SI.com's NBA All-Star Picks
The fans' selections for All-Star Game starters will be revealed Thursday night. The coaches' reserve choices will be announced Feb. 3. Which players deserve a trip to Los Angeles for the Feb. 20 midseason showcase? SI.com's NBA writers make their picks below. For the starting lineup, the writers chose players at the position at which they're listed on the official ballot. For reserves, writers were given more leeway -- just as the coaches are in rounding out the rosters with two guards, two forwards, a center and two wild-card picks. (All stats and records are through Jan. 25.)
EASTERN CONFERENCE STARTERS
GUARD
Derrick Rose SI CONSENSUS PICK
Chicago Bulls
1 career All-Star appearance
PPGAPGRPGSPG
24.68.14.61.1
Ian Thomsen:Derrick Rose. He leads the Bulls in points and assists as they've overcome numerous injuries to challenge Boston for the East's No. 1 seed. The addition of a more reliable jump shot and floor-spacing options around him have made Rose almost unguardable. Plus, his leadership has turned him into an MVP candidate.
Lee Jenkins: Derrick Rose. Without Carlos Boozer, and then Joakim Noah, Rose has kept the Bulls near the top of the East. He was always a spectacular driver and finisher, nearly as strong as he is quick. But now he has added a three-point shot and developed the killer instinct of a true floor leader.
Chris Mannix:Derrick Rose. Did we expect Rose to be a powerful penetrator in the half court and virtually impossible to keep up with in transition? Yes. Did we expect him to shoot 37.8 percent from three-point range and more than double his amount of makes over the previous two seasons? No way. That's a complete player, Chicago.
Zach Lowe:Derrick Rose. He gets the nod over Rajon Rondo because Rose has managed to improve his efficiency despite taking on perhaps the heaviest burden of any player on offense. He's getting to the line more and his three-point shooting gives Chicago a crucial new tool. His defense is also much improved.
Paul Forrester:Derrick Rose. He is averaging career highs in scoring, assists, rebounds and steals, along with becoming a legitimate deep-shooting threat and embracing the defensive identity established by new coach Tom Thibodeau.
GUARD
Dwyane Wade SI CONSENSUS PICK
Miami Heat
6 All-Star appearances
PPGAPGRPGFG%
25.14.26.548.9
Ian Thomsen:Dwyane Wade. A slow starter after missing most of the preseason, Wade has rapidly synched his game with LeBron James' at both ends of the floor. He continues to contribute in every area without having to carry the Heat night after night. Wasn't that the plan?
Lee Jenkins: Dwyane Wade. In the first month, when the Heat were figuring out who they were going to be, Wade looked lost. He was essentially a glorified three-point shooter, and not a very good one. He had to learn to play off the ball, but once he did, his mid-range game returned and a succession of 30-point outbursts followed.
Chris Mannix:Dwyane Wade. Remember his shaky November? I don't. That's how good he has been since. Wade has been a scoring machine the last two months, averaging right around 27 points. Any discomfort he's felt sharing the ball with James and Chris Bosh has evaporated as Wade has resumed attacking the basket every available opportunity.
Zach Lowe:Dwyane Wade. There's really no competition here. Wade is easily the best shooting guard in the East, despite a slow start to the season.
Paul Forrester:Dwyane Wade. Give him credit. Not only did he help the Miami super team come together, but he's also learned to adapt to play alongside two other superstars, altering the ways in which he attacks the basket to allow LeBron to indulge in his "I got it" tendencies while making sure Bosh doesn't get lost. And through it all, Wade's numbers have only taken a minor hit at best.
FORWARD
LeBron James SI CONSENSUS PICK
Miami Heat
6 All-Star appearances
PPGRPGAPGFG%
25.97.27.247.8
Ian Thomsen:LeBron James. The two-time MVP (and the favorite here for this season as well) is operating the point while continuing to fill up his stat line for the dangerous Heat. There is nothing controversial about his impact: James is the only newcomer who could have launched Miami's imbalanced roster into title contention so quickly.
Lee Jenkins: LeBron James. His accomplishments this season may never be truly appreciated, because of what came before, but James has been the same all-around dynamo that he was in Cleveland. Even with the superstar teammates around him, he is posting huge numbers across the board, all while anchoring Miami's smothering defense.
Chris Mannix:LeBron James. He may not have many fans outside of Miami and his name is a curse word in Cleveland. But good luck finding a more complete player. Miami runs its offense though James and the Heat have morphed into an elite defensive unit thanks primarily to the example he sets. You can love him or hate him, but James' talent is above reproach.
Zach Lowe:LeBron James. He leads the league in Player Efficiency Rating, and he remains the finest all-around player in the league. A no-brainer.
Paul Forrester:LeBron James. No player is more talented or more capable of taking over a game.
FORWARD
Amar'e Stoudemire SI CONSENSUS PICK
New York Knicks
5 All-Star appearances
PPGRPGAPGFG%
26.19.02.749.9
Ian Thomsen:Amar'e Stoudemire. The surprise MVP candidate has made New York playoff-worthy. The live-in-the-moment Knicks aren't so concerned about his long-term contract as they are for Stoudemire's go-to scoring, leadership and fire. He's created the most spirited Knicks team since the lost era of Patrick Ewing.
Lee Jenkins: Amar'e Stoudemire. He is doing most of the same things he did in Phoenix, only now he is doing them in New York, embracing the spotlight and turning the Knicks back into a relevant franchise. Stoudemire has proved that he can score just as easily without Steve Nash as he did with him.
Chris Mannix:Amar'e Stoudemire. A lot of people thought the Knicks overpaid for Stoudemire. Not many think that anymore. Stoudemire has filled the Knicks' void of toughness, leadership and, most important, a go-to scorer. He takes a nightly beating at center but rarely backs down from physical challenges.
Zach Lowe:Amar'e Stoudemire. In the seventh game of the NBA Finals, I'd still prefer Kevin Garnett's two-way play, and Stoudemire isn't scoring quite as efficiently as he did in Phoenix. But he's still plenty efficient, he's hitting a ton of jumpers, and his role as New York's lone true pick-and-roll finishing threat has turned its offense into a dangerous thing.
Paul Forrester:Amar'e Stoudemire. Signing Stoudemire was the best decision the Knicks have made in a decade. A willing leader and offensive fulcrum, Stoudemire has made the Knicks relevant again and he's even offered some post defense, averaging a career-high 2.3 blocks. The good times may not last if he keeps logging a career-high 37.2 minutes per game, but for now, he's worth his $100 million deal.
CENTER
Dwight Howard SI CONSENSUS PICK
Orlando Magic
4 All-Star appearances
PPGRPGBPGFG%
22.113.12.257.1
Ian Thomsen:Dwight Howard. He's no longer leading the league in blocks because he can't risk foul trouble, but he's more important than ever to the Magic defensively. Plus, he's upped his scoring while improving his short jumper -- a crucial addition to the repertoire.
Lee Jenkins: Dwight Howard. Much has changed in Orlando this season, but Howard is still dominant. He remains the most imposing defensive presence in the league while now scoring at the highest clip of his career. The NBA does not have many elite centers, so Howard enjoys and exploits a mismatch almost every night.
Chris Mannix:Dwight Howard. Simply put, Howard has no peer. His gaudy numbers speak for themselves, but the true measure of Howard's abilities is his impact defensively. Have you seen Orlando's perimeter defenders? That the Magic are fifth in defensive efficiency is a testament to Howard's talent.
Zach Lowe:Dwight Howard. There is no competition here. Howard is the best defender in the league, and he has expanded both the variety of his shots on offense and his scoring role in general without sacrificing much in the way of efficiency.
Paul Forrester:Dwight Howard. Someone has to play defense in Orlando now that Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu are in town. And though Stan Van Gundy may downplay Howard's work with Hakeem Olajuwon, Howard is shooting a career-best 48.4 percent from inside 10 feet, according to Hoopdata.com, after those summer lessons.
EASTERN CONFERENCE RESERVES
Ian Thomsen: The most difficult choice here was ignoring Bosh in favor of Boozer (pictured), who has missed 18 games. But the Bulls have gone 20-7 with Boozer in the lineup, much of that without Joakim Noah. Felton had a rough stretch to coincide with the Knicks' six-game losing streak, but his early play has been a revelation. Of the four Celtics, Rondo and Garnett are no-brainers; Allen leads Boston in minutes and is shooting 50.5 percent overall (45.3 percent from three); and Pierce makes it as the No. 2 small forward in the conference behind James.G Rajon Rondo, Celtics
G Raymond Felton, Knicks
G Ray Allen, Celtics
F Paul Pierce, Celtics
F Kevin Garnett, Celtics
F Carlos Boozer, Bulls
C Al Horford, Hawks
Lee Jenkins: The Celtics could conceivably have four reserves, given that Felton has been slumping recently for the Knicks, and Allen has been as reliable as ever. Like Allen, Garnett and Pierce are defying their age, and they are doing it just as Rondo enters his prime. Bosh has carved out his role in Miami, and Horford has kept the Hawks firmly in the race for home-court advantage. The final spot goes to Granger (pictured) or Andrea Bargnani, two dynamic scorers on losing teams. Granger wins out because his defense is a bit better and so is his team.G Rajon Rondo, Celtics
G Raymond Felton, Knicks
F Danny Granger, Pacers
F Paul Pierce, Celtics
F Kevin Garnett, Celtics
F Chris Bosh, Heat
C Al Horford, Hawks
Chris Mannix: Couple of close calls, most notably at guard. The Hawks would be nowhere without Joe Johnson, but I'm giving the spot to Allen (pictured), partly because Allen's numbers are up across the board and partly because Johnson's three-point shooting (29.7 percent) has plummeted. Leaving Bosh off was tough, especially since his body of work (42 games) is bigger than Boozer's (27). But Boozer is an almost automatic 20-and-10 and, along with Rose, has made Chicago a viable title contender. Andrew Bogut's numbers are solid, but Horford gets the call because his team is battling for home-court advantage and the underachieving Bucks are fighting for a playoff spot.G Rajon Rondo, Celtics
G Raymond Felton, Knicks
G Ray Allen, Celtics
F Paul Pierce, Celtics
F Kevin Garnett, Celtics
F Carlos Boozer, Bulls
C Al Horford, Hawks
Zach Lowe: The only debate here is over the last two spots, as Bosh, Pierce, Rondo, Horford and Garnett should be considered locks. Johnson (pictured) gets the 11th spot by a hair on the strength of his elite play over the last month or so. The Hawks have asked him to do a lot on both ends -- especially with Marvin Williams out -- and Johnson has responded. Picking the 12th spot is depressing in a conference thin on healthy stars, so I'll give the nod to the slumping Felton, whose solid (if a bit overhyped) play has kept the Knicks running smoothly. I won't argue if you'd like to replace him with Ray Allen, Josh Smith, Devin Harris, Bogut or even Elton Brand, and this spot likely would have been reserved for Boozer or Noah had either stayed healthy long enough. G Rajon Rondo, Celtics
G Raymond Felton, Knicks
G Joe Johnson, Hawks
F Paul Pierce, Celtics
F Kevin Garnett, Celtics
F Chris Bosh, Heat
C Al Horford, Hawks
Paul Forrester: As much as Rondo and Felton deserve the trip to L.A., the shallow nature of great backcourt talent in the East is striking. (Small forward Pierce, who's shooting a career-high 51.4 percent, can help as a big guard.) In the frontcourt, Bosh has quietly rebounded from a terrible first month to post the best plus/minus in Miami, and Garnett has regained his health to lead the Celtics' defense back among the league's top five units. The Hawks may have a lot to prove in the playoffs, but Horford and Smith (pictured) have made Atlanta the third-most accurate shooting team from within 10 feet this season. G Rajon Rondo, Celtics
G Raymond Felton, Knicks
F Josh Smith, Hawks
F Paul Pierce, Celtics
F Kevin Garnett, Celtics
F Chris Bosh, Heat
C Al Horford, Hawks
WESTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STAR PICKS

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