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Aligning the stars

Ranking the players in NBA's midseason showcase

Posted: Friday February 15, 2008 11:42AM; Updated: Friday February 15, 2008 12:28PM
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The NBA All-Star Game is a chance for the league's brightest individual talents to shine. With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to do a twist on Power Rankings and take a look at how this year's All-Star selections stack up against each other. Keep in mind, this isn't a breakdown of the MVP race or a ranking based on career achievements. It is simply a look at how these 26 All-Stars (24 original picks and two injury replacements) stand right now.

All-Star Player Rankings
Rank   Player
1 The best all-around player in the game. The 6-foot-8 small forward leads the NBA in scoring (30.3) to go with 7.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.1 steals. He also is shooting a career-best 48.4 percent while keeping his Cavs in contention for a top playoff seed despite injuries and contract disputes involving numerous teammates.
2 Like LeBron, he has pretty much done it all for his Lakers. He ranks second in the league in scoring (28.0 points, on 45.7 percent shooting) and also is averaging 6.1 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.9 steals. He doesn't rebound as much as LeBron, but his experience and championship rings make him in many ways even more dangerous. How he copes with a torn ligament in his pinkie remains to be seen.
3 The third-year point guard has taken his game to an elite level this season. He ranks second in the NBA in assists (10.9) while adding 20.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and a league-best 2.6 steals. He has led the Hornets to the West's best record and outplayed Steve Nash and Jason Kidd in head-to-head meetings.
4 He has assumed the mantle of the best all-around center in the game. He ranks in the top 11 in scoring (22.2), rebounds (10.8) and blocks (2.1) while shooting 50.8 percent from the floor and 84.8 percent from the foul line. He also provides a huge defensive presence and is one of the best passing big men.
5 The 22-year-old has blossomed this season into the East's top center. He leads the NBA in rebounding (14.6) and ranks fifth in blocks (2.4) and 12th in scoring (21.7) while shooting an astounding 60.2 percent from the floor. Howard still needs to work on passing out of double teams and free-throw shooting, but he is on the cusp of greatness.
6 He will sit out the All-Star Game due to an abdominal strain, but Garnett might be the MVP of the season's first half. Though not putting up his usual eye-popping numbers (he's averaging 19.2 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists), he is shooting a career-best 55.1 percent from the floor and anchoring the league's No. 1 defense. Basically, he's been the catalyst for the Celtics.
7 The two-time MVP has shown few signs of slowing down. He still drives and dishes like no other player (a league-leading 11.7 assists), and his shooting touch is extraordinary (50.8 percent from the floor, 46.7 percent from three-point territory, 89.9 percent from the foul line). He is one of two players, along with the Magic's Howard, averaging a double-double for the fourth straight season.
8 Even at age 32, he still rates among the NBA's most dynamic players. The cat-quick guard ranks third in scoring (26.5), eighth in assists (7.3) and fifth in steals (2.2) while logging a league-leading 42.4 minutes. Iverson also has embraced more of a leadership role in Denver, though his team will need to advance in the playoffs to meet expectations.
9 The Jazz forward has picked up where he left off a year ago, averaging 21.7 points (on 53.5 percent shooting), 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 steals. Though a bit undersized, he punishes foes inside. He's also been playing especially well of late, helping Utah win 17 of 20 games to head into the All-Star break as one of the NBA's hottest teams.
10 The Suns' forward remains an absolute terror for foes, able to knock down jumpers as well as attack the basket for rim-rattling dunks. He ranks sixth in scoring (23.2, on 59.1 percent shooting) and 19th in rebounding (9.3). This season he has been blocking shots as well (career-high 2.3 per game, sixth in the NBA).
11 Voted a starter by fans for the first time, Anthony continues to develop nicely. His 26.2 points per game rank fourth in the NBA, and his 7.3 rebounds are by far the best in his five-year career. However, his defense remains a work in progress, and like Iverson, his season will be measured in large part by whether he can help the Nuggets reach the postseason and then win a playoff series for the first time since 1994.
12 Like his team, the two-time MVP seems to be pacing himself. Even so, Duncan continues to put up good numbers (19.9 points, 11.5 boards, 3.1 assists, 1.8 blocks) while shooting a high percentage (51.2). His rebounding and free-throw numbers are the best in four seasons. Come postseason, he'll be back right up at the top of this list.
13 The 2006 Finals MVP is still scoring (24.3) and racking up assists (7.0). But he needed time to get going after offseason knee and shoulder surgeries, and when he came back in mid-November the Heat were already in the dumps. Now it seems as if he has lost some of his spirit. One scout recently said it looks as if he's going through the motions.

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