Jan. 11 --
Vegas baby! Balloting for NBA All-Star 2007 is under way and to keep you abreast of who you might want to send to Vegas in February, NBA.com has broken down all six positions -- West guards, forwards and centers, and East guards, forwards and centers.
Today's Ballot Breakdown covers the Eastern Conference guards, ranked statistically (by the sum total of their scoring, rebounding and assist averages). D-Wade has been hot, Gilbert has been even hotter (daresay "Hibachi" temperature), but hear the case for all the guards in the East before you vote daily to select the starters for the 2007 All-Star Game on Feb. 18. (Note: All statistics are through games played on Jan. 10.)
Gilbert Arenas, Washington
Averages: 30.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 6.4 APG
Breakdown: In his blog for NBA.com, Arenas calls this season The Takeover. You better believe that The Takeover will include Arenas' third-straight All-Star selection. He has already dropped 60 on the Lakers, 54 on the Suns and 45 on the Cavs and was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December.
Dwyane Wade, Miami
Averages: 27.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 7.9 APG
Breakdown: Miami has limped through a slew of injuries to key contributors to their championship squad (see: Shaq, Riles), but the one guy performing through it all has been D-Wade. After a stellar 40-point, 11-assist outing on Dec. 25, Wade went down with a wrist injury two days later. Well, he came back on Jan. 7 and has 62 points and 16 assists in the two games, both Heat victories, since he returned.
Vince Carter, New Jersey
Averages: 25.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.1 APG
Breakdown: If by now you don't know that Vince Carter is more than just a dunker, you just haven't been paying attention. He has diversified his stat line to include nine assists against the Suns, a career-high nine three-pointers on Dec. 11 and a 5.9 rebounds per game average which matches a career high.
Michael Redd, Milwaukee
Averages: 27.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.2 APG
Breakdown: Coach Terry Stotts gives Redd the green light to shoot and the lefty assassin gladly obliges. Unfortunately, an untimely strain to the patellar tendon might keep Mike out of the big game.
Joe Johnson, Atlanta
Averages: 24.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.6 APG
Breakdown: Johnson's points have gone up 4.6 per game since last season, but his assists have dipped 2.9 a contest. The Hawks' versatile scorer started off the season as good as he's ever been, but has topped the 20-point plateau just twice in eight games since Dec. 23.
Jason Kidd, New Jersey
Averages: 13.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 9.2 APG
Breakdown: Kidd has six triple-doubles this season and passed Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time list, but on the under-achieving Nets, it's unlikely that both he and Carter will be selected.
Chauncey Billups, Detroit
Averages: 18.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 8.1 APG
Breakdown: In his 10th season, Billups is as good as ever. His numbers have stayed steady from his career-year in 2005-06, but the Pistons need him to recover from a calf strain injury to keep pace with the Cavaliers in the Central.
Richard Hamilton, Detroit
Averages: 22.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.6 APG
Breakdown: Rip is posting career highs in points and rebounds per game and punctuated his All-Star worthiness with a 51-point masterpiece against the Knicks.
Maurice Williams, Milwaukee
Averages: 17.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 6.2 APG
Breakdown: Write-in candidate -- Bucks GM Larry Harris must have known how good Mo Williams was when he gave up T.J. Ford for
Charlie Villanueva last summer. The 6-1 guard out of Alabama is putting up career numbers across the board, highlighted by a triple-double on Dec. 20.
T.J. Ford, Toronto
Averages: 15.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 7.8 APG
Breakdown: Ford has motored the Raptors to the top of the Atlantic Division and guided the team without the help of Chris Bosh, who missed 12 games in December with a knee injury.
The Next Five
Ben Gordon, Chicago
20.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.3 APG
Andre Miller, Philadelphia
Averages: 13.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 8.8 APG
Raymond Felton, Charlotte
Averages: 13.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 7.5 APG
Jamal Crawford, New York
Averages: 17.2 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 4.2 APG
Kirk Hinrich, Chicago
Averages: 14.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 5.9 APG
Other Guards on the Ballot
, Atlanta; Marquis Daniels
, Indiana; Steve Francis
, New York; Larry Hughes
, Cleveland; Stephen Jackson
, Indiana; Stephon Marbury
, New York; Jameer Nelson
, Orlando; Morris Peterson
, Toronto; Delonte West
, Boston; Jason Williams