- The Season's Over -

ETB’s ’08 Eastern Conference All-Star Team

January 24, 2008

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James and Jason Kidd

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James and Jason Kidd Photo Credit: Icon SMI

The ballots are in, and the NBA will announce the official starters for the 2008 All Star Game in New Orleans today. More importantly, ETB unveils the real All Star rosters.

The ones we hand picked…

Eastern Conference Starters:

Brian’s Picks:

Guard: Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons
Guard: Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets
Forward: Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
Forward: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Center: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

We’ve seen many player’s production slip the season after signing a big contract extension, but after re-upping on a lucrative contract with the Pistons last summer Chauncey Billups has done anything but pat himself on the back and let his foot off the pedal. In fact, he’s elevated his game and established himself as the team’s most vital cog in their high-octane engine. Andrew has his stats below… The NBA’s biggest triple-double threat at the guard position (he has 10 already), Jason Kidd is shooting the lowest percentage of his 14-year career, but also averaging a career best in boards (8.3) and close to a career best in assists (10.5)… Chris Bosh crafted one of the most memorable pitches for All-Star votes in NBA history (linked below), but despite his somewhat rocky start to the season, it really wasn’t necessary: 22.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, and 48% from the field on one of the East’s most competitive teams… LeBron Raymone James should be a lock to start the All-Star Game for at least the next decade, and probably even longer. Without him, the Cavs are no better than the Sonics and Clippers of the world; when he’s playing like he has all season, this team is capable of upsetting any Eastern Conference team in a seven-game playoff series… There’s a new Shaq in town, and he just might end up being better than the East’s disposed Most Dominant Player. As Andrew says below, outside of LeBron Dwight Howard is the easiest pick in the East. He’s recorded a double-double in all but six games through January 24, is currently the NBA’s fourth-leading shot-blocker at 2.6/per, and is slowly but surely developing more low-post moves than just the dunk.

Andrew’s starters, and our respective choices for reserves, after the jump…

Andrew’s Picks:

Guard: Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets
Guard: Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons
Forward: Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
Forward: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Center: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

As we hit the halfway point of the season New Jersey is five games below .500, but Jason Kidd is averaging a near triple-double this year and his 10.5 assists per game are second in the league. Outside of Nash, he’s still the best open-court passer in the league… Mr. Big Shot is the best player on Detroit, clearly one of the two best teams in the East, and he’s in the middle of the most efficient season of his career: 45.3% FGs, 90.4% FTs, 7.1 assists and just 2 TOs a game. He’s one of the most pure points in the league and among the NBA’s best clutch shooters… Kevin Garnett has to be one of the top three MVP candidates this season, as his consummate intensity, selflessness and leadership have the worst team from last season atop the standings. The Big Ticket is also putting up a 20-10-4 line on 54.4% FGs with 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks a game… LeBron James took a small step back in the regular season last year, but his career trajectory is back in the right direction as this season has been his best yet. James has an otherwise depressing Cleveland team in the middle of the playoff hunt and leads the league in scoring. There’s nobody in the NBA I’d rather have down the stretch in a close game… The East starters were actually pretty easy, and Dwight Howard was a complete no-brainer. He won’t get consideration, but Howard may be the the most improved player in the NBA. He’s just gotten better in every possible way (except free-throw shooting) and has turned into the biggest low-post beast in the league. He’s grabbing 15 boards a night (more than anybody since the 2001-02 season), swatting 2.6 shots and scoring 23.8 points a game on 59.4% FGs.


Eastern Conference Bench:

Brian’s Picks:

Guard: Dwayne Wade, Miami Heat
Guard: Richard Hamilton, Detroit Pistons
Guard: Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks
Forward: Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
Forward: Gerald Wallace, Charlotte Bobcats
Forward: Caron Butler, Washington Wizards
Center: Rasheed Wallace, Detroit Pistons

Guards

I’m not a huge fan, and his team has proven to be one of the league’s absolute worst, but Dwayne Wade has done everything he possibly can to save this franchise from one of its most embarassing seasons. Nagging injuries be damned, Wade is right about at his career-high in minutes per night (38:12) and has performed remarkably well given the health concerns and little to no support from his teammates… As the second half of the NBA’s best starting backcourt, Rip City is having one of his finest overall campaigns of his career. Known primarily as a scorer with infatigueable stamina, Hamilton is shooting about 50% from the field, has significantly improved his long-range shot (46% from three-ball land), and tacking 4.3 assists and a steal onto his 18.8 points a night… The Atlanta Hawks are actually competing for a playoff spot this season (I know, it’s ka-raazy) and deserve at least one representative in New Orleans. Andrew picked Josh Smith, but I’m going with their leader, Joe Johnson, over a crop of other deserving candidates (Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Andre Iguodala, Michael Redd, etc). His numbers are slightly down from last season, but he’s the one who makes this team go.

Caron Butler is dressed for All-Star success
Caron Butler Photo Credit: Icon SMI

Forwards/Center

I know a good lot of you will think I’m nutso for bumping Kevin Garnett out of the starting lineup in favor of Bosh, but hey, Bosh made that video, so… In all seriousness, KG has obviously fit right into Boston’s revamped roster and has brought much-needed passion back into “TD Banknorth Garden”… Like the Johnson pick, I just feel like the improving Charlotte Bobcats need someone here, and Gerald Wallace has certainly put together a worthy campaign statistically. Through 42 games, he’s averaging a career-high in minutes (nearly 40 a night!), points (21.4), assists (3.4), three-pointers (1.2), and free-throw percentage (73%) to go with 6.3 boards, 2.2 steals, and 1 block. The man is simply all over the court and clearly one of the East’s best at filling up the boxscore… In the absence of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler has become the leader of the 22-18 Wizards (and some might argue he’s better suited for that role, period). On most nights he’s flat-out dominant at the small forward position, is fully capable of going off for 30, and is currently third in the NBA in steals at 2.3/per… He’s publicly stated he prefers the time off and doesn’t want to go to New Orleans, and we all know it’s rarely a good thing when ‘Sheed Wallace is forced to do something he’s not keen to do. All that aside, I can’t consciously pick Dalembert over Wallace in the center-thin East. Without Wallace manning the middle, the Pistons have no shot at a title.

Andrew’s Picks:

Guard: Jose Calderon, Toronto Raptors
Guard: Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks
Guard: Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers
Forward: Caron Butler, Washington Wizards
Forward: Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
Forward: Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks
Center: Samuel Dalembert, Philadelphia 76ers

Guards

Jose Calderon is one my first surprise picks here, but his selection won’t shock any Raptors fans. His assist/turnover ratio of 5.6 is jaw-dropping, leading the league by a wide margin (Chris Paul is second at 3.9). He’s a treat to watch, and you simply won’t find a more efficient point than Calderon and his 50.7% FGs, 91.3% FTs and 8.4 assists with just 1.5 TOs per game… Michael Redd is a poor defender, but he’s one of the league’s premier scorers. He’s also becoming a more balanced player this season with more penetration, more passing and more rebounding… Even though he plays for the thoroughly depressing 76ers, Andre Iguodala is still one of my favorites to watch. He’s an electric athlete, a great dunker, a proficient scorer and a shut-down wing defender (though he may leave that part of his game at home for All-Star weekend).

Forwards/Center

I would love to see Caron Butler in the starting lineup–he’s been that good, but I couldn’t do it with KG now in the East. Still, Caron has become a marquee player the last two seasons and has taken the Wizards on his back since Arenas went down. Tough Juice has a great face-up jumper, finishes well around the basket and plays great D. You think the Lakers regret trading him for Kwame? … The campaign alone should get Chris Bosh an invite to New Orleans, but his game is deserving as well. He’s an extremely consistent and smooth power forward who scores from all over… In a game where nobody plays man defense, Josh Smith would be the most exciting player in the league to watch. I’m really hoping he makes it because the former Dunk Contest winner and current Eastern Conference leader in blocks will get people out of their seats… I wasn’t sure he would ever grasp the game’s defensive concepts, but Samuel Dalembert is having one hell of a season. His 11.6 points, 10.1 boards and 2.5 blocks a game are just too much to ignore.

3 Comments »Posted by Andrew Thell and Brian Spencer on Jan. 24, 2008 at 11:47 am in ETB Articles, NBA

3 Responses

yes, clutch bullets from Chauncey! although i dunno if Sheed shows enough dynamism for the all-star position…

Posted by: Max on January 24th, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Where’s Paul Pierce?

Posted by: str8hoops on January 28th, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Not on the team. He’s on a great squad and has done a good job of transforming into a team player instead of centerpiece, but that’s not what All Star games are for. We’re not the authorities on the matter, the coaches and fans do the voting, but who do you take him over here?

Posted by: Andrew Thell on January 28th, 2008 at 11:12 pm

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