Predicting The 2016-17 NBA Eastern Conference All-Stars
G – Kyrie Irving – Irving got back to full strength just in time for the playoffs last year, and it certainly showed on the court. He lit up every opponent his Cavaliers faced, and had one of the greatest Finals performances of recent history to pair with teammate Lebron James’ greatness on their way to the city of Cleveland’s first championship in 52 years. If he can continue to play at the level we saw him play at in the playoffs, then the starting job for the conference is his to lose.
G – Jimmy Butler – The Bulls have added some very talented veterans to bolster the team’s backcourt, but with Derrick Rose gone, the team is Butler’s now. He is the face of the franchise, and the offense will run through him. With Rajon Rondo’s ability to create scoring chances with his passes, the Rondo to Butler combination could be a thing of beauty this year.
F – Lebron James – Not much needs to be said here. The best player in the league will be the conference’s most voted player, and will once again be in the starting lineup. After putting on one of the greatest Final’s performances ever, the king will be on a mission to defend his crown.
F – Paul George – George showed last season that he has moved passed the leg injury he suffered two seasons ago. His supporting cast was not the strongest, but he still put up solid numbers all around. This season, his efficiency will surely rise with the help of newcomers Jeff Teague, Al Jefferson, and Monta Ellis taking some pressure off of him on the offensive end.
F – Carmelo Anthony – Something about the Olympics always results in Anthony having a great season after representing his country. In 2012, he finished second in MVP voting following his gold medal winning summer. While expectations of that size are not realistic, the Knicks have gotten much better in the offseason, and with Carmelo at the helm they could do some damage in the East.
G – John Wall – Wall has proven to be one of the best guards in the league, and he could play his way into the starting lineup. The Wizards might not be very good this season, however, so Wall’s productivity might not receive the recognition it deserves. However, he is still a lock to make the team.
G – Rajon Rondo – Rondo was an all star snub last season due to the level of talent in the West. Now that he is on the Bulls, in a system where he should once again lead the league in assists, expect to see Rondo back in the All Star Game.
G – Demar Derozan – After signing a hefty contract this offseason, Derozan is officially the man in Toronto. With Lowry aging, he may not be able to produce quite as much as he has the past few seasons, so expect an even bigger season from Derozan this year.
C – Andre Drummond – Drummond made the leap to All Star status last season, and this season will be no different. He is a rebounding and shot blocking machine who is tough to stop down low, and will put up some monstrous numbers yet again.
F – Paul Millsap – Millsap is a steady presence for the Atlanta Hawks who produces very consistently year after year. He will be a large part of the offense this season with Jeff Teague and Al Horford gone, which will result in another All Star appearance.
WC – Isaiah Thomas – The Celtics have gotten significantly better this offseason, and Thomas will be leading the charge. His offensive ability will be key to the Celtics success.
WC – Ben Simmons – The Sixers probably won’t be very good this year, but Simmons will be. He is proficient in almost every aspect of the game, and will be a nightmare to defend. Although many have had doubts about his jump shot, his other abilities more than make up for it, and as a result Simmons will be the first rookie All Star since Blake Griffin.