Orlando Magic swingman Arron Afflalo should earn an NBA All-Star selection, writes Grantland scribe Zach Lowe. Afflalo is one of 12 players Lowe picked to make the team in his Tuesday column, doing so as a reserve alongside Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
Afflalo's brilliant play in the post is one reason Lowe chose him for this team. "He's shooting 51 percent on post-up plays, per Synergy Sports, and among 79 players with at least 50 post-ups to their name, Afflalo ranks ninth in points per possession," Lowe says. "He ranks even higher if you broaden the data search to include shots Orlando attempts after Afflalo kicks the ball out of the post, per Synergy."
Afflalo earned Lowe's nod ahead of Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson because Afflalo carries a "heavier load" for a struggling Orlando team than Stephenson does on the East-leading Pacers. Lowe also omitted Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, who posts per-game numbers similar to Afflalo's, because he believes point guard Kyle Lowry--one of Lowe's picks to start in the East's backcourt--means more to Toronto than DeRozan does.
In his seventh season out of UCLA, Afflalo leads the Magic with 20.9 points per game on 58.7 percent True Shooting, to which scoring he adds 4.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists.
The 2014 NBA All-Star Game is set to tip on Sunday, February 16th at New Orleans Arena. The league will name the starters for the East and West teams on Thursday, January 23rd and the reserves on Thursday, January 30th.