Who will replace CP3 in the All-Star Game next month?
The surefire lock has to be Chauncey Billups, Denver's master and commander. Denver is set to only send one representative (Carmelo Anthony) to Dallas despite Denver being second in the brutal Western Conference. And that's not all. As our own Chris Tomasson emailed to point out, Billups has taken his play to new heights this season, and certainly has the resume to qualify for replacing Paul:
"Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups just completed the highest-scoring month in his 13-year NBA career. Billups averaged 23.7 points in January. He capped it off with 25 points in Sunday's 103-89 win at San Antonio. Billups is averaging 19.3 points, in line to be a career high. He's played in four straight All-Star Games so this could be his fifth."
If you're the kind to float out the less obvious choice, there's going to be a lot of talk about Monta Ellis. Ellis is averaging a career-high 25.9 points per game and 5.6 assists per game for the feisty Warriors, but when you consider that the Warriors play in a stats-padding frantic-pace-system for a team with the third worst record in the league.
Were it not for the Kings' latest plunge into the abyss (no one look at Kevin Martin! It'll only make him feel uncomfortable!), Tyreke Evans would have to be considered, even as a rookie. 20.8 points, 4.9 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals is definitely discussion worthy. But as a rookie his odds are even worse, and the Kings' record doesn't help things.
The only other guard candidate is Aaron Brooks, the speedy Houston guard who's been a huge part of Houston staying in the playoff pack without Yao Ming or the ghost of Tracy McGrady. But his 43% FG percentage is unsightly given his usage.
Too bad they'll need to plug in a point guard, because many felt Chris Kaman was also deserving a spot that went to Zach Randolph, and similarly, many felt Marc Gasol was just as much of an impact player for the Grizzlies as Randolph. But since you won't want Deron Williams and Steve Nash plugging in the whole game, if you're putting the odds on anybody, Billups has to be the guy.