Blogtable: Player who needs (and deserves) to be an All-Star starter?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

BLOGTABLE: Player who needs to be an All-Star starter? |
Most impressive thing about Warriors is _____? | New coach and GM for Nets?

VIDEOWhich players out East are in need of more All-Star love?

> There’s one more week to vote before All-Star starters are announced on TNT. Give me one player in the East and one player in the West who need (and deserve) a late push from fans to make the starting five.

David Aldridge, TNT analyst: With the caveat that I understand and have no problem with fans voting in the starters (it’s their game and they can choose to see whoever they want to see), from a merit perspective, John Wall in the East has certainly had a better season than Kyrie Irving so far. I’d also argue he’s having a better season than Dwyane Wade as well. Irving may be a better player — and he made his case clear by thumping Wall and the Wizards last week – but he just got back on the floor an hour ago. Wall has been sensational for the last six weeks. Out West (same caveat), it’s not debatable that Kawhi Leonard should be a merit-based starter over Kobe Bryant in the front court. He’s been sensational at both ends, and his team has been just as impressive as the Warriors, given its dependency on older players.

Steve Aschburner, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry in the East and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard in the West. Lowry has been the most deserving guard in the East since the start of the season, an MVP candidate on his team for his play and his leadership, which started with his commitment to arrive in his best shape ever. Only 1,300 votes separated Leonard and Draymond Green in the most recent balloting results and both have earned the recognition. But if there’s no unseating Kobe Bryant as a starter, Leonard should leap-frog Green as a nod to the Spurs’ first half and for being, possibly, a more transferable talent than Green’s somewhat-system success.

Fran Blinebury, East: Kyle Lowry. His numbers are on par with other candidates Jimmy Butler and John Wall. But the home-court Toronto Raptors deserve a starter and Lowry gets an extra edge for making his personal commitment to Toronto. West: Kawhi Leonard. The best player on what is either the first or second-best team in the NBA deserves the starting lineup over the shadow of Kobe Bryant.

Scott Howard-Cooper, East: Jimmy Butler. I thought about Kyle Lowry and John Wall, because both deserve to be in Toronto, or to stay in Toronto in Lowry’s case, but Butler needs more of a finishing kick than Lowry. West: Kawhi Leonard. He doesn’t even a push, based on the polling numbers from last week. Just a slight nudge. But Leonard, the best front-court player the first half of the season, obviously belongs in the first five for the All-Star Game, whether he will care for two seconds or not.

Shaun Powell, Jimmy Butler in the East and Kawhi Leonard in the West. You could make the argument that Butler is more deserving than any guard in the East. As for Leonard, he’s not catching Kobe Bryant in the popular vote, but based on his first half, he’s as good as they get in the West.

John Schuhmann, In the East, it’s Kyle Lowry, who trailed Kyrie Irving for the second guard spot by less than 30,000 votes last week. It’s great that Irving is healthy, but he hasn’t played enough to merit an All-Star selection. Lowry is one of three East guards – Jimmy Butler and DeMar DeRozan are the others – that deserve serious consideration here and is the closest to making the voting legit. In the West, Kawhi Leonard definitely deserves a spot, but not necessarily at the expense of Draymond Green, who led him by less than 2,000 votes last week. There’s no catching Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant, though.

Sekou Smith, In the East, I’m going with Detroit’s Andre Drummond. He’s been an absolute monster this season, piling up double-doubles at a rate no one else in the league can keep up with. Drummond has done the one thing coaches have asked talented young prospects to do for years, and that’s work on the mechanics of his game and take advantage of all of his physical gifts. He belongs in that first five on All-Star Sunday. In the West, Kawhi Leonard shouldn’t need the push but he certainly deserves it. If you haven’t seen them much this year, please know that Leonard and the Spurs are the best thing going this season outside of Oakland. Leonard has made a compelling case for MVP this season, he should be a starter on the Western Conference All-Star team.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.comToronto is No. 2 in the East and the host of the All-Star Game next month, so how have the Canadians failed to vote for DeMar DeRozan (or Kyle Lowry) ahead of Kyrie Irving, who has played in only 10 games for Cleveland? In the West, the fans have it exactly right, especially in their treatment of Kobe Bryant. He deserves to start in his final season. But for those who feel no sentiment or respect, I suppose the next-best choice should be Kawhi Leonard.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blogI can’t believe how far out of the running Atlanta’s Paul Millsap has been in the initial voting returns. He’s the best player on the fourth-best team in the Eastern Conference, leading the Hawks in points (18.3), rebounds (8.7) and steals (1.9) per game. He doesn’t make a lot of headlines and isn’t particularly witty on social media, but he deserves to be an All-Star this season. And out West, the season Dirk Nowitzki is having is incredible at any age, not to mention at age 37.


  1. Mike Lowrey says:

    Nikola Vucevic should be an All-star no BS

  2. Zayd Arif says:

    Dude its like Kawhi Leanard over and over again but honestly hes already gonna be in the allstar game so he doesnt reall need a push. I would say dirk cause at age 37 he can still pull it off he is playing great and he needs a push more than anyone else.

  3. Ogie D. says:

    Mr. Aldridge agree with you that John Wall deserves a slot at the All Star but stating that Wall is having a better season than DWade is not. DWade is having a tremendous season getting back to his 2003-2006 form although a lot older. Wade has been deservedly an All star all his NBA life. He does what he does to make the HEAT team better. Remember stepping down as alpha dog to get LBJ in his groove, making his teammates..rookies, past their prime stars, developing stars, hesitant stars a push to make them better players, better team players. All these despite spates if injuries year in, year out. My money will always be for No. 3 !

  4. GABRIEL says:


  5. Spencer says:

    The All-Star selection isn’t even about what true fans want to see.
    It’s geared toward young fans, international fans who have a very limited and narrow exposure to the league, and loser fans who have nothing better to do than vote literally 10 times a day for their favorite players.
    It’s a marketing gimmick, pure and simple. Players’ legacies and even their salaries are on the line due to All-Star selection provisions in their contract, yet the selection process is treated as seriously as coming up with a new Doritos flavor. I think it’s a disgrace to the sport, personally.

  6. Frank says:

    How someone (S.Aschburner) could say K.Leonard deserves to be ahead of Drayton Green is crazy and their basketball cards should be taken away. Calling Green a product of a system when Leonard Is just that (we are talking about the Spurs!!!!).Every year they contend and are top 3 team in the NBA the last decade regardless WHO plays. That is a system if there ever was one. Green is a better all around player in my opinion and it’s shows statistically. Ohhh and by the way I believe the Warriors have had a better half of the season than the Spurs (just look it up). No head coach H.Barnes,F.Ezeli,L.Barbosa,S.Curry, and S.Livingston have all missed time this year so it hasn’t been the healthy team it was last year either. Just saying

    • Chris egbuchunam says:

      Wtf. Noooooooo tf r u talking about. How? Take green off his team and unstill have a finals team. Take kawhi off his team u dont. Simple as that.

      • frank says:

        There much for you to learn my friend…have you seen the on/off the court numbers of Green? Look em up and see what it is…..As for Leonard he’s playing with maybe top 2 best coach in NBA history Along with the best So-called roster in basketball. Let them beat the clippers in the playoffs then talk to me.

    • GJ says:

      How can you say Kawhi is playing for the second best coach in the NBA when clearly Coach Pop is arguably the best coach in the NBA and possibly one of the best ever in history. Kerr is barely in his second year and how can you even say he’s considered at the number 1 best coach just dumb founds me and tells me that is the most ignorant statement. Now Draymond Green is a better all around player then Kawhi Leonard omg who has been lying to you! Does free have a Finals MVP or a Defensive Player of the Year uhh no and no Green has neither. Leonard is truly the better all around player then Green. So should Leonard deserve to be in over Green or any other player based on all around play yes he does. So you Frank have much to learn about who the best coach is (Pop) and who is the best Western Conference all around player is (Leonard not Green) then you can state your case…

  7. DT says:

    Porzingis deserve to be an ALL STAR team!!!

  8. Dwine says:

    In the East it should be Jimmy Butler a complete player in both ends of the floor he deserves a spot on this All Star Starting Unit. While in the West Kahwi Leonard is the perfect choice. I would not give the spot to Kobe for SYMPATHY only because he is retiring.. the stats can prove it how good Kahwi in both ends of the floor as well.

  9. Bryant says:

    The big boy down in Dallas Zaza.

  10. Max says:

    The all star game is meant to be for the fans

  11. Ties between Paul Milsap and and Drummond in the least and Draymond Green and Cousins in the west.

  12. reggohllabam'i says:

    Nope, Ian Thomsen, you are DEFINITELY WRONG. Apparently you’re one of the ones NOT LOOKING SOLELY ON THIS SEASON’S STATS. This should not be a retirement gift and again should not be because of CAREER. also, LAL is at the bottom of the conference. So no, Bryant certainly SHOULD NOT BE STARTING AND SHOULD NOT BE EVEN ON THE TEAM. PERIOD.
    I hope he ends up with another bad injury that will keep him from playing in the All-star as a punishment to all of his worshippers and band wagoners that voted for him.

    • NBA Fan says:

      Why should any player be acknowledged for just half a season’s contribution? That makes zero sense. I do think that for a player to get in the ASG he should still be playing at a high level at some point between the last ASG and the current voting, but basing it only on the current season is equally WRONG! I didn’t vote for Kobe for this year’s All Star game, but there really is nothing wrong with it. It doesn’t make a person a “band wagoner” or “worshiper”, just a fan. Wishing a player will get injured is really sad and pathetic. Wishing THAT makes a person a true HATER!

  13. Bodjee says:

    I also think that Kyle Lowly and DeMar DeRozan has played very well for the first half of the season and deserve to be starters.

    • FlipDady says:

      Agreed…how are the 2 most important Toronto Raptor’s players not on top of their categories? I personally think voting should be done by the coaches or the reporters.

      • jOLAN says:

        I thought the same thing about voting, but it’s who the fans want to see. Thats why any time someone argues about a player having so many allstars as part of their resume to why they are great, I ignore that stat. It has no bearings as to how good of a player you are. Kobe shouldn’t of been there the last few years. Irving hardly plays and shouldn’t be there either.

      • Garifuna says:

        Or at least coaches pick starters, fans pick backups.

      • NBA Fan says:

        Correction jOLAN, By the criterion of playing well in the season a player is voted in, Kobe shouldn’t have been there the last two years, not the last few. In 12-13, Kobe was playing at an elite, near-MVP level. Also, players who make the All-Star team tend to be the greatest players to have played the game, so the idea that it means nothing on their resume is flawed.

        As for the voting, too many fans complain that it is supposed to be about the first half of a season. Seriously, why should anyone receive any acknowledgement for just half of a season? The All-Star game should be for those players who have achieved the most current popularity based on past performance, including but not limited to the first half of the current season. At the minimum, the second half of the previous season should weigh heavily in the decision to vote a player in, otherwise players who routinely play their best basketball in the 2nd half of the season would get less credit than they deserve, which would be really dumb.

      • NBA Fan says:

        @FlipDady and Garifuna
        That is a horrible idea. Why even have an All-Star game if the fans don’t vote for the starters?