So who’s an All-Star?

With All-Star weekend rapidly approaching, and plenty of debate over who should make the midseason showcase, here are my thoughts as to who should be there.

***

For the East, the starting line-up (based on the final balloting update) is going to be LeBron, Amar’e, Wade, Rose and Dwight – these are all the right guys and pretty easy choices really.

But who should the coaches pick to be the reserves? In no particular order:

Kevin Garnett: The Celtics have the best record in the East, the second best defence in the league and KG is the main reason for that. Looks to be on his way to the DPOTY award;

Paul Pierce: The best scorer on the top team in the East;

Chris Bosh: Despite his averages dropping from last season’s 24/11 to just 18/8 this season, Bosh has bounced back from a disappointing start to the season to settle in as the third guy for Miami. Miami, incidentally, are second in the East with a 30-13 record despite dropping 4 straight. Bosh did miss their last game with a sprained ankle though;

Al Horford: His numbers don’t overwhelm, 16 points and just under 10 boards per, but he’s 11th in the league in Efficiency and his Hawks are fifth in the East;

Rajon Rondo: Plays for the best team in the East and averages 13 assists per game, by far the best mark in the league;

Raymond Felton: Amar’e gets plenty of credit for making the Knicks relevant, but some of the credit should also go to Felton, who has developed some wicked pick-n-roll chemistry with Stoudemire and has averages of 18/9, which are by far career bests;

Ray Allen: So, in case you missed it, the Celtics are playing pretty good and Ray continues to age gracefully, scoring 17 points per and hitting on 46% of his threes.

***

Out West, the starting line-up looks like it’ll be Durant, ‘Melo, Kobe, CP and Gasol (Gasol being the most logical injury replacement for Yao, who some people [read: who live in China] are still voting for). Yeah, Yao has played 5 games this year, while Pau is the second option on a 32-13 Lakers team, and he’s also third in the league in Efficiency. So he’d better start.

Anyway, here’s who I think should be selected as reserves, again, in no particular order:

Dirk Nowitzki: His Mavericks were playing as well as the Spurs before he hurt his knee and had to sit out, and they then went 2-7 with him on the sidelines. They are just 1-3 since his return, and he still seems to be favouring the knee, but hopefully he rounds back into form in the next few days;

Blake Griffin: 22.6 points, 12.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game – and he’s a rookie!

Kevin Love: 21.3 points, 15.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He’s rebounding the ball at a rate we haven’t seen since Dennis Rodman was in the league. I know that All-Star participants are generally from winning teams, and that Griffin and Love are a combined 26-59 on the season thus far, but they should not – nay, CANNOT – be penalised for playing on a sub-.500 team. The numbers they are producing are just too great;

Tim Duncan: His numbers (14/10) are nothing compared to some of the big guys in the West, but his Spurs sitting atop the Western Conference with a 37-6 record and he’s still capable of putting up big numbers (21 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 blocks in the Spurs win over the Knicks today). Also, he’s been an All-Star every year he’s been in the league, and this year should make it 13/13 (It will actually be his 14th year, but there was no All-Star in 1999 due to the lockout-shortened season);

Russell Westbrook: Played some unbelievable basketball earlier in the season while KD stuggled, putting up 43/8/8 in a win at Indy, 38/15/9 in a win at New Jersey, 23/10/10 in a victory over the Hawks and 32/10/13 in a win over Orlando. 23/5/8 for the season and has had some ridiculous dunks;

Deron Williams: Averaging 22/9 while his Utah Jazz sits a half-game outside of third in the West;

Monta Ellis: A lot of people are going to want Manu Ginobili in the All-Star game, and he’ll probably make it – his team is the best in the league and he’s been their best player. But this is how deep the West is: Monta Ellis is the third-leading scorer in the NBA with 26 points per contest. I know I’ve selected a bunch of guys from losing teams but seriously, these are top-5 guys statistically. I just couldn’t look past Monta’s scoring ability, plus it probably doesn’t hurt that he’s hit a couple of clutch buckets recently.

The West is so deep this season though, and here are some of the other guys I considered: Ginobili, Eric Gordon (averaging 24/3/5, eighth in the league in scoring, but there’s NO WAY two Clippers are making it if I couldn’t even get two Spurs in), Zach Randolph (one of the toughest to leave out, third in the league in rebounding, eighth in Efficiency and his Grizz have a better record that Blake’s Clips or Love’s Wolves), LaMarcus Aldridge (started the season slowly but has really picked up since Brandon Roy went down, the Blazers are still in the playoff hunt at 24-20 and Aldridge has averaged 27/10 so far in January) and Lamar Odom (averaging just under 16/10, his Lakers are second in the West).

And here are some guys I haven’t even considered: Tony Parker, David West, Paul Millsap, Nene, Steve Nash, Rudy Gay, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Marcus Camby and Tyson Chandler. Wow. Imagine if we could have some of the West guys make up the reserves for the Eastern starters.

Or, even better, we get a combined fan/coach vote for the starters, then elect a captain for both the East and West starting 5, and then they take turns at picking from a pool of guys to determine the reserves. Go back to the old days of just wearing the home white or away uniform of your current team and make it just like an ordinary pick-up game.

I dunno.

Anyway, there are my thoughts on who could/should make the All-Star squad. Thanks for reading.

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Comments

  • ascreamingcomesacrossthecourt  On January 25, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Ellis is a chucker. He’s been better this season, but no way is he better than Ginobili. He’s third in the league in scoring because he plays huge minutes and shoots regardless of who’s open, the time left on the shot clock or the whether or not he has a good shot. Ginobili’s defense is better too. I don’t mind taking guys from bad teams, but they have to earn it. Ginobili’s a more complete player — better shooter from outside and the line, better passer, better defender because Ellis has lapses and a better rebounder.

    • danielcooper22  On January 25, 2011 at 3:34 pm

      ‘The point is to take the league’s best players and put them in a game to play each other’

      ‘One problem is what to do with player minutes. Should players be punished for averaging only, say, 30 minutes a game? I say they should, because it’s part of their value. Duncan is a great player, but you can no longer play him heavy minutes because of his age and injury history’

      Monta IS one of the league’s best players. Watching his hesitation and explosion to the hoop is much more of a joy to me than watching Ginobili hop-step and herky-jerk his way to the hoop. I did find it hard to leave Manu out but I just enjoy Monta’s contributions so much more.

      Also, isn’t Monta to be rewarded for being able to play significant minutes? He’s had to pick up the slack a lot for the Dubs this season with Lee having his elbow messed up by Wilson Chandler’s teeth, and Steph Curry dealing with multiple ankle sprains. At the end of the day, Monta has had 40 points three times this season, and his TS% is up from 51.7 to 54.9 this season, and a 20 PER is far above league average.

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