2008 Ballot Breakdown: East Forwards
Posted Dec 20 2007 12:52PM
Dec. 20, 2007 -- Balloting for NBA All-Star 2008 is under way and to keep you abreast of whom you might want to send to NOLA in February, NBA.com will break down all six positions -- East guards, forwards and centers, and West guards, forwards and centers -- over the coming weeks.
Today's Ballot Breakdown covers the Eastern Conference forwards, ranked statistically (by the sum total of their scoring, rebounding and assist averages). Kevin Garnett and LeBron James are out to a clear lead after the first returns, and deservedly so. Garnett has transformed the Celtics from cellar dweller to championship contender and James is putting up unreal numbers once again in Cleveland.
But perhaps you're a contrarian or you feel that some of these other guys deserve some love as you vote daily. If that's the case, read on and decide for yourself who deserves to make the trip to New Orleans for the 2008 All-Star Game on February 17. (Note: All statistics are through games played on December 19.)
LeBron James, Cleveland
Averages: 29.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 7.6 APG; Total PRA: 44.4
Breakdown: In addition to leading the league in scoring, LeBron is the overall league leader in PRA, more than four points above Dwight Howard and Carlos Boozer, who are tied for second. He's got four triple-doubles so far, and even though the Cavs are struggling a bit this season, they do have a winning record with King James in uniform.
Caron Butler, Washington
Averages: 22.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 4.2 APG; Total PRA: 33.7
Breakdown: In the absence of Gilbert Arenas, Butler has stepped up his game to keep the Wizards in contention in the Southeast Division. On Wednesday, he messed around and got a triple-double, his second of the season. It's looking good for Butler to make his second straight All-Star appearance, and you know he'll appreciate it.
Antawn Jamison, Washington
Averages: 21.0 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 1.6 APG; Total PRA: 33.4
Breakdown: Jamison is another former All-Star who has also picked up the slack in Washington. His PRA total is the second highest of his career and the highest since he joined the Wizards, and he ranks sixth in the league with 17 double-doubles.
Kevin Garnett, Boston
Averages: 19.1 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 3.6 APG; Total PRA: 33.1
Breakdown: KG's PRA numbers are all down, but the number in the winning percentage column is way up. And the main reason for that is the Celtics' defense. And the anchor of that defense is the Big Ticket.
Richard Jefferson, New Jersey
Averages: 24.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.7 APG; Total PRA: 32.2
Breakdown: RJ is finally healthy and he's showing it. He's scoring at a career-high clip and he leads the league in free throws made. He's been on that level right below All-Star in the past. This might be the year he gets the invite.
Zach Randolph, New York
Averages: 18.5 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 2.0 APG; Total PRA: 30.9
Breakdown: While Randolph hasn't exactly turned his new team around, he's still putting up big numbers despite all of the talented offensive players that surround him. If the Knicks can put together some wins, he could be considered for his first All-Star appearance.
Paul Pierce, Boston
Averages: 20.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.0 APG; Total PRA: 30.8
Breakdown: The Truth led the Celtics in just about every statistical category the last few years. Now, he's got a little help, but he's still one of the best all-around players in the game who's got a real shot at making his sixth All-Star appearance in New Orleans.
Chris Bosh, Toronto
Averages: 19.1 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 2.3 APG; Total PRA: 30.3
Breakdown: Bosh's numbers are down from his incredible 2006-07 campaign, but he's still the best player on one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Since returning from injury, Bosh is averaging 19.9 points and 11.0 boards, leading his team to five wins in seven games.
The Next Five
Hedo Turkoglu, Orlando
Josh Smith, Atlanta
Luol Deng, Chicago
Rashard Lewis, Orlando
Gerald Wallace, Charlotte
The Write-In Star
Yi Jianlian, Milwaukee
Averages: 10.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 0.9 APG; Total PRA: 17.0
Breakdown: After the first returns, Yi ranks fifth among Eastern Conference forwards with almost 100,000 votes, despite his absence from the main ballot. He has exceeded expectations thus far and with his popularity, he'll likely appear in multiple All-Star Games down the line, but this is probably not his year.
Other Forwards on the Ballot
Andrea Bargnani, Toronto; Mike Dunleavy, Indiana; Drew Gooden, Cleveland; Danny Granger, Indiana; Udonis Haslem, Miami; Kyle Korver, Philadelphia; David Lee, New York; Antonio McDyess, Detroit; Andres Nocioni, Chicago; Tayshaun Prince, Detroit; Charlie Villanueva, Milwaukee