Vote Or Die

In spite of it meaning nothing at all, the NBA All-Star Game actually means something to me. Not like the MLB All-Star game which tries desperately to have meaning yet means nothing. The NBA All-Star Game doesn’t require a representative from every team. There’s only 13 roster spots avaialble and each one is reserved for the best of the best, basically as long as you don’t play for the Warriors you will have a shot at making the team. Thusly, the selection process should be given a lot of thought, at the very least more thought than what you when you place an order at Applebee’s. That obviously doesn’t happen with regularity since Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Shaq, and Allen Iverson have all been voted starters in spite of the fact that they were either injured, out of shape, coasting, past their prime, or in Shaq’s case, all of the above. The coaches usually do a good job of compensating with the selection of the reserves but before you fill out another ballot do a little reading, namely the next 1,000 words, so you don’t contribute to the problem. If you’re not part of the solution…

Western Conference Starters

G-Deron Williams
G-Manu Ginobli
F-Kevin Durant
F-Dirk Nowitzki
C-Marc Gasol

Carmelo is the second leading vote getter among the Western forwards right now and as someone who has seen him play in nearly every game this season, I live in Colorado, he only half deserves that position since he only seems to be trying half the time. You can look at his stats and see that there isn’t a huge difference from last season to this but he’s even more lethargic than usual, which was my primary complaint about him before this season. In a season where the West is seemingly more wide open than it has been in recent memory, Carmelo is single handedly sinking this team and his best chance to make it to the Finals.

Manu is starting because he’s been Vintage Manu this season. He’s been the best player on the best team so far this season and it’s no coincidence that his resurgence is happening at the same time as the Spurs. This is a classic zombie scenario: left for dead, forgotten, then, BAM!, the Spurs jump out at you from behind a peach tree after you’d let your guard down.

A case could be made that Deron Williams has been the best guard in the West and it goes something like this: he is integral to everything his team does, offensively and defensively and he carries the load as seamlessly as any other MVP candidate. He performs at a high level, night in and night out and if he doesn’t, his team loses.

Durant doesn’t need an explanation but after a slow start, which could be attributed towards spending the summer winning a gold medal for our country, he’s performing at a very high level. Dirk missed a few games over the last couple weeks but before that and Dallas’ subsequent swoon he was playing better than anybody in the league and was the first trimester MVP as he and the Mavs rushed to top record in the league the early part of the season.

Marc starts by default at C mostly because his brother is listed as a forward on the ballot. Marcus Camby is the better player here but this the least imposing

Western Conference Reserves

G-Russel Westbrook
G-Chris Paul
G-Kobe Bryant
F-Blake Griffin
F-LaMarcus Aldridge
F-Kevin Love
F/C-Pau Gasol

I don’t need to say anything for Westbrook, Bryant, Paul or Gasol and I shouldn’t have to say anything for Aldridge but since people outside of Portland will (hopefully) read this and wonder what he’s done I will. LaMarcus Aldridge has been like Johnny Storm this month (read: on fire) and without Roy this season he’s the reason the Blazers are staving off everyone else for the eighth seed.

Griffin has been spectacular offensively and almost as bad defensively. This is more of a salute to the fact that he has seemingly changed the culture of the Clippers single handedly. Think about this: Baron Davis cares about something other than eating and making documentaries. That in itself is amazing. Kevin Love is my personal pick mostly because who are you going to take ahead of him and he threw up a freakin’ 30/30. He goes into a most likely losing situation every night but you wouldn’t know it watching him. He loves playing basketball. We saw it at the Worlds during the summer and we’re seeing it now too.

Snubs: Tony Parker, Rudy Gay, Paul Millsap, Monta Ellis

Eastern Conference Starters

G-Derrick Rose
G-Dwyane Wade
F-LeBron James
F-Amar’e Stoudemire
C-Dwight Howard

Pretty straightforward, right? Derrick Rose has been the best guard in the East so far and is probably the half season MVP at this point in the year. Wade and James are still both playing at a high level, especially since they found a rhythm in which they both coexist. Stoudemire is living up to his contract so far, offensively anyway, and deserves the start. Despite his deficiencies and his constant complaining, Howard is still the best center in the Association.

Eastern Conference Reserves

G-Rajon Rondo
G-Raymond Felton
F-Josh Smith
F-Paul Pierce
F-Kevin Garnett
F/C-Al Horford
F/C-Andrew Bogut

After a torrid start to the season, injuries and an inevitable leveling-off has curbed Rondo’s bid for a starting guard spot. After him, the guard ranks thin some so we’ll take Felton and slot stat stuffer Josh Smith at a spot too. Garnett and Pierce have both been very good for very different reasons. Garnett is playing better than he has since the Celtics won the Finals three years ago and Pierce did an impressive job running the game while Rondo was out. Al Horford gets the spot vacated by Joakim Noah and Andrew Bogut gets the spot vacated by Al Horford. It’s a real shame to because Noah was really playing well and would have wholly deserved a spot on this team.

Snubs: You tell me

In the murky West you could make a case for different starters and different reserves and who deserves what more than whom while the East is decisively clearer. Yao Ming is the leading vote getter at center so it really does matter who you vote for. Except it really doesn’t. It’s just an All-Star game.

Hate it? Abhor it? Another synonym for dislike it? Hit the comments below and let me know. Follow me on Twitter @stefanhynes

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dr. Zaius on January 18, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    good call

    Reply

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