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The Basketball Insiders All-Star Starter Picks

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All-Star weekend is fast approaching, and as we get geared up for the festivities, we’ve decided to release our starters for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. We’ve aggregated the totals to create the most voted Western and Eastern Conference team, and then below we’ve listed individual picks from our Basketball Insiders experts.

Western Conference Starters:

Guard – Russell Westbrook

Westbrook could become the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1962 to average a 30 point, 10 rebound and 10 assist triple-double. Westbrook (and Harden) are the leading candidates for the MVP award, that’s why I left neither out. – Michael Scotto

Westbrook has been superb this season. Obviously, he’s still averaging a triple-double and continuing to lead the Thunder to an impressive 24-17 record through 41 games. His team is currently in the playoffs and without him, they’d be looking at the lottery. Westbrook’s efficiency considering his usage isn’t great, but is better than many would’ve expected. There is no way Westbrook can’t be in this game and more importantly, in this starting lineup.

Guard – James Harden

The Mike D’Antoni, James Harden duo has the Rockets as a serious contender and Harden as a legitimate MVP candidate. – Jonathon Concool

Harden continues to top our MVP watch list, leading his team to the third-best record in the Western Conference and putting up historically great numbers. His ability to become a playmaker and scorer while playing improved defense has given his team an edge against nearly every opponent they’ve faced. Harden has become one of the best facilitators in the game, averaging over 11 assists per game. Along with the efficient passing and creation, he’s also scoring 28.4 points per game while shooting 44 percent from the field and 35 percent from behind-the-arc. He could easily be this season’s MVP if the season were to end today.

Frontcourt – Kevin Durant

Durant wasn’t coming into the same situation as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh did in Miami. He came into a historically great team that had a pecking order with defined roles and three All-Stars. Did Durant fit seamlessly? No. But considering the chemistry change, role adjustments and loss of players and continuity, there hasn’t been much of a drop-off, if any with Golden State. Durant is the best player on the best team in the Western Conference. He deserves to be a starter for the West. – Oliver Maroney

Durant has been better than most had expected through the first half of the NBA season. Durant is averaging 26 points, 4.7 assists and 8.6 rebounds per game for the Warriors, but possibly the most surprising statistic is his 1.7 blocks per game. It justifies the way Durant has played on defense this season.

Durant has been superb in almost every aspect of the game, but his chemistry within the team is still questioned at times. He’s learning on the job, but he’s a supreme talent that’s picked up almost every nuance with Golden State instantly.

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Frontcourt – Kawhi Leonard

Leonard is averaging a career-high 24.6 points per game and his defense remains on lockdown status on a nightly basis. – Michael Scotto

The Spurs lost their leader in Tim Duncan, yet they didn’t miss a beat. Leonard has taken over in San Antonio and led the Spurs to the second-best record in the Western Conference. He’s been remarkably efficient considering his uptick in offensive field goal attempts, and his team is continuing to coast to another 50-plus win season. Last year’s Defensive Player of the Year, Leonard is still continuing to be a great two-way player, and perhaps the best outside of LeBron James.

Frontcourt – Anthony Davis

As for Davis, while I wouldn’t normally take a player on a team playing less than .500 basketball, he’s second in the league in scoring, sixth in rebounds per game and second in blocks per game. I wouldn’t attribute the Pelicans’ poor season to his performance and also don’t think that either Draymond Green or DeMarcus Cousins are more deserving. – Moke Hamilton

Davis continues to wow despite his team’s unimpressive effort through the first 20 or so games. The team has started to find a rhythm with Jrue Holiday back in the lineup and Davis continues to thrive. He’s averaging about 36 minutes per game and is posting up career-highs in many statistical categories. After sustaining multiple injuries and not living up to the expectations last year, you can clearly tell he’s developed his game even further. By many accounts, he deserves to be at All-Star weekend, but this was a close voting tally for a starter.

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Eastern Conference Starters:

Guard – Isaiah Thomas 

Thomas is arguably the best pound-for-pound player in the game. – Lang Greene

Thomas has hit game-winners, facilitated the offense and brought the Celtics back to life. After early struggles due to injuries, the Celtics are sitting at third in the Eastern Conference and Thomas is a big reason for that. The former 60th pick in the NBA Draft is currently averaging 28.2 points, 6.7 assists and 2.7 rebounds. Over the last ten games? Thomas is averaging over 31 points while the Celtics have won eight of the last ten games. Thomas is clearly the number one option on offense, even if his defense leaves something to be desired at times. He’s clearly the most valuable player on the Celtics right now.

Guard – DeMar DeRozan

DeRozan’s game isn’t considered sexy by the analytical crowd but he has been in beast mode all season. – Lang Greene

After an impressive 30-plus point streak to begin the regular season, DeMar DeRozan is still continuing to score at a career-high rate. Currently, DeRozan is averaging career highs in points (28.2) and rebounds (5.4) per game. His Toronto Raptors are second in the East and not far off from the Cleveland Cavaliers, therefore he deserves the nod. His teammate Kyle Lowry may be more valuable, but the Insiders’ crew was split on the decision.

Frontcourt – LeBron James

The Cavaliers are the class of the East and LeBron James is a major reason for that. James continues to fill the stat sheet and win column for Cleveland as the game’s best all-around player. – Michael Scotto

LeBron James has continued to hover near that incredible triple-double statistic. Even without, he’s still the game’s best player and has continued to lead the Cavaliers to the best record in the Eastern Conference. After beating the Warriors on Christmas Day, James has still shown that he can combat any team at any time. Even with the absence of J.R. Smith, James has taken on more of an offensive load and continued to gain momentum for the Cavs. Currently, James averages 25.8 points, 8.3 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 51.7 percent from the field. He was a unanimous selection in our picks.

Frontcourt – Jimmy Butler

What can’t Jimmy Butler do? He’s leading a Bulls team that we all thought would be a mess to a .500 record and a playoff berth. Along with that, he’s had four 40-plus point games, and rebounding at a career-best 6.8 rebounds per game. – Oliver Maroney

Even though the Bulls are the eight seed in the Eastern Conference, it’s fair to say they wouldn’t be anywhere near there without Jimmy Butler. The former Marquette star is shooting over 45 percent from the field and continuing to play tremendous defense on the game’s best players. His continued effort and relentless energy is something that many don’t have. Aside from Jabari Davis, everyone on the Basketball Insiders’ team picked Butler in their frontcourt.

Frontcourt – Giannis Antentokounmpo

The Greek Freak has taken the league by storm with his play recently (buzzer beaters, triple-doubles) and has the young Milwaukee Bucks in the middle to upper echelon of Eastern Conference teams. He’s also leading his team in points, rebounds and assists per game. – Jonathan Concool

Antentokounmpo has finally been added to our MVP watch list because of his all-around game and value to his team. The Bucks are at .500 and the big reason for that is Antentokounmpo. His ability play one through five, guard all five positions and score virtually anytime, anywhere has carried the team at times. His athletic ability is probably the most dynamic we’ve seen since LeBron James, and he’s continuing to rack up the stat sheet with triple-doubles. This season, the Greek Freak is averaging 23.4 points, 5.7 assists, 8.7 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.3 steals per game.

 

Individual Picks from the Insiders’ Team

“The reason why selecting All-Stars is always such a difficult proposition because there’s no clear-cut consensus as to what the requirements are.” – Moke Hamilton

Steve Kyler

Western Conference                       Eastern Conference                                                       

Guard – Chris Paul                                  Guard – John Wall

Guard – Russell Westbrook                   Guard – DeMar DeRozan

Frontcourt – Kawhi Leonard                 Frontcourt – LeBron James

Frontcourt – Kevin Durant                     Frontcourt – Jimmy Butler

Frontcourt – Anthony Davis                   Frontcourt – Giannis Antentokounmpo

 

Ben Dowsett

Western Conference                        Eastern Conference

Guard – Russell Westbrook                    Guard – Kyle Lowry

Guard – James Harden                            Guard – John Wall

Frontcourt – Kevin Durant                     Frontcourt – LeBron James

Frontcourt – Kawhi Leonard                   Frontcourt – Jimmy Butler

Frontcourt – Marc Gasol                          Frontcourt – Giannis Antentokounmpo

 

Eric Pincus 

Western Conference                         Eastern Conference 

Guard – Russell Westbrook                     Guard – Kyrie Irving

Guard –  James Harden                            Guard – DeMar DeRozan

Frontcourt – Kawhi Leonard                    Frontcourt – LeBron James

Frontcourt –  Kevin Durant                      Frontcourt – Giannis Antentokounmpo

Frontcourt –  Marc Gasol                          Frontcourt – Jimmy Butler

 

Oliver Maroney

Western Conference                           Eastern Conference

Guard – Russell Westbrook                       Guard – Kyle Lowry

Guard – James Harden                               Guard – DeMar DeRozan

Frontcourt – Kevin Durant                         Frontcourt – Jimmy Butler

Frontcourt – Kawhi Leonard                      Frontcourt – LeBron James

Frontcourt – Marc Gasol                             Frontcourt – Giannis Antentokounmpo

 

Michael Scotto

Western Conference                           Eastern Conference 

Guard – James Harden                               Guard – Kyrie Irving

Guard – Russell Westbrook                       Guard – DeMar DeRozan

Frontcourt – Kevin Durant                         Frontcourt – LeBron James

Frontcourt – Kawhi Leonard                      Frontcourt – Jimmy Butler

Frontcourt – Anthony Davis                       Frontcourt – Giannis Antentokounmpo

 

Cody Taylor 

Western Conference                           Eastern Conference 

Guard – Russell Westbrook                       Guard – John Wall

Guard – James Harden                               Guard – DeMar DeRozan

Frontcourt – Kevin Durant                         Frontcourt – LeBron James

Frontcourt – Kawhi Leonard                      Frontcourt – Giannis Antentokounmpo

Frontcourt – Anthony Davis                       Frontcourt – Jimmy Butler

 

Tommy Beer

Western Conference                            Eastern Conference

Guard – Russell Westbrook                        Guard – John Wall

Guard – James Harden                                Guard – Isaiah Thomas

Frontcourt – Kevin Durant                          Frontcourt – LeBron James

Frontcourt – Kawhi Leonard                       Frontcourt – Giannis Antentokounmpo

Frontcourt – Anthony Davis                        Frontcourt – Jimmy Butler

 

Moke Hamilton 

Western Conference                               Eastern Conference

Guard – Russell Westbrook                           Guard – Isaiah Thomas

Guard – James Harden                                   Guard – Kyrie Irving

Frontcourt – Kevin Durant                             Frontcourt – LeBron James

Frontcourt – Kawhi Leonard                          Frontcourt – Jimmy Butler

Frontcourt – Anthony Davis                           Frontcourt – Giannis Antentokounmpo

 

Jabari Davis

Western Conference                              Eastern Conference

Guard – Russell Westbrook                          Guard – Kyrie Irving

Guard – James Harden                                  Guard – Kyle Lowry

Frontcourt – Kevin Durant                            Frontcourt – LeBron James

Frontcourt – Kawhi Leonard                         Frontcourt – Giannis Antentokounmpo

Frontcourt – DeMarcus Cousins                   Frontcourt – Joel Embiid

 

Jesse Blancarte

Western Conference                               Eastern Conference

Guard – Russell Westbrook                           Guard – Isaiah Thomas

Guard – James Harden                                   Guard – Kyle Lowry

Frontcourt – Kevin Durant                             Frontcourt – Jimmy Butler

Frontcourt – Kawhi Leonard                          Frontcourt – LeBron James

Frontcourt – Anthony Davis                           Frontcourt – Giannis Antentokounmpo

 

Jonathan Concool 

Western Conference                              Eastern Conference 

Guard – Russell Westbrook                           Guard – Kyrie Irving

Guard – James Harden                                   Guard – DeMar DeRozan

Frontcourt – Kevin Durant                             Frontcourt – LeBron James

Frontcourt – Kawhi Leonard                          Frontcourt – Giannis Antentokounmpo

Frontcourt – Anthony Davis                           Frontcourt – Jimmy Butler

 

Joel Brigham 

Western Conference                                Eastern Conference

Guard – Russell Westbrook                            Guard – Isaiah Thomas

Guard – James Harden                                    Guard – DeMar DeRozan

Frontcourt – Kevin Durant                              Frontcourt – LeBron James

Frontcourt – Kawhi Leonard                           Frontcourt – Jimmy Butler

Frontcourt – Anthony Davis                            Frontcourt – Giannis Antentokounmpo

 

Lang Greene

Western Conference                                Eastern Conference

Guard – Russell Westbrook                            Guard – Isaiah Thomas

Guard – James Harden                                    Guard – DeMar DeRozan

Frontcourt – Kevin Durant                              Frontcourt – LeBron James

Frontcourt – Kawhi Leonard                           Frontcourt – Giannis Antentokounmpo

Frontcourt – DeMarcus Cousins                     Frontcourt – Jimmy Butler

 

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About Oliver Maroney

Oliver Maroney

Oliver Maroney is an NBA writer for Basketball Insiders. He is based in Portland and covers the league as a whole.