For several players on the cusp of stardom, it’s never too early to start thinking ahead to February. Whether they want to admit it or not, all players strive to make an all-star team. Last year, we saw four new guys make the midseason classic: Devin Harris, Danny Granger, Jameer Nelson and Mo Williams. Here are five new guys who have a great chance at getting the invite to Cowboys Stadium.
1. Kevin Durant (25.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.8 apg): If KD puts up similar stats and his team is winning more than last year, he should be a lock. With his swiss army knife-type versatility, Durant is on the brink of being a special player in the league. Plus he is playing with one of the league’s most exciting young cores. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was voted in by the fans.
2. Al Jefferson (23.1 ppg, 11 rpg, 1.7 bpg): It’s looking like this may be the season Jefferson doesn’t get the snub. How many players can put up 20 and 10 then throw in a couple of blocks on top of that? With the frontcourt of Jefferson and K-Love a year more seasoned, the Timberwolves should be better than they were last season. Plus, with Yao Ming out with injury and Shaq now on the East coast, Jefferson may be the best center in the West.
3. Deron Williams (19.4, 10.7 apg, 1.1 spg): It is amazing how a player who has an Olympic gold medal and has been on the All-NBA first team has never been an all-star. With CP, Tony Parker and Chauncey also in this conference, getting the all-star nod at this position is easier said than done. We know Deron will post the numbers, but the Jazz will have to be near the top of the conference standings for Deron to get his Texas homecoming.
4. Hedo Turkoglu (16.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.9 apg): Last year, Hedo Turkoglu was one of the biggest snubs of the ’09 game. After an impressive playoff run where he helped lead the Magic to the Finals, he was one of the most sought-after free agents. He signed a huge offseason deal with the Raptors where he is expected to flourish in their international-friendly system.
5. Kevin Martin (24.6 ppg, 2.7 apg, 41.5% 3pt): Away from the national spotlight of TV and media, Martin has been quietly putting up all-star numbers in Northern California. The other K-Mart has put up three straight 20 point seasons, and last year posted a career high 24.6 ppg and a 41.5 three-point percentage. If he doesn’t make it this season, he is sure to be one in ’11.
Other possible candidates: Rudy Gay, Derrick Rose, Andrea Bargnani.
Who else do you think might have an all-star season?
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