Garnett, Bosh, Chandler and Noah. The West has Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan, David Lee and Zach Randolph. The West has the better offensive frontcourt than the East by far. Also more athletic. On defense, the size of Chandler and Noah can trouble the West but in an all star game today, size is not really much of an advantage.
It would really surprise me if the West did not win this all star game. They have the better playmakers and outside scorers, and in an all star game that is what carries you the farthest. Although you can never safely bet against any all star team featuring LeBron James, if I had to pick, I’d go with the West winning this one.