We will go position-by-position here and discuss which team has the edge in tonight’s NBA All-Star Game. * Denotes starter
East: Kyrie Irving* (Cavaliers), John Wall (Wizards)
West: Stephen Curry* (Warriors), Chris Paul (Clippers, Tony Parker (Spurs)
Easy one here, as the West holds a huge advantage over the East. Irving and Wall are fringe-elite Point Guards, while Curry and Paul are considered the two best in the game by a wide margin. Curry is almost automatic from beyond the arc, shooting at 41% from that range this season. That is the worst of his career, as he has, over his five-season career, shot at a 46.5% clip. Paul is the best passer in the game, and also is the best defensively at the Point Guard position, and the only player who matches his passing ability is Parker.
Edge: West, by a lot
East: Dwyane Wade* (Heat), Demar DeRozan (Raptors), Joe Johnson (Nets)
West: James Harden* (Rockets), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers)
Much tougher competition. While Wade and Johnson provide the most star-power, Harden and Lillard are both up-and-comers who have flourished early in their careers. Johnson was, and still is, a huge surprise as an all star. With that being said, DeRozan is an under-the-radar Shooting Guard who is going to play well in this type of game. Underrated is over-run by overrated however, and the West holds an edge here. Harden is quickly becoming one of the top five or 10 best players in the NBA, and Lillard is by far the best players from last season’s draft class.
East: LeBron James* (Heat), Carmelo Anthony* (Knicks), Paul Millsap (Hawks)
West: Kevin Durant * (Thunder), Kevin Love* (Timberwolves)
Kevin Love isn’t really a Small Forward, but should get a lot of playing time there due to the fact that the West is a very tall team, soemthing which will become evident later in the preview. The first two players for each side are almost evenly matched, but I must give the edge to the East. Adding one more player to this position for the East gives them a huge advantage. Any position group with LeBron and Carmelo is good enough to beat out any other group.
East: Paul George * (Pacers), Chris Bosh (Heat)
West: Blake Griffin* (Clippers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Trail Blazers), Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks)
Paul George is the tallest starter on the Eastern Conference team, meaning he will be playing this spot much more than he’s accustomed to. This is another giant advantage for the West. Griffin will be a star in this style of game, while Aldridge will dominate the post and Nowitzki will make shots that 7′ players usually don’t. I would put these three at the SF-PF-C spots and not feel disadvantaged at all. They’re all very tall, but also athletic and gifted on the basketball court.
East: Roy Hibbert (Pacers), Joakim Noah (Bulls)
West: Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Dwight Howard (Rockets)
What the West does at the other four positions will be fun and entertaining. The two Centers for the West will dominate on defense and grab every rebound that comes near them. These two are two of the best shot-blockers I’ve ever had the privilege of watching and they will keep whoever is stuck playing “Center” for the East in check. I give the edge to the West again, but not by much, since the East’s Centers are also great defensively.
I see domination by the West. I could definitely see something along the lines of 150-125. But don’t count out LeBron James putting the East on his back. Although he may not care about the game, the lack of defense could allow him to put up over 40 points, if he decides to.