The second round of All-Star voting returns was released on NBA.com Thursday.
Eastern Conference starters as of today: G Derrick Rose, G Dwyane Wade, F Lebron James, F Carmelo Anthony, C Dwight Howard
Western Conference starters as of today: G Kobe Bryant, G Chris Paul, F Kevin Durant, F Blake Griffin, C Andrew Bynum
Are all of these players deserving as of now? Sure. We don’t have anyone the fans are voting in based just on name/reputation, like Iverson, McGrady, Vince, etc… in their less than All-Star starter caliber years. But all of these guys have a legitimate case to be an All-Star starter based on production in this current season, and most are just locks. Production aside, if the game is truly for the fans, and it is, then some guys I’d like to see, and for a bunch of minutes, are:
Ricky Rubio – This guy is made for the All-Star game. The fans see it too, as he’s 3rd behind Kobe and Chris Paul in the West at guard in votes so far. Would love to see him make the jump to starter. Something tells me that’s where he’ll be in future years.
Rajon Rondo – Want to see Rondo for the same reasons as Rubio. Rondo sets others up. He’s also the best player on the Celtics these days, and happens to be 3rd in the East at guard in votes.
Josh Smith – This guy is having a fantastic season for the Hawks who are sitting 2nd in the East (now minus Al Horford). Smith would have the potential to throw down some nice dunks.
Who do you want to see? Any other exciting young players that would make the game more entertaining?
And with the NBA training camps opening December 9th, just one short week away, hopefully this means we will see some new releases from Panini in the near future. With five games now slated for Christmas day, the start of the regular season can’t get here soon enough.
Until then, we get to occupy ourselves with free-agency and trade talks. Chris Paul (through his agent), has reportedly requested out of NOH, his preferred destination being the Knicks. Unfortunately for him, though, the Knicks have little of value to send back to the Hornets for Paul’s services. If Paul is intent on leaving, the Hornets can surely get a better package than what the Knicks could offer.
Wednesday’s CP3 rumor involving Rajon Rondo had Paul landing with the Celtics. Paul later stated he wouldn’t sign an extension with the Celtics. You can expect a lot of rumors over the next couple weeks, with little immediate resolution. As always, it’s fun to speculate. I for one am happy to see the rumors, because it means the NBA has returned!