Sunday, January 28, 2007

NBA All-Star Snubs and Subs

Since I’ve been gone, a lot of happened in the world of sports. In a matter close to my heart, Drexel lost to VCU 75-68 in the CAA game of the year.

Serena Williams dominated Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open final to win her 8th Grand Slam title. Roger Federer won his 10th Grand Slam title at the same tournament the next day.

The Super Bowl is now a week away, and we’re still talking about black coaches.

Aaron Brooks, not the one in the picture, from Oregon has made the race for college basketball’s player of the year a three way battle between him, Alando Tucker of Wisconsin, and Kevin Durant from Texas.

All of these things are cool, but since I want to get on my soapbox, I’m going to talk about the NBA’s All-Star selections.

I, like many, think the process needs to be overhauled. Shaq is starting for the Eastern Conference, thanks to the fans. He’s played in 6 games this season, only topped 20 points and 10 rebounds once (in different games), and is averaging 12 pts, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. ‘Zo Mourning (his backup and non all-star) is averaging 10 points, 5.7 rebounds, and almost 3 blocks.

Yet, when Shaq retires, his number of All-Star game appearances will be used to place him as possibly the 2nd or 3rd greatest center of all time. Nobody is going to say, “Hey, he only really earned one of those all-star games with the Heat.” Unless the fans are going to start voting for the Hall of Fame, we shouldn’t vote for the All-Star game.

At the very least, fans shouldn’t have total control over who starts. Unless, of course, nobody cares that Yao Ming will be the leading vote getter for the rest of his life, thanks to the billion plus people in China.

Second, there should be more flexibility with positions. Currently, there has to be 2 centers, 4 forwards, 4 guards, plus 2 wild cards on each team. You’d be hard pressed to find 4 good, legitimate centers in the entire league. The 12 best players from each conference should be selected, regardless of position.

Third, why not expand the roster by at least 2 spots. There are always at least two guys getting shafted each year because of fan voting, limited position flexibility, and the 12 man limit.

Alas, here are your starters for the Eastern and Western Conference. Guys in regular font are rightful starters, guys in italics are guys who should be on the team but not starting, and guys in bold aren’t All-Stars.

Eastern Conference
C Shaquille O’Neal
F Chris Bosh
F LeBron James
G Dwayne Wade
G Agent Zero

Western Conference
C Yao Ming
F Kevin Garnett
F Tim Duncan
G Kobe Bryant
G Tracy McGrady

Along with Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki and Carmelo Anthony should be starting at forward, and Nash at the point. Nash and Dirk are 1 and 2 in the MVP race, and ‘Melo leads the league in scoring. I know he missed 15 games, but he got shafted with the suspension. Shaq should be home.

Here are your Eastern and Western Conference reserves:


C Dwight Howard – 17.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks. If bound by positions, he should be starting center over Shaq.
F Jermaine O’Neal – 19.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3 blocks. Playing the best defense of his career and he is a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.
F Vince Carter – 25.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists. Vince is doing his thing, and should be a guarantee. He might get shafted for the years that he made it thanks to the fans.
G Jason Kidd – 14.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 9 assists. He’s a triple double threat every time he takes the floor, him and Vince should have the Nets in first place when its all said and done.
G Joe Johnson – 25 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists. He’s the guy from the horrible team that makes it, since he’s having a better all-around season than Michael Redd.
F Caron Butler - 20.8 points, 8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2 steals. He’s playing some of the best all around ball in the entire conference. He’s finally living up to his potential.
G Rip Hamilton – 22.9 points, 4 rebounds, 3.7 assists. He’s the best player on the best team, having a great season.

Two who will get screwed:

G Michael Redd – 27.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists. In reality, he’ll probably make it over Joe Johnson. I’m taking Joe because he dishes out more dimes, and shoots it at a higher clip.
C Emeka Okafor – 15 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3 blocks. He edges out Eddy Curry for the “Guy who should be on the team instead of Shaq award.”


C – Yao Ming’s Replacement – Dirk Nowitzki – 25.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 50% FG. The best player on the NBA’s best team should be starting in the All-Star game. Especially since he has a good chance of being MVP.

C Amare Stoudemire – 18.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.4 blocks. This will go down in history as the best post-microfracture surgery season ever.
F Carmelo Anthony – 31.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4 assists, 49% FG. He’s having the season of his life and should finally make the all-star team after getting shafted in his own town last year.
F Carlos Boozer – 22.1 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3 assists, 57% FG. If Utah was playing better, he’d be an MVP candidate too.
G Steve Nash – 19.5 points, 11.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 54% FG, 50% 3PT. This is one of the biggest no-brainers ever.
G Allen Iverson – 28.8 points, 7.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 2 steals. It’s a shame he had to sit out all those games, but I’m glad he’s on a Denver team that wants him.
F Josh Howard – 19.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1 steal, 1 block. He’s Dallas’ Matrix Jr.
F Shawn Marion – 18.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 2.2 steals, 1.4 blocks, 52% FG. The Matrix Sr. is still one of the most unheralded players in the league.

Two who will get screwed:

G Kevin Martin – 20.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1 steal, 49% FG. I’m surprised Mark Stein didn’t mention him in his column. He’s having a career year for the pathetic Kings.
G Baron Davis – 20.6 points, 8.6 assists 4.6 rebounds. 2.1 steals. His field goal percentage sucks, but otherwise he’s thriving with Nellie in Golden State. He’s also made Jason Richardson expendable, who the Warriors can use to get a better fit for their system.


nadum said...

I decided that I like this blog and the author basically reads most of the same articles I do (even though I have no clue who he actually is) so I'm going to just bang out my 2 comments a week on this one.
I'm okay with everything in the Eastern Conference except Vince Carter. If Michael Redd or Joe Johnson played with Jason Kidd they'd have better numbers and the Nets would have a lot more wins. Also, since you rightly factor in a team's record into your decision making, how does a 22-27 get two starters and 29-18 team only get one? Billups and Rip led their team to a better record than Carter and Kidd. Also if Shaq doesn't play in the all-star game, Webber should get the nod over Okafor. He's playing the best basketball on the best Eastern Conference team right now and the Pistons are 9-2 with him as a starter. Okafor would probably do the same but he's stuck in Charlotte and they stink so too bad.

I guess I had enough problems with the East that it was worth an entire comment. I'm going to count the Western Conference as another one.

nadum said...

Dirk wasn't listed on the ballot as a Center. I'm pretty sure David Stern is doing whatever he wants at this point but I don't know if they can replace a Center with a PF so Amare will probably get the nod (even though he's a PF too).

Anyways, no way does Carmelo start over Garnett or Duncan. As good as he played before the suspension, he's stunk it up something wicked since he came back. He should have been a mortal lock as a reserve, but Denver's record doesn't warrant him being a starter.

As far as Dirk starting goes, no way does he start over Duncan. Duncan, as boring as he is, is the best player in the NBA. I don't think you can start him over Garnett either. Garnett is a case where the record doesn't matter. He's one of the best players of all time (Dirk isn't). Garnett plays defense and Dirk has a supporting cast and a head coach. Put Garnett on the Mavs and they'd probably be undefeated (not really).

As for Yao not getting italicized, thats crazy. Amare is ripping people to shreds and Yao isn't even as good as Dikembe (I don't really watch that many Rockets games but whatever).

There was an article about why Tony Parker made it on account of the flawed voting system as a wildcard and how that made Josh Howard/Carmelo not make it. With the replacements, Howard and Anthony get in and maybe Martin deserves it more than Tony Parker (or Jason Terry deserves it or whatever) but the coaches are all middle aged men that spend time with a buncha sweaty, musculer men all year. A vote for Tony Parker is a vote for Eva Longoria too. So its not hard to figure out why he's going.