Friday, February 24, 2012

If I Had to Pick the NBA All-Stars

A while back, KOBEsh and I picked the NBA All-Stars irrespective of conference, just like the NHL does. It was a nice twist on the boring rendition that still exists in the Association today. Below are the complete lineups for Sunday's All-Star Game:

G: Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade
F: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony
C: Dwight Howard

G: Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo (injury replacement for Johnson)
F: Chris Bosh, Luol Deng, Andre Iguodala, Paul Pierce
C: Roy Hibbert

G: Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul
F: Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin
C: Andrew Bynum

G: Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook
F: LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Dirk Nowitzki
C: Marc Gasol

But who should be the REAL All-Stars?

BockerKnocker's 24:

G: Deron, Wade
F: LeBron, Bosh
C: Tyson Chandler

G: Rose, Brandon Jennings, Jose Calderon
F: Iguodala, Deng, Josh Smith
C: Greg Monroe

G: Paul, Kobe
F: Durant, Love
C: M. Gasol

G: Kyle Lowry, Westbrook, Steve Nash, James Harden
F: Pau Gasol, Aldridge
C: Marcin Gortat


There is no room for Dwight Howard in this game. His in-game limitation is obvious; I could pick a person from every team in my Zogsports basketball league that can shoot better than 49% from the stripe. But more importantly, the game is in Orlando. Whether it's by the trade deadline, or through free agency, Dwight Howard will leave the Magic, and the departure will be acrimonious. In fact, if LeBron hadn't gone through with The Decision, then Dwight would be the perfect candidate to use a me-first method to announce his plans. He doesn't deserve the accolades of being an All-Star when he treats his own city like garbage, especially when Tyson Chandler has been worth every penny for YOUR New York Knickerbockers. Don't want to be a distraction to the team, Dwight? Well, then don't request a trade before the season even starts. Look, Dwight Howard is a phenomenal athlete. He's what Shaq would have been like if Shaq had cared about staying in shape. The 20-15 that he seems to put up nightly doesn't surprise anyone anymore. But all of his off-court stuff just makes me angry. If this is truly MY All-Star team, then a guy like that doesn't make the cut. I'm crazy, I know, but whatever.

This brings me to Marcin Gortat. 16 points per game at a 56% clip, 10 boards per game, and being the one reason why Steve Nash hasn't put a bullet through his brain yet make Gortat a worthy player. Plus, wouldn't it be awesome to have the fans cheer for a guy who was originally Dwight's backup?

Relax, Jose. You've made the BK All-Stars.
I'm probably the only person in the world who has Jose Calderon on an All-Star team, but does anybody know that the guy is pushing an absurd 4.5-1 assist-to-turnover ratio? For point guards, 3-1 is considered above-average. Calderon has come back from a couple of down years to single-handedly keep Toronto from becoming a D-League team. Though his defense is assuredly very European, he's a good rebounding guard (3.5 per) and shoots a healthy 47% from the floor.

Brandon Jennings and Kyle Lowry are having magnificent seasons playing quarterback for their respective teams. Jennings is probably the best candidate for Most Improved Player, leading the Milwaukee Bucks to a respectable record despite Andrew Bogut going down for the year and Stephen Jackson racking up a few DNP-CDs...for being Stephen Jackson. Lowry has thrown up a 16-8-5 while being an absolute menace on the defensive end. His point guard play has friend of the blog El Miz raving, and who can blame him, when critics said the former Villanova product would never be a true NBA PG.

Greg Monroe often gets the "he could play in an earlier era" label. Sometimes I tend to read that as Monroe is slow and stiff, but what those people are trying to say is that he has a very high basketball IQ. He crashes the offensive glass not through sheer athleticism, but by positioning himself very well. If he wasn't stuck in Dumars-land, then it would be an obvious pick.

Miami is the best team in basketball, and the gap between 1 and 2 is widening. They deserve 3 All-Stars. But while the Thunder keep a reasonably close distance as the West's best team, they also deserve 3. But even if OKC didn't deserve a trio of All-Stars based on being a winning team, James Harden has played consistently good ball for the whole season. He's one of those rare southpaws that can go right, moves extremely well without the ball (although I guess he HAS to with KD and Russ) and is very underrated defensively.

KOBEsh's 24:

G: Rose, Wade
F: LeBron, Bosh
C: Dwight

G: Deron, Brandon Jennings
F: Deng, Josh Smith, Iguodala
C: Roy Hibbert

G: Chris Paul, Kobe
F: Durant, Blake Show
C: Andrew Bynum

G: Tony Parker, Russ Westbrook, Steve Nash
F: Rudy Gay, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Pau Gasol


The starting five in the West are pretty flawless - I'm not sure I can argue with any of them, which might be a first for this blog. I can't change too much aout the reserves, either. Parker, Westbrook, Love, Nash and LaMarcus are fine choices, and all definitely deserve to be there. However, instead of Dirk, I'm definitely taking Pau Gasol. I'm a big proponent of rewarding winning teams, but conversely not penalizing them the spectrum of exactly how good they are. So, for example, I wouldn't discriminate against the Lakers because they're "not good enough" to have 3 All-Stars. The fact is, the team is playing well, three of their players are having All-Star caliber years (read: are better than the other approximately 225 other players in the conference), and also, I'm a gigantic homer.

As far as Rudy Gay's selection, I think he's been the best player on the Grizz this season, even above Marc's brilliance on both ends of the floor. I am of the belief that Marc was mostly chosen to fulfill the G-G-F-F-C quota, which I do not particularly subscribe to.

Let's get this out of the way - the Eastern Conference, moreso than many other years, completely sickens me in it's mediocrity. I'm keeping Wade in the starting five because in spite of his 9 game absence, he's still a better choice than anyone else out there. Carmelo's incessant injuries this season, as well as his drop in performance has me dropping him out of the All-Star game. In his stead, I'm taking Chris Bosh, who is playing out of his shoes.

Deron is essentially just the Eastern Conference Steve Nash: they're both mafioso henchmen, except instead of dragging a team of stiffs through the desert, he's dragging them through the New Jersey swamps. Brandon Jennings has a pretty pathetic Milwaukee team positioned for the 8th spot - and even with him perhaps (and maybe unintentionally) ruining his team chemistry by saying he's going to bolt The Good Land in two years time, I'd have to have him on the All-Star team. I'm dropping Paul Pierce, because if I wanted an overweight guy who's played 3 weeks of good NBA basketball then I'd take Michael Rappaport for his aggregate performances in MTV Rock and Jock basketball games. I'm keeping Iguodala because despite his poor overall numbers, he's the best defensive player on the best defensive team in the league.

(I'm begging and pleading NBA coaches - can we stop electing Joe Johnson to All-Star games until we acutally remember ONE good game he's had? Has there ever been a 6-time All-Star that's had a less memorable career than Joe Johnson? I swear, the most unforgettable moments of his NBA professional life was getting his eye nearly knocked out with Phoenix in the 2005 playoffs and receiving a $121 dollar contract that would make Rashard Lewis blush).


All-Star games usually have a handful of snubs. This year is no different. But now that some of these guys are getting famous on Mambino, I'm sure it takes some of the pain away.


  1. Most idiotic post ever...Dwight Howard is not an all-star?

    1. Don't look at me....BockerKnocker, I'm throwing you under the bus.


  2. You're right, I should've been more direct. BockerKnocker, D12 is having one of the best statistical seasons a Center has ever had and you're picking Tyson Chandler (who definitely deserves a spot as a reserve) and...Greg Monroe? D12's PER, for a Center, is phenomenal this year, and his VAL is one of the highest ever.

    You're out of your mind, and claiming his leaving Orlando makes him not worthy...without Dwight in it, no one would goto the game from the hometown...

  3. I should have been more clear in the original posting. Dwight will ALWAYS be one of the 24 best players in the NBA. He should routinely come in the top 10 in MVP voting. But when I think of All-Star games, I always think about the players who really deserve to go, rather than the guys that the fans vote in (perfect example is Carmelo this year).

    Dwight doesn't deserve to be showered with praise when this year's All-Star game is being hosted by the city he is STILL trashing. One of the things I used to love about Dwight was that he smiled all freaking day, and that he didn't change that when critics slammed him for not being serious enough. Well, he's not doing much smiling this year, even with Orlando in virtually the same position that they are every year (3rd-4th in the East). He doesn't want to be there. He's called out his own teammates in the locker room, he has been the subject of alleged tampering by Prokhorov and the Nets, and he's just not the same guy. He's a phenomenal athlete, just not who I, personally, want to see in the All-Star game.

    Greg Monroe is a great player; his value to the Pistons lies beyond stats. Basketball, unlike baseball, does not revolve around statistics. So citing Player Efficiency Rating is blasphemy in this household.

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  4. Citing PER is blasphemy? The All-Star game, as you say, is for those who deserve to go. That means, who is the best player, at their position. I'm sure Monroe is a fine person in the locker room, and I even heard he puts out warm towels for Brandon Knight prior to each game...but come on. PER and VAL equal how "good" a player is. And if you say D12 is a top 10 MVP player (which he is) then either you're saying Monroe and Chandler are higher than that...or that someone who is the best at their position doesn't deserve to be the in AS game.

    Which is why I call it absurd. Would you argue that LBJ shouldn't have made it his free agent year or that 'Melo should be barred because of his flight from Denver?

  5. You're right, Hollinger. I'm saying that Dwight doesn't deserve to be in MY All-Star game. My All-Star game is a make-believe scenario where I am hiding behind a computer and picking the 24 duders who I want to see play. And I don't like Dwight.

    And for the record, Brandon likes his towels at room temperature.