Yesterday, the NBA announced that the fans had voted Dwight Howard to start at center for the Eastern Conference in the 2010 NBA All-Star Game in Dallas, which will mark his third consecutive start and fourth consecutive appearance overall. Briefly, and I covered this indirectly in a post I made a few days ago, I wanted to take a look at the numbers to see if Howard is deserving of the honor (of starting, to be specific) and whether or not another Magic player merits a spot on the All-Star roster as a reserve. Last year, Orlando sent a franchise-most three players (Howard, Rashard Lewis, and Jameer Nelson) to the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix. Will it be a similar case this year? Perhaps the better question is, should it be?
Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference posted a similar breakdown, so I apologize in advance if some of this is re-hashed material.
Click after the jump for the results.
Position ranking in the East is in parentheses.
|1 year adj. plus/minus
Is Howard deserving of the honor? In short, yes. What separates Howard from the other centers in the Eastern Conference is his defense. Despite the Magic's well-documented struggles, the team is ranked 6th in Defensive Rating and that's no thanks in large part to Howard's efforts on the defensive side of the ball. Is he giving the same Herculean effort on defense and playing at the level he was last year? Some would say no, but it doesn't change the fact that Howard is the best center in the Association despite a dip in production (on offense, mostly) when comparing this season to last season.
It's as simple as that.