2013 NBA All-Star Game: Profiling The Eastern Conference Squad
The 2013 NBA All-Star Game is a showcase of the best the league has to offer. Sure, the fans don’t always get the starters right, but once the coaches select the reserves, all is back in it’s place. This year’s Eastern Conference All-Stars are a mix of All-Star veterans and first-year attendees. Can they beat the Western Conference or will they struggle with their experience? Let’s take a look at the profile of the starters and reserves for the 2013 Eastern Conference All-Stars!
Eastern Conference All-Star Starting Lineup
Rajon Rondo (Injured)
Rajon Rondo tore his ACL on January 25th against the Atlanta Hawks and he will be unable to compete in the 2013 All-Star game. Prior to his season ending injury, Rondo was having another stellar season. At the time of his injury Rondo was leading the leading the league in assist with 11.1 per game. Rondo was also scoring with more efficiency this season as he had improved his points per game (13.7) and field goal percentage (48.4). The loss of Rondo cripples the Celtics this season and the entire NBA will miss watching him play.
Dwayne Wade is averaging 20.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.6 assist per game for the best team in the Eastern Conference. Wade is not shooting or scoring as much as he did prior to the arrival of Lebron James and Chris Bosh but he remains player that must be accounted for on the court. Wade has stayed healthy this season and is capable of picking up the scoring slack any night that the Heat need him to. The nine time All-Star has scored at least 26 points eleven times this year proving he still has the ability to score at an elite level.
LeBron James is simply the best player in the NBA. The three time league MVP is averaging a gaudy 26.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.0 assist per game. LeBron’s numbers closely resemble the numbers he had during his MVP season last year. LeBron James has become accustomed to passing the ball at the right moment when teams key on him and has become very adept at using his athleticism to get to the free throw line late in games. James will be making his ninth All-Star game appearance.
The Knicks are enjoying their best season in more than a decade and Carmelo Anthony is leading the way. The Knicks are only a half game behind the Miami Heat for the best record in the Eastern Conference. Anthony is averaging 29.0 points per game, good for second in the NBA. Anthony has become a smarter player this year. He is attacking the basket more than he did in previous years and he has improved his shot selection. This will be his sixth All-Star game appearance.
The Celtics may miss the playoffs this season but it won’t be due to father time catching up with Kevin Garnett. Garnett has turned back the clock once again while averaging 14.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Garnett is not the elite defender that he once was but he still effective defending the post. Garnett has stayed healthy this season while averaging over thirty minutes per game. This will be Garnett’s fifteenth All-Star game appearance.
Eastern Conference All-Star Reserves
First time All-Star Paul George has been one of the most improved players in the league this year. George has stepped up for the Pacers with Danny Granger out and he is having the best season of his NBA career. George is averaging 17.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.8 assist per game. George has been called upon to play more minutes this season than he has during either one of his previous two seasons and is delivering for the Pacers. George is a young, athletic small forward who is coming into his own as a player.
Chris Bosh is averaging 17.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game despite often times being matched up against a bigger opponent. The Heat have asked Bosh to play center this season and he has still managed to average numbers very close to the ones that he put up last season. Bosh is also having his best season shooting the ball. Bosh is currently making 54.0 percent of his shots, compared to 48.7 percent last season. This will be the eighth time Chris Bosh has been named an All-Star.
The 2012 Defensive Player of the Year finds himself an All-Star for the first time. Tyson Chandler has become a key member of a New York Knicks team that has become a contender in the Eastern Conference. Chandler is averaging 11.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game while leading the NBA in field goal percentage at 68.6 percent. Chandler has provided New York with defense, emotion and leadership on the court.
Luol Deng has stepped up for Chicago in the absence of Derrick Rose. Deng has improved his scoring and once again become a go-to player for the Bulls. Deng is averaging 17.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assist per game. This will be Luol Deng’s second All-Star game appearance.
The injury to Andrew Bynum has compromised the 76ers plans this season but on the bright side they have seen Jrue Holiday blossom into an excellent point guard. Jrue Holiday is averaging 19.4 points and 8.9 assist per game. Holliday beat out talented point guards Deron Williams and Brandon Jennings to earn his first appearance in the All-Star game.
Kyrie Irving is one of the most exciting young players in the NBA. Irving was the 2012 Rookie of the Year and has become the leading scorer at the point guard position in only his second season. Irving is averaging 23.7 points, 5.5 assist and 3.6 rebounds per game. Irving has become a matchup nightmare for opposing teams and he delivers down the stretch for Cleveland game after game. This should be the first of many All-Star game appearances for Kyrie Irving.
Like his All-Star teammate Luol Deng, Joakim Noah has helped carry the Chicago Bulls in the absence of Derrick Rose. Joakim Noah is in the having the best season of his NBA career. Noah is averaging career highs in points (12.1), rebounds (11.3) and blocks (2.1). Noah is one of the best defensive centers in basketball and anchors a Bulls defense that allows the third fewest point per game. This will be Noah’s first appearance in the All-Star game.
Widely regarded as the biggest All-Star snub of the Eastern Conference, Lopez was named an All-Star after Rajon Rondo tore his ACL on January 25th. While the Rondo injury is unfortunate, Brook Lopez is a deserving All-Star. Lopez is averaging 18.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. This will be the first All-Star game appearance by Brook Lopez.
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Brandon Jennings is writer for Hoops Habit and a Sports reporter from Dallas, Texas. Brandon covers the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Cowboys for KTEV, Insidedfwsports.com and is a contributor to ScoreBoard magazine.