Thursday, January 24, 2013

Taking a Look at the NBA All Star Starter Matchups

Most teams have already reached the halfway point in their season, and it seems like once again the NBA season is flying by.
Stars are preparing to lace up their sneakers and get ready for the All Star game on February 17.
The festivities show promise, especially seeing the amount of returning faces to the starting lineups.

But how will the starting lineups stack up against each other?

1. At the point guard position…
Chris Paul vs. Rajon Rondo

Two of the most exciting players to watch in the NBA this season, Rondo and Paul have separated themselves as the best of their respective position.
Paul has the quickness and the ball handling skills that are unmatched in the NBA, and Rondo has the craftiness and the leadership ability that give him an edge over almost every point guard that he has faced this season.
I will give this matchup to Chris Paul, but not by much.  Rondo may lead the league in assists, but quickness kills, and Paul is the quickest point guard in the league.
Rondo is already one of the most turnover prone players and 9 times out of 10 he is driving to the basket; especially with Chris Paul’s tantalizing defense, turnovers should be an expected problem for the east.

2. Coming in at the 2 guard…
Dwyane Wade vs. Kobe Bryant

It’s hard to believe, but these guys are going to be two of the oldest players in the All Star game.
Now lets take a look at the matchup.
Kobe has the jump shot and has proved over the course of this season that age has taken little affect on his game.
Wade however has struggled this season. After missing a lot of the 2011-2012 season, it is obvious the Dwyane Wade is not the same man that we saw in the 2006 finals vs. Dallas. He is not able to score at nearly the same rate that he once was.
Basically, Wade might have been able to slash, but like LeBron’s talent in 2009 his game has gone south for the year. So I will give this matchup to the Mamba.

3. At Small Forward…
LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant

This is probably the premier matchup to look forward to in this year’s game.
Representing the Eastern Conference you have the 28 year old, 3 time MVP who is being forced to carry a team on his shoulders.
Representing the Western Conference you have a 6’9” shooting guard with a monster like wingspan, who has shown that on the offensive end of the court he can score on any player in the league.
But who will win the matchup?
This time I’m going with the eastern conference.
LeBron has shown the whole season that he knows how to carry a team, and with an aging eastern conference squad he will have to do it again.
Durant may be able to score at will, but James has the athleticism and the strength to slow him down.
The Heat Thunder matchup on Christmas day should foreshadow what the All Star game matchup will be like. Both James and Durant will light up the box scores, but James will end up on top.

4. At Power Forward…
Blake Griffin vs. Carmelo Anthony

Another great matchup for the highlight reels.
Anthony brings his amazing scoring ability to the table while Griffin brings his dazzling athleticism.
Although this promises to be a great matchup, we will go with Griffin.
He might not have the all around game that Melo has, he has proven to be a good defender while being 5 times as athletic as Melo.
We also have to look at the statistics. Griffin is not only 2 inches taller than Carmelo, but outweighs him by 20 pounds.
While Carmelo may have improved his defensive game over the offseason, he cannot match Griffin’s strength. And if that isn’t enough, over the last year we’ve seen Griffin consistently try to expand his game, and he is pretty comfortable knocking down the 18-foot jump shot.

5. Center…
Dwight Howard vs. Kevin Garnett

Not the most exciting of the 2013 NBA All-Star festivities, but definitely a good matchup…
 if you like the Western Conference.
No disrespect to Kevin Garnett (seeing that he is a future 1st ballot hall of famer), but Dwight Howard is the overwhelming favorite in this matchup.
Howard is young, athletic, and although he has still not recovered from his back injury, he is definitely ready to take on a player like Garnett.
He outrebounds Garnett by 5 rebounds per game, and can outscore him at will.
From the Center position it is not looking good for the east.