Point Guard - John Wall, Washington Wizards
Wall will be playing in his second all-star game, after debuting in the event last season and scoring 12 points on five-of-seven shooting in just 15 minutes. The fifth-year product of the University of Kentucky is still just 24-years-old, and enjoying what may be his best all-around season to date. Although his 17.0 points per game is a dash less than his career 17.6 average, his 10 assists per game is a career high, and leads the NBA. He also leads the Association with 90 steals. On December 15th he was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, for averaging 18.3 points, 11.8 assists, five rebounds and 2.5 steals over a four-game stretch, all wins for the Wizards.
Shooting Guard - Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
Lowry is making his first career appearance in the all-star game, beating out Dwyane Wade. A nine-year veteran who originally joined the Memphis Grizzlies out of Villanova in 2006, the now 28-year-old guard is averaging 19.8 points, 7.5 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He was named the Eastern Conference's Player of the Month of December, when he averaged 22.3 points, 8.9 assists and two steals while leading Toronto to an 11-4 record during the 31-day period.
Small Forward - LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
James is also appearing on his 11th straight all-star team (all starts). A 12-year veteran who famously broke up his Cleveland Cavaliers career with a four-year, four championship detour to "South Beach," James entered the NBA at the age of 18, back in 2003. Now 30, James' PER has fallen off to it's lowest rating since 2006-07, at 25.4 (still sixth in the NBA), but 3.9 lower than it was just last season. This year, he is averaging 26 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per contest. He has racked up a 25.4 scoring average in his prior all-star games, and has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week twice already this season, on November 17th then again two weeks later on December 1st. It's hard to remain mad at James for eventually leaving - but the guy did give the Heat fanbase four straight Eastern Conference Titles and two NBA Championships before leaving, as well as this unforgettable night:
Power Forward - Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
Anthony, like James and Wade, is a 12-year veteran. He will be playing in his seventh all-star game, and is making his sixth start - including the last five in a row. This year, he's averaging 24.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per contest. The 30-year old product of Syracuse played his first eight and a half seasons with the Denver Nuggets before getting traded mid-season to the New York Knicks almost exactly four years ago in a 16-player megadeal (including draft picks) also involving the Minnesota Timberwolves. It's perhaps a coincidence (or maybe not, hmmmm....) that none of those teams are doing very well.
Center - Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls
Gasol, a 14-year veteran out of Barcelona, Spain, will be appearing in his fifth all-star contest, and making his first ever start at the age of 34. After six and a half years each with the Memphis Grizzlies and with the Los Angeles Lakers, he has this season joined the Chicago Bulls. For Chicago, he's averaging 18.7 points, a career high 11.4 rebounds, and a career-high tying 2.1 blocks per contest. In his three Lakers' all-star appearances, he hit 18-of-29 shots, a 62.1% success rate and 44 points in total.
As for the Western Conference, Stephen Curry (second appearance), Kobe Bryant (17th selection), Anthony Davis (second selection), Marc Gasol (second appearance) and Blake Griffin (fifth selection) earn starting nods. When looking at betting odds, remember in all-star games to always take the over. The last three seasons have averaged 300 points. Tune in later for a look at the Western Conference.