To the Selections....

In the West, as alluded to earlier, the starting quintet was selected pretty much as expected. As such, and with apologies to Rudy Gobert, I'll give the people what the want. Alex Caruso aside.

  • LeBron James – Los Angeles Lakers

  • Kawhi Leonard – LA Clippers

  • Anthony Davis – Los Angeles Lakers

  • Luka Doncic – Dallas Mavericks

  • James Harden – Houston Rockets

The East is a different beast. Of the selected starters, I'm not going to quibble with Giannis or Kemba. They're locked in. As mentioned above, Jimmy Butler has been great, and were he listed as a guard, he's be a certainty to start. But he isn't, so he isn't. Pascal Siakam stays.

The final front court spot is dicey. Joel Embiid has put up wonderful numbers and is a vital cog in that monstrous Sixers defense. But if we use the common trope that the best ability is availability, then Embiid – as he has throughout his career – suffers. The Cameroonian has only played 31 of his teams 47 games – that's less than 66%. That should matter. In days past, when Centre was still its section on the ballot, Embiid's place would have been secure, given the only other centre eligible players were Bam Adebayo, Domantas Sabonis and Tacko Fall. But in this era, where the centre is lumped in with the front court, my imaginary vote goes to Jimmy Butler.

At guard, I've made my disdain for the Young pick clear. So who to replace him with? Kyrie Irving was next in line in the NBA's voting. If you want to take Kyrie, great. I'll come to your house and fight you. Derrick Rose was the next cab off the rank. It's a great story, seeing what Rose can do now that he's healthy. It's such a shame to think that if he's able to put up 18 points and 6 assists a night, coming off the bench at age 31, with no knees, what he could have done had he lived a healthy career prime. He's not the starter here, though. Zach LaVine? A hard no.

Kyle Lowry? Ben Simmons? Now we're talking! Both have been consistently excellent at both ends of the floor for their teams. They've both stepped up with injuries around them. Lowry is possibly the NBA's leading 'things you don't notice' All Star. He always makes the right play, be it an extra rotation on defense, stepping half a metre to his right to open up the correct driving or passing lane for a teammate, an improvised back screen. If Lowry starts, I could have zero complaints.

However, the nod here goes to the polarising Australian. Simmons is compiling a huge dossier of defensive highlights, so much so that he's a solid chance for All Defensive honours. If he creates a turnover at the top of the key, the opposition absolutely panics, knowing that Simmons might be the best player in the league in the open floor. He leads the league in assisted three pointers. With Embiid out, the Sixers offense looks frightening, as Brett Brown surrounds him with shooters. Simmons own shooting woes are very real – if they scare you away from starting him, that's fine, but he's my pick here.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks

  • Pascal Siakam – Toronto Raptors

  • Jimmy Butler – Miami Heat

  • Kemba Walker – Boston Celtics

  • Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers

Next week, we'll check out my All Star reserves.