SportsBytes #3.12 - All-Star Edition

Last week, the NBA All-Star starters were announced, and I really only have a quibble with Allen Iverson’s selection as a starting guard in the East. He just hasn’t had an all-star type season.

That said, he’s going to be an All-Star, and probably cost a more deserving guard a spot on the team. Still, 7 reserves have to be named. The league’s coaches get the job of doing that, but I’m going to take care of it for them.

Normally I just make my all-star picks on “feel”, but this year I’m going to rely on advanced statistical methods. Oh, and “feel”. I gotta have some wiggle room.

And remember, the rules require 2 guards, 2 forwards, a center and 2 “Wild Cards”.

Here... we... go...

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Guards
-Devin Harris, Nets. He’s an emerging star. He ranks second among Eastern Conference guards in PER. And his traditional stats are at an all-star level
-Ray Allen, Celtics. At first, I wasn’t buying Ray as an all-star, but he’s shooting a career high from field, and his net plus/minus is +16.9 PPG.

Forwards
-Chris Bosh, Raptors. I don’t need a whole bunch of fancy stats to back this up. He should be a perennial all-star.
-Danny Granger, Pacers. He’s 17th in the league in PER, and he’s shooting right around 40% from 3-point range.

Center
-Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cavaliers. Sure, Z is hurt, and will end up getting replaced on the roster, but I’m not gonna cheat by listing Bosh as a center (O’Neal and Bargnani have gotten most of the minutes at center for Toronto). Z’s net plus/minus is +10.6 PPG, the best of any Eastern Conference center (Howard is +9.1).

Wild Cards
-Jameer Nelson, Magic. As good as the Magic are, they deserve two representatives. Nelson’s adjusted plus/minus ranks second on the team (behind Rashard Lewis), and his “clutch time” PPG leads Orlando, ranking 21st in the league.
-Vince Carter, Nets. It’s weird that the Nets, currently 9th in the East, have two All-Stars, but it’s not Carter and Harris’s fault that the rest of their team sucks. VC currently ranks 9th in the East in PER this season (but just 24th in the NBA).

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Guards
-Brandon Roy, Blazers. He’s 6th in the NBA in PER, and is a huge reason the Blazers are 5th in the Western Conference.
-Chauncey Billups, Nuggets. Forget the stats. Just look at the impact Chauncey’s had on the Nuggets, who were expected to fall off big time after giving Marcus Camby away in the offseason.

Forwards
-Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks. He’s 9th in the NBA in PER. It’s not his fault the Mavs are struggling.
-Pau Gasol, Lakers. Another obvious choice. 17th in the league in PER, and second among the Lakers, who are far and away the best team in the West.

Center
-Shaquille O’Neal, Suns. I’m gonna reward the big fella. He’s shooting 60% from the field and a career-best 63% from the line. Plus, his PER ranks 12th in the NBA.

Wild Card
-Al Jefferson, Timberwolves. Right behind Shaq in PER is Big Al, who’s a big reason why the Timberwolves have actually looked like a competent basketball team in January.
-Tony Parker, Spurs. Sure, he missed some significant time, but when he’s been playing, he’s been great. The only guards with a better PER than him in the West are Kobe and CP3, who are both starting, and Brandon Roy, who I picked as a reserve. I might hate Tony Parker, but I have to recognize the skills.

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