All-Star teams, sixth man, all-rookie team and rookie of the year, MVP. These aren't predictions on how the voters decide, these are the players who will be most deserving.
Eastern Conference All Stars
Rajon Rondo - The man is unreal.
Derrick Rose - It'll be Wade, but Rose is... kinda good.
LeBron James - There are a lot of good forwards in the East, and not many of them really stand out. I think 'Bron certainly will have figured his role out by February.
Josh Smith - Like I said... but Smith needs more recognition for his impact on that team.
Dwight Howard - Come on.
Dwyane Wade - Should still be Miami's leading scorer.
John Wall - Go ahead. Call me a homer. BALL DON'T LIE.
Brandon Jennings - Tough call on the 3rd guard. I think Jennings will get his act together.
Danny Granger - Well deserving.
Amar'e Stoudemire - Could he really not make it?
Joakim Noah - I can't decide if he's the perfect all-star or the antithesis. No, I'm kidding, definitely the latter. Still will earn it.
Roy Hibbert - LAUGH NOW, BITCHES.
Western Conference All Stars
Chris Paul - *Copy/paste Rondo's description*
Monta Ellis - Yep.
Kevin Durant - No explanation needed.
Dirk Nowitzki - Same old, same old.
Pau Gasol - Not really sure where he is on the ballot, but this is MY team.
Kobe Bryant - He just isn't needed to put up all star numbers. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Steve Nash - Who knows how many he has left? I'm securing him a spot based on lifetime achievement merits alone.
Deron Williams - There are a bunch of deserving guards out West. Deron has to make it, though.
Rudy Gay - I'm telling you, there's going to be times where you'll stop and think, "maybe he is a max player."
Carmelo Anthony - Assuming he's still in Denver.
Blake Griffin - He's a manchild. Though he'll be in plenty of these, so maybe hold off on this one.
Al Jefferson - I'm gonna hang on to my preseason thoughts and say he'll warrant this.
*Jamal Crawford - He's in a contract year and considering his role on that team is similar to Adam Dunn's, in that all he needs to do is swing for the fences, he should have another worthy season.
Lamar Odom - Depending on when Bynum comes back (and if he doesn't just come off the bench as he probably should) Odom would make for a worthy adversary to Crawford.
Wilson Chandler - He's going to put up some numbers in 'Antoni's offense, so he could be a dark horse if he continues to come off the bench.
All-Rookie Team (*Rookie of the Year)
*John Wall - The game against Philly is one of the most amazing rookie performances I've ever seen. Ever. Regardless of sport. Sorry, Blake Griffin fans. It's impossible for me to hyperbolize with this kid, unless I declare him the second coming of Christ....
Eric Bledsoe - This is contingent on the Clippers doing the right thing and either trading Baron Davis or giving him the TO treatment. It's also a reflection on A) how few rookie guards there are and B) how little I like Evan Turner. Turner is going to make a career out of putting up inconsequential numbers. But I digress... Bledsoe isn't a prototypical point guard, but he's definitely a player, and he's the best option the Clippers have at the position.
Evan Turner - It was hard to keep him off this list. I tried, believe me. But I'm not going overboard on my assessment of him. He can play basketball. And he'll get the minutes. Wes Johnson, Derrick Favors, Greg Monroe were just behind him for the other forward spot.
Blake Griffin - He would've beat Tyreke Evans out for last year's award. He probably would've beat out every ROY winner since LeBron (other than Chris Paul). At the least he'd very much be in the running. And there've been some good ones (Kevin Durant, Brandon Roy, Derrick Rose...). Too bad he's up against Wall this year.
DeMarcus Cousins - He's gonna have an up-and-down year, but when the dust settles his numbers will place him here. And he'll have some monster games scattered throughout the season.
*Kevin Durant - Once he gets going it'll be his award to lose. Last year he was a 21-year old averaging 30 points per, to go along with almost 8 rebounds a 3 assists, on a 50-win team. I have OKC winning 59 this year, and even if KD merely equals those individual numbers, he wins.
Chris Paul - This award was made for CP3. If he doesn't win multiple MVPs before his time is up it'll be due to injuries or just God-awful teams.
Derrick Rose - I have never seen someone cover so much ground in the half-court offense in so little time. Nobody has a quicker first step. He's a lot like Chris Johnson (of NFL fame), in that if he gets by the first defender, it's over. He's getting the basket or he's getting to the line. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I saw someone make the case that because it is so damn easy for him to get to the basket he really has no need to do anything else, and his playmaking skills will suffer for it. I respect the concern, and I respectfully disagree. His career path to date has been similar to the model of development he showed in his year at Memphis, when he started off as the supremely physically gifted kid who relied solely on those gifts and transformed into the all-around superstar everyone remembers.
Oh yea, and he's got a jumper now, too.
Dwight Howard - LeBron and Wade teaming up opens the door for all these other guys to take a step up. If Howard's offensive game really has developed, he'll be a viable contender to Durant. Though my issue with Dwight's candidacy hasn't been his scoring as much as his inexcusably low assist numbers.
LeBron James - Wade's hope of ever winning one of these went out the window (he should've won a couple years ago) when LeBron took his talents down to South Beach. If James takes that Magic role I've talked about and averages the double-digit assists that he can, he's right back up here.
Monta Ellis - Unfortunately I think I jinxed Ellis. Just as I've been talking him up, as I'm typing this he's in the Warriors' locker room having x-rays done on his back. SPINAL. I really hope he's gonna be fine because he alone has made League Pass worth every penny. He's just so much more in tune with the flow of the game than he's ever been. Maybe it's 'cause he got married in the offseason..?
Rajon Rondo - There are two main forces conspiring against Rondo's candidacy, and I'm not sure which is bigger. For one thing, that Celtics team is STACKED. The Old Three, plus every other player on that team would crack just about every rotation in the league. Rondo also can't shoot or score. Like, at all. Dallas just left him WIDE OPEN with a two point lead (guess what happened). To his credit his shot does seem to pick up in opportune times, especially in the playoffs, but that doesn't really help him here. But if he somehow averages 15+ assists on a top-seeded Boston Celtics team he'd at least have to be mentioned.