5. LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
The King. The Finals MVP. Cleveland’s Favorite Child. Sure, age may finally be starting to ding up LBJ. Early on, when everyone on the Cavaliers were healthy, he wasn’t even the team’s top scorer. But recent injuries to the other two parts of Cleveland’s “Big Three,” Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, have forced him to put his Superman cape back on. As a result? Averages of 25.8 points, including a 37.5 three-point clip, 7.8 rebounds, and 8.5 assists. Those last three numbers? His best since returning to The Land.
Only injury will prevent LeBron James from playing in the All-Star Game. And given how resilient he’s been ever since he got into the NBA (most of his missed games come as a result of rest), even that might not stop him.
6. Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
A hamstring injury has sidelined him as of writing, but the Cavs are confident that’s a minor nit, and nothing to worry about. Hopefully they’re right, because Irving was responsible for a pair of iconic, clutch jumpers in 2016: the go-ahead score in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, and the Christmas Day dagger, both against the Golden State Warriors.
You can of course, pick apart his defense (or lack thereof), but given how only Leonard plays defense in this one (barring the last two minutes), Uncle Drew’s 23.9 points and 6.0 dimes are headed to the All-Star Game.
7. DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
In an age where everyone, including power forwards and centers, are embracing the three-pointer, DeMar DeRozan might be a bit of a throwback. Either that or he’s zigging where everyone’s zagging. Regardless of what you call it, it works. DeRozan is a mid-range jump shot assassin, and he’s more deadly than ever – averaging 27.5 points on a 47.3 percent clip (49.8 percent on two-pointers), plus 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals.
Oh, and because it’s an All-Star Game, don’t forget that DeRozan is one of The North’s best dunkers, right up there with good old Air Canada Vince Carter. If he gets out on the break, expect DeMar to soar.
8. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
Every season, “The Greek Freak” grows by leaps and bounds, adding more and more to his game. In his fourth NBA season, he’s literally doing it all for his Milwaukee Bucks side, putting up 23.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.9 steals, and 2.0 blocks. That’s tops for his team in all five of those categories.
And yet it’s the way he’s getting those numbers that make him so fun to watch. Blessed with the wingspan of a pterodactyl, he’s at worst, Michael Jordan at the end of Space Jam stretching out his arm for the dunk, or Mr. Fantastic, at best. Blink, and he’ll be across the court thanks to his long strides. Give him an inch of air space and he’ll rise up from half-court and dunk on you. He may be the only guy on this list that hasn’t made an All-Star team yet, but expect that to be remedied in 2017.
Who’s on your All-Star List this year? Let us know about them below!