Dwyane Wade: We all know him for what he does on the offensive side, but let's not forget he's the only guard in the top 25 amongst league leaders in blocks per game. I was watching him during the Olympics, where he looked like the healthy Wade who led the Heat to the Finals in '06. And this season is his best in the NBA so far, because he is more committed to defense.
Vince Carter: As I said earlier, I had two players who I just had to vote for, regardless if there are better players at their positions. One of them is VC. If I didn't vote for Carter, Joe Johnson would've had my vote, but since I am a Nets fan, and since Carter is truly leading this team to a record which is better than everybody imagined, while taking young players under his wing (Lopez), and giving Harris enough space to shine, there's no doubt in my mind that Vince should be in Phoenix next month.
LeBron James: With him it's the same thing as with Wade. He got way better defensively, and while he’s so young and there is still room left for improvement, but he’s dominating the League, scoring at will and filling the NBA.com Daily Top Ten with his tomahawk jams and come-from-behind blocks. Dude is made for the All-Star Game.
Danny Granger: What? I should've voted for Kevin Garnett? KG always puts up great numbers, but Granger…. Man…. That's just ridiculous what he's doing to opponents this season. He's such a prolific scorer and a good rebounder too. He is the prototype of a small forward (along with Caron Butler). The Pacers don’t have a winning record, and like Barkley always said: "you should reward players who are winning". That's true, but you just can't ignore what Granger is doing this season. At least I can’t.
Dwight Howard: Who else?
Chris Paul: The Hornets aren't the team I expected them to be this season, at least not yet, but you can't blame it on Chris Paul. Still putting up the numbers: first in assists per game, first in steals per game, second in assist-to-turnover ratio, third in double-doubles (behind Dwight Howard and David Lee, and the only guard in the top ten); all of this means that's he's once again the best point guard in the NBA, and a warranted starter for the West. We all know that, but T-Mac will start in place of him. That’s how it goes.
Kobe Bryant: Maybe not scoring in a dominate way as we've seen so many times in recent years, but there are few superstars in this League blessed with so many talented teammates. There's no one in the NBA who plays as good as Kobe at both ends of the floor. And the eerie thing is: I think Kobe enjoys physical pain. What does it take for this guy to not play? I’m going to do a first in the blogosphere: is Kobe the new Mailman?
Tim Duncan: In the beginning of the season I read some negative articles about the Spurs. The usual: too old, the glory years are behind them, etc. But good ol' Timmy wasn't having any of that, and led his Spurs to the second-best record in the West.
Dirk Nowitzki: His Mavericks are 24-17, tied for the eight spot in the West along with Utah. But if it wasn't for Dirk, the Mavs would be a below .500 team, and even that might be an understatement.
Shaquille O'Neal: Along with Vince Carter, this is my second player who just needed to vote for. I understand Yao Ming has better numbers, and without a doubt Yao is the starter for the Western All-Stars, but Shaq seems rejuvenated this season, a legend who has entertained us for so many seasons and now showing that when his body finally agrees with his mind again, he's one of the best centers of the NBA. One who turns 37 three weeks after the All-Star Game.
David Lee: I did this without giving it much thought, but I do know this: if the Knicks trade him, they are still morons. They should build around him, Duhon and Chandler (and maybe Harrington), and that’s it.
Joe Alexander: The sad thing is, Alexander hardly played this season, but when I saw his nose against the rim during a promo video on NBA.com, I was convinced. Russell Westbrook has showed us he has hops, but I still think Alexander could be better. Rudy Fernandez had some nice alley-oops, but does that make him a creative dunker? I think it will be embarrassing to watch, but I hope I'm wrong. The fans wanted him in, and they got their wish.
To all the players that went through my mind but didn’t vote for: Devin Harris, Chauncey Billups, Joe Johnson, Al Jefferson, Rashard Lewis, KG, Pierce, Ray Allen, Tony Parker, Yao, CB4, Marcus Camby, Deron Williams, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison , and last but certainly not least: Brandon Roy. I could name more for the sake of naming names, but all these guys actually went through my head at a certain point.