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Tag:Rajon Rondo
Posted on: January 14, 2011 9:19 am
 

Shootaround 1.14.11: Worries abound

The Bulls miss Noah on offense, beards abound, J.O. may need surgery, and the Hornets need a big uptick in fans, still. All this and more in today's Shootaround. 
Posted by Matt Moore


You know why the Bulls miss Joakim Noah? Because their offense is struggling. Noah goes out and their offense falls off. How weird is that?

The best beards from NBA D-League's Showcase

Darko Milicic won the opening tip last night. A bit too much. He ended up scoring on his own goal with it. Whoops. The Wolves won and Darko was big down the stretch. But can you imagine if the Wolves had lost by two points?

George Karl thinks the Carmelo Anthony trade could fall through. If Ujiri's previous actions have been any indication, though, Karl will be the last to know. 

In case you missed it, Ben Golliver broke down the most efficient scorers in the NBA. It's well worth a read. 

Jermaine O'Neal may not be able to avoid having surgery on an ailing knee. 

Speaking of injured Celtics bigs, Danny Ainge is surprised Boston's bigs started missing games with injuries this soon. And he should be. After all, they're only 7,000 years old. 

Orlando Pinstriped Post asks what more Magic fans want from Jameer Nelson.

One of what will be many looks at Rondo versus Rose for the next three years.

The Hornets still need to average 14, 915 fans in attendance over the next five games to avoid the elimination of the buyout penalty for their arena. Their attendance on Wednesday? 13, 688. 
Posted on: January 6, 2011 12:06 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 8:09 pm
 

The Game Changer: Celtics survive meltdown

The Boston Celtics escaped from the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night, Kevin Martin put up an absurd shooting performance against the Portland Trail Blazers, Blake Griffin dunked and dunked and dunked, and Birdman's tattoos got spotted up close. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 

THE BIG ONE: CELTICS ESCAPE FROM SPURS

The last few minutes in Boston were beautiful chaos, as the unexpected kept happening in a wild finish between two of the league's premier teams: the Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs. When the dust settled, the Celtics held on for a 105-103 victory, but it wasn't without fireworks.

The Spurs, down nine points late, mounted a furious, and somewhat lucky, comeback thanks to a Manu Ginobili three, a Tony Parker steal-to-layup finish and two Richard Jefferson free throws. Up two with the ball, the Celtics ran the clock, turning the ball over to their late-game savant, Paul Pierce.

Pierce missed the game-icer, but the smallest guy on the court, Celtics guard Nate Robinson, not only came out with the rebound but intelligently shuffled it to Ray Allen, one of the league's premier foul shooters. With less than 10 seconds left on the clock, the Spurs were forced to foul Allen, a career 89.4% free throw shooter, who inexplicably missed both free throws that also would have iced it.

Matt Bonner then secured the defensive rebound for the Spurs, who quickly took timeout to diagram a final, potentially game-winning play. Everyone in the building knew it was going to Manu Ginobili, who had multiple game-winning plays in December, and that included Pierce, who expertly contested a Ginobili jumper at the buzzer, blocking it cleanly without fouling. Rajon Rondo, who finished with an absurd triple-double (see below) then did his best Magic Johnson impersonation, tossing the ball high in the air to burn out the rest of the clock. Ballgame, Celtics.

The result was a little evidence supporting a conclusion made by Celtics center Kendrick Perkins: it will be extremely difficult to beat this group in a seven-game series. Even without Perkins and starting power forward Kevin Garnett, the Celtics managed to make multiple heady, playoff-type plays while in the process of throwing a game away. Robinson's rebound and dish, Pierce's defense and Rondo's clock killing are the kind of time/score plays that come naturally to a tested team, but pretenders always seem to mess up. 

Wednesday night's madness is worth another look. Here's a nice video breakdown, courtesy of NBAHiighlights on YouTube.



GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:


Rajon Rondo: 12 points, 10 rebounds, 22 assists, six steals, one block in 44 minutes in a Boston Celtics home win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Kevin Martin: 45 points, two rebounds, four assists on 13-18 shooting, 6-8 three-point shooting, 13-15 free throw shooting in 39 minutes in a Houston Rockets home lose to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Dwight Howard: 28 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block in 43 minutes in an Orlando Magic home win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Kevin Love: 35 points, 15 rebounds, five assists in 45 minutes in a Minnesota Timberolves overtime loss on the road to the Charlotte Bobcats.

Jose Calderon: 20 points, three rebounds, 17 assists, two steals in 38 minutes in a Toronto Raptors road win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

DON'T MISS:

WATCH OUT BELOW:

Four Denver Nuggets defenders try as hard as possible to avoid being in another Blake Griffin poster, but they fail. 

blake-griffin-dunk

WHIMSY:

Stephen Dunn, a Getty Images, got a great snap of Chris "Birdman" Andersen's tattooed leg.

birdman-leg

HIGHLIGHT REEL:

We're getting used to Blake Griffin throwing down, but this one-handed tomahawk alley oop jam after leading a 2-on-1 break with Clippers point guard Baron Davis was pretty filthy. And the fact that the break was started by DeAndre Jordan, who apparently blocked a shot with his elbow, is even better.



FINAL THOUGHT:

Since these posts continue to turn into all Blake Griffin all the time, here's Griffin talking about being selected for the NBA's Slam Dunk contest, as quoted by TheRookieWall.com. “I think I’m just gonna try and get up as high as possible and throw it down as hard as possible. You know, put a little show in there, put a little pizazz and see what we can come out with. Hopefully I’ll have the home court advantage, but I don’t know, we got a lot of good guys in there so I’m definitely going to try to play into that a little bit. I’ve got a few things up my sleeve. I’m not showing them yet.”
Posted on: January 3, 2011 12:03 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 8:08 pm
 

The Game Changer: Memphis mauls the Lakers

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: MEMPHIS WALKS OVER L.A.

This really was kind of a bizarro game. The Lakers fell behind early to a quicker, more athletic Grizzlies team and never had the firepower to really make up the deficit.

It was basically the formula you see good teams use to beat bad ones. A couple 6-2 runs placed in between bigger 10-2 ones and before you know it, the margin is 20. And that's what the Grizzlies did to the Lakers all night.

Kobe tried to shoot the Lakers back into the game late finishing with a fourth quarter flurry of points, but it was too late. Rudy Gay had already done too much damage, Zach Randolph had already had his way inside and O.J. Mayo had already gotten hot from outside.

Obviously the look here is at the Lakers who have lost again, this time big against a sub-.500 team. But really, shouldn't we be impressed a little with the Grizzlies? They've started playing much better the past few games and take away Tyreke Evans' miracle and they've won four of five. As it stands, they're three below .500 but have three straight tough ones playing the Thunder twice and the Jazz in the middle.

But while the Lakers will gain most of the chatter for getting worked over by Memphis, I think it's at least courteous to give a little credit where credit is due. The Lakers don't lose just by playing bad. Someone had to make them do it. And the Grizzlies did Sunday.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Blake Griffin had a very Blake Griffin night. Big highlights and 31 point and 15 rebounds.

DeAndre Jordan was actually quite good as well: six points, 12 rebounds and six blocks

DeMarcus Cousins had the best game of his young career with 28 points, eight rebounds and six assists

Danny Granger finished with 25 points and 17 rebounds in a loss to the Knicks.

Antwan Jamison dropped 35 and pulled in 10 boards, but the Cavs lost to the Mavericks.

RONDO RETURNS, BOSTON WINS

It wasn't against a great team or anything, but the Celtics got Rajon Rondo back and took care of business, dispersing the Raptors. Paul Pierce scored 30 on 15 shots, but it was having Rondo back that was the story. He played 34 minutes, scored four points and ` out eight assists, but just his presence commandeering the Celtics was a huge difference.

With Rondo, there's a different level of execution. The spacing is terrific and the team plays just with a looser, more confident feel to it.

Getting Kevin Garnett back is the next goal, but just having Rondo on the floor again is nice for Boston.

MAVS BEAT CAVS

For Cleveland, that's 17 out of 18 in the loss column. For the Mavericks, it's now one out of four without Dirk Nowitzki. I just thought that was worth pointing out. Plus I wanted to say "Mavs beat Cavs."

PORTLAND GETS A LEG UP

In a battle for the now-getting-more-and-more-interesti
ng eight-seed spot, the Trail Blazers took down the Rockets behind a big game from Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Even without Brandon Roy when the Blazers play in the open floor the way they did, they look like a capable playoff team. They always defend, they always rebound, but it's the offensive execution where sometimes they lack. But against the Rockets, everything was on point especially when the Blazers ran.

Houston has been coming on strong lately, and a team Portland will likely be fighting with for months to come. It's not a statement so much as it's a leg up on the nearest competition. The Blazers are potentially good enough to solidify themselves as an eight-seed or higher contender despite injuries, but winning games against the direct competition is key.

Paul Pierce SMASHY

Blake Griffin had himself another stellar finish yesterday, but Paul Pierce gets the dunk award for the day with this Griffinesque cram.


PARTING THOUGHT

The Clippers did a very Clipper thing by blowing a late lead over the Hawks by surrendering 37 fourth quarter points. This Clipper team has some really nice pieces. But they're obviously one of those young groups that isn't exactly sure how to win or finish. They keep reminding me of the Thunder from two years ago. Clearly talented but just not ready to win consistently. Patience is key here, but I think by April, we're going to have reason to be impressed.
Posted on: December 30, 2010 4:30 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:56 pm
 

Garnett out 'couple of weeks' with calf strain

Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett reportedly suffered a right calf muscle strain and is expected out for roughly two weeks. Posted by Ben Golliver

Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett dodged a bullet, as an MRI conducted Thursday after Garnett suffered a leg injury during Wednesday night's game against the Detroit Pistons reportedly revealed only a calf muscle strain in his right leg. The Celtics expect Garnett to miss "a couple of weeks." It was initially feared that Garnett re-injured his right knee during a dunk attempt, but word came out post-game that he had suffered a leg injury and not a knee injury, which could have potentially derailed Boston's title hopes. In Garnett's absence, the Celtics will turn to third-year forward Glen Davis, who is averaging career-highs in points (12.1), rebounds (5.7) and minutes (29) so far this season. The Celtics have already tapped their bench this season, using reserve guard Nate Robinson in place of starting point guard Rajon Rondo's absence due to an ankle injury. Here's the video of Garnett's injury, which occurred during the first quarter of Boston's 104-92 loss to the Pistons in Detroit. For more coverage of Garnett's injury from Wednesday night, click here.
Posted on: December 30, 2010 1:20 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:54 pm
 

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard top NBA All-Star vote

The latest round of votes for the NBA All-Star game have been announced, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Orlando Magic centerkobe-dwight Dwight Howard lead the Western and Eastern Conferences, respectively. Posted by Ben Golliver

The NBA All-Star game fan voting process is one of the world's most elaborate popularity contests, and some familiar names top the latest round of this year's results, released today by the NBA.   Western Conference
In the Western Conference, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant leads the way, and he is the top overall vote-getter, clocking in at more than 1.1 million. The other current starters for the West include Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul, Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony and Houston Rockets center Yao Ming. Yao, of course, has played just five games so far this season due to injuries, and recently suffered a season-ending stress fracture in his ankle. Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who has also missed extensive time due to injuries this year, is in second place behind Yao. Yes, this makes no sense. Did the fans get it right?  Bryant and Durant are locks. You can quibble between Paul or Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams, but Paul is a solid choice. MVP candidate Dirk Nowitzi is the biggest snub here, as he should certainly be in above Anthony. As for the center position, the ballot for that position is a mess and the West should probably just play four-on-five.
Eastern Conference

In the Eastern Conference, there's no question about which center is most deserving (and popular). Indeed, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard leads the East in overall votes, at just under one million. He's joined by Miami Heat forward LeBron James, Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and Boston Celtics guard Rajon RondoDid the fans get it right? 

Howard, James and Wade are all locks. There's a strong argument that Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose should be in ahead of Rondo, but I like Rondo here as well. As for Garnett, he probably deserves to get bumped so that New York Knicks power forward and MVP candidate Amar'e Stoudemire fills out the starting five. That's not as bad an oversight as Anthony over Nowitzki, but a little team diversity in the starting lineup never hurt anyone. Here's the full list of votes for the starters courtesy of an NBA press release.
Bryant, The Finals MVP last season, is the overall leader with 1,153,694 votes.In  the Western Conference, Bryant, a three-time All-Star MVP, who garnered the  honor  in 2002, 2007 and 2009, is followed at guard by the New Orleans Hornets’  Chris  Paul  (585,690).  Kevin  Durant,  a  member of last year’s All-NBA First Team, paces forwards in the West (735,521), with the Nuggets’ Carmelo  Anthony  (602,516) second. The Houston Rockets’ Yao Ming (637,527) is  the  leading  vote-getter  among  Western  Conference centers, with the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum (376,283) placing second.
Howard,  the  leading  vote-getter  in  the Eastern Conference with 988,572 votes, paces centers in the East, followed by the Boston Celtics’ Shaquille O’Neal  (410,663).  James,  a two-time All-Star MVP (2006, 2008), leads all Eastern  Conference  forwards  with 969,459 votes, followed by the Celtics’ Kevin  Garnett  (712,555), MVP of the 2003 All-Star Game. The Heat’s Dwyane Wade  paces  all  guards  with  938,402  votes; the Celtics’ Rajon Rondo is second among guards in the East (777,310).
The 2011 NBA All-Star game will be played on February 20 in Los Angeles, California.
Posted on: December 16, 2010 4:06 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:38 pm
 

Ainge: Rajon Rondo out 'couple weeks' with ankle

Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge reports that guard Rajon Rondo will miss time with an ankle injury. Posted by Ben Golliver

Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge told Boston radio station WEEI on Thursday that Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo will miss "a couple of weeks" with a left ankle injury.  Rondo sprained his ankle while driving to the hoop during the early fourth quarter of Wednesday's game against the New York Knicks and briefly left the court with the assistance of teammates and training staff members.  He later reappeared during the game, but was clearly favoring the ankle and not moving smoothly. Here's video of the play, courtesy of NBAfufu on YouTube. And here's a snapshot of Rondo rolling his ankle on the play. You can clearly see it's a severe roll. rajon-rondo-ankle Image courtesy of @Jose3030 (as always). Prior to Ainge's declaration, Rondo told reporters on Thursday morning that he would attempt to play Thursday night, as the Celtics host the Atlanta Hawks. ESPNBoston.com quotes Rondo acknowledging pain but expecting to play.
"It hurts, but all ankle sprains hurt," said Rondo, who has also battled a sore left hamstring, which recently sidelined him for five games, and plantar fasciitis. "I expect to play. I think I'm going to do [X-rays Thursday] morning and see how I feel. Get through the night and hope it doesn't swell up."
Rondo has averaged 11.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, a league-leading 13.8 assists, and 2.3 steals in 38.5 minutes per game so far this season.   The Celtics have the best record in the Eastern Conference, at 20-4. With guard Delonte West already out with a wrist injury, the Celtics will have to lean more heavily on backup point guard Nate Robinson.
Posted on: December 16, 2010 1:59 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2010 2:11 pm
 

First All-Star returns are in; any surprises?

Posted by Royce Young

The first returns for the 2011 All-Star teams are in and really, not a lot of big surprises. Kobe Bryant leads the West, Dwight Howard leads the East and for a 10th consecutive year, Brian Cardinal is nowhere to be found.

Looking over the numbers, obviously the first thing that has to stick out is of course Yao Ming and Andrew Bynum being the top two vote-getters at center in the West. Between the two, they've played a grand total of seven games.

This is what irks so many about letting fans votes, but that's just the way it is. Yao has the most populated country in the world voting for him and Bynum has probably the biggest fanbase voting for him. It's the way it works. I'd love to complain and gripe about it and tell you how Tyson Chandler or Al Jefferson should be getting consideration, but nobody's listening.

(Seriously though, neither Chandler or Jefferson were even on the first returns? Really? Chris Kaman, Andris Biedrins and DeMarcus Cousins are but the two most productive Western centers aren't? And Derek Fisher has 81,000 votes but the league's leading rebounder Kevin Love only has 700 more? I hate people sometimes.)

So if the All-Star Game were today, the starters for each conference would be:

EAST
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Dwyane Wade
SF: LeBron James
PF: Kevin Garnett
C: Dwight Howard

WEST
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Kobe Bryant
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Pau Gasol
C: Yao Ming

The closest current races are Carmelo behind Gasol and Derrick Rose behind Rondo. Gasol trails Anthony by about 20,000 votes and Rose is behind Rondo by about 75,000 votes.

One mild and pleasant surprise is that Kevin Durant is the second-leading vote-getter in the West behind Kobe. Durant has 470,881 votes to his name right now, still almost 300,000 behind Kobe though. But Durant is well on his way to his second All-Star team and first one as a starter. He's ahead of talented players like Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony and Tim Duncan. Quite a big year for Durant. From a player known only as underrated and hidden in the league's smallest market to the second top star in the West only behind Kobe is a big step up.

The East though is basically the Miami Heat and friends. LeBron and Dwyane Wade are two of the top three vote-getters with Dwight Howard being second, Rajon Rondo fourth and Kevin Garnett fifth. The "other" guy on the Heat, Chris Bosh, is fifth among forwards right now with 161,801 votes. Interesting players that are ahead of Bosh in the East in total votes? Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Shaquille O'Neal. I guess if you really wanted the spotlight Chris, you should've went to Boston.

Talking rookies, Blake Griffin leads all so far with more than 245,000 votes. John Wall checks in with a little over 120,000 and Cousins has 37,000 in a watered down center class in the West.

Of course, these are just the first returns and things can definitely change. You'll see those kids at games with a stack four feet tall of ballots and then may all have only Derek Fisher's name punched. But more than likely, the two starting units will end up close to what they are now.
Posted on: December 10, 2010 2:50 pm
 

The NBA Quarterly All-Star Teams

Posted by Royce Young



It's never too early to start thinking about the All-Star Game. Well, I take that back. It probably is too early. But I wrote the body of this post before the intro so I'm pressing on anyway.

We're a quarter of the way done with the 2010-11 NBA season. Everybody has at least 20 games under their belt. We've learned a lot. The Heat can be good, the Spurs are great, the Lakers oddly struggle at times, Blake Griffin is exciting and Boston won't let you score... ever.

But on top of that, a few players have started that whole breakout thing. And a lot of the old good ones have stayed really good. The NBA truly has a ridiculous amount of talent right now. Seriously, this is a great time for the league. Except for that lockout stuff but I'm not going to mention that.

So because I think a lot about non-important things like the All-Star Game and Chick-Fil-A sauce, I began to notice how tough it's going to be to narrow down a 12-man roster for both conference. If there were an At The Quarter All-Star Team, it would already be quite a task to select that.

So naturally, here's my At The Quarter All-Star Teams:

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Starters:
PG: Deron Williams (21.8 ppg, 10.1 apg)
I'd say the starting Western point guard spot is the toughest to pick in the whole league. Look at the candidates: Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Stephen Curry. But Williams is the starters right now because he's commandeering an elite Western team, along with having terrific numbers.

SG: Kobe Bryant (26.6 ppg, 4.5 apg)
Kobe is the type of player that will probably be an All-Star Game starter for life since the fans vote make that happen, but it's well-deserved at this point. He's second in the league in scoring and is having a classic Kobe season. Big shots, big plays and big numbers on the biggest stage.

SF: Kevin Durant (27.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
By his standards, he's struggled a bit. His percentages are a bit down, he's missed a few games because of an ankle sprain and then a sore knee and he's seen his teammate Russell Westbrook steal some of his Thunder. But KD still leads the league in scoring and is still the leader on a very good Thunder team.

PF: Dirk Nowitzki (24.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg)
If I were voting, Dirk would be getting my MVP vote. Which would be weird because the season's only 25 percent done and I also don't have a vote. But Dirk is having one of his finest seasons and leading the hottest and second best team in the league (tied with Boston at 17-4). The Mavericks have found a new identity behind defense and ball pressure, but Dirk is the same old awesome Dirk.

C: Blake Griffin (20.0 ppg, 11.7 rpg)
Remember when the West used to be so stacked with big men that figuring out the starting front court was a nightmare? It's not that way anyone. There's been a shift to point guard in the West for those issues. But really, who do you start here? The best "center" is probably Tyson Chandler and maybe Al Jefferson right now. Both have been good, but I'm going to fudge and give it to Griffin. His numbers are worthy at 20-12, but he's everything that an All-Star should be. He has the league buzzing, every night is a potential highlight-fest and he's the most can't-miss guy going. To me, if we're selecting an All-Star team right now, he's got to be on it.

Bench:
Russell Westbrook, PG: Westbrook leads Western point guards in scoring, plus he's got better "LeBron" numbers than LeBron at 23.7 ppg, 8.6 apg and 5.5 rpg.

Chris Paul, PG: Weird to have CP3 on the bench considering he's in the top two or three for MVP, but again, the West is stacked. His team's little slide lately isn't helping either.

Manu Ginobili, SG: The best team in the league doesn't have an MVP candidate? Who says so? Because Manu is certainly playing like one, at least in my mind.

Monta Ellis, SG: Ellis barely gets the nod over Eric Gordon who is also having a really good year. They score virtually the same amount but Ellis has simply been a bit more efficient.

Luis Scola, PF: The Rockets may be struggling and disappointing, but Scola hasn't. Coming off a big World Championships where he raised expectations for himself, Scola has lived up to it in every way.

Kevin Love, PF: He's leading the league in rebounding, and it's not close (15.5 per game, Joakim Noah is next at 12.3). This season there have been 11 20-20 games. Love has six of them.

Tyson Chandler, C: The last spot is where things get a bit hairy. Chandler has been having a re-birth of a season with the Mavericks, protecting the rim and playing solid offense. And just barely does he get the nod of Al Jefferson for the lone center on the roster simply because playing both ends counts for something.

Tough cuts: Stephen Curry, Steve Nash, Carmelo Anthony, Rudy Gay.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Starters:
PG: Derrick Rose (25.1 ppg, 8.1 apg)
Rose wondered why he couldn't be an MVP candidate before the season. And there's no doubt he should be, if only he could get his team to win a few more games. But he leads all point guards in scoring (fourth in the league) and is dishing out a career-high assist average. Rose is the total package right now at point and really, one of the top two or three players in the entire conference.

SG: Dwyane Wade (22.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg)
His numbers are down a bit, but there's an obvious reason why. I'll be honest, if there was another really impressive shooting guard in the East, Wade wouldn't be such a lock. But because the East is pretty thin there (Stephen Jackson? Ray Allen? Vince Carter?) Wade is the starter by default.

SF: LeBron James (24.1 ppg, 7.3 apg)
Despite what his numbers say, he's still the most talented and gifted player in the game. And it's not like the stats aren't excellent anyway. He's just set a bar so high for himself there that all of a sudden 24-7-5 doesn't look so great.

PF: Amar'e Stoudemire (25.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg)
Not only are the Knicks winning, but Amar'e has been fairly awesome this season. He's third in the league in scoring and has just broken a franchise record held by Bernand King for most consecutive games with 30 points (six). That's like, pretty good.

C: Dwight Howard (20.9 ppg, 12.1 rpg)
Forget the fact there's not a ton of competition here. Howard has maybe been the most productive NBA player this season. He's scoring at a career-high rate, plus putting up his typical big rebounding and blocked shots numbers. His developing post game is no joke and he's becoming the total package at center.

Bench:
Rajon Rondo, PG: His 14.1 assists per game are obviously eye-catching, but he's also turning it over 4.0 times a game, second in the league.

Raymond Felton, PG: Yep, seriously. He's playing on a winning club and his numbers are great! No really, they are! Look at them, I promise I'm not lying!

Ray Allen, SG: Nothing spectacular from the league's best shooter, but his stats are solid, his team is good and he's already hit a number of big shots just a quarter of the way in.

Danny Granger, SF: Come real selection time, he might get squeezed for a bigger name, but he's made the team once. He's a great scorer and now that he's on a decent team, he's deserving.

Kevin Garnett, PF: As long as he's still moving his way up and down the court, he's an All-Star. Plus, don't look, but he's actually having a pretty darn good season.

Roy Hibbert, C: A chic pick for Most Improved, the 7'3 Pacer big man has a well-developed game. Post moves, power moves and even a distance jumpshot.

Andrea Bargnani, C: Probably a stretch especially since Al Horford likely deserves it more, but Barge Nanny is sixth in the East in scoring and in his last few games has really looked fantastic, punctuated by a 41-point explosion against the Knicks Wednesday.

Tough cuts: Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Paul Pierce, John Wall, Shaquille O'Neal
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com