Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Chris Paul has been an All-Star tack for a past 8 years, and that’s not going to change for 2016. Only recently has his place atop a indicate ensure ladder even come underneath siege.
Approaching 30, Paul is still in his prime, renouned and manly adequate to where he’ll contend for another starting nod. He’s piloting a top-five offense for a fourth uninterrupted season, and this will symbol a eighth time he’s averaged during slightest 15 points, 9 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Just one other player has finished a same: Magic Johnson. Next season, presumption health, Paul will coquette with those benchmarks for a ninth time—something no one else has ever done.
Fittingly enough, those continued on-court exploits will also be adequate to seize him All-Star preference No. 9, once again reaffirming what we already know: Paul is good during this whole basketball thing.
James Harden, Houston Rockets
Look, nothing of us like this.
James Harden is a best darn-tootin’ sharpened ensure in a game. He should be starting in 2016. we know it, we know it, Kobe Bryant knows it. But Bryant’s code knows no bounds. He was voted a starter this year, a many emasculate of his career. If not for another injury, Harden would be roving pine.
Be grateful he’s here during all. Other guards are going to suffer, receiving small or no care since a 37-year-old Bryant is a tellurian promenade king. Harden is above being impacted, insofar as it relates to his eligibility.
At 25, he’s usually usually entering his prime. He leads a joining in scoring, is a contact-creating connoisseur, is a favorite for this year’s MVP endowment and has many, many (many) All-Star selections forward of him—next year included.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Wild Card Reserve)
Here’s a list of every player to normal during slightest 19 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds per diversion in any of a final 3 seasons
Yes, Lillard will be in a All-Star diversion subsequent year. No, it won’t be as an damage replacement. He hasn’t nonetheless incited 25, so a best is still to come. And meaningful a lead-in to his best includes dual All-Star appearances, this is a no-brainer.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (Wild Card Reserve)
Consider this your hourly sign that a Western Conference could margin an All-Star group comprising usually indicate guards. Yet in this margin of many, Westbrook still stands out.
Picking opposite him is something we usually don’t do. (Bonus no-no: Never leave him hanging.) He’s a force of inlet that all other army of inlet news to.
If a deteriorate finished today, Westbrook would be the fourth-ever guard to register a actor potency rating north of 28. His association would be Michael Jordan, Wade and Paul.
To trust he won’t make his fifth All-Star coming subsequent deteriorate would be absurd. Disregard a pants-soiling stats; a coaches will opinion him in out of fear for what will occur if they don’t alone.