Friday, February 4, 2011

Where Is The Love?

"When I Open My Eyes I'll Be in Dallas"

The All-Star game sucks. It has particularly sucked for the last five or six years, but in general it’s always just been a showcase for dunks and unrealistically long range shots, which is kind of awesome, but only up to a certain point. Every year I lose interest about halfway through the second quarter, but the game does serve a captivating purpose. The All-Star team selections serve as a midseason milestone to remind us of the elite players and fan favorites within the NBA. This is an interesting method of marking history in the league and the system in which fans choose the starters and experts choose the reserves creates a balance that usually results in the best representation of top players. This system, however, is flawed. For one, players like Yao Ming, Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson have been named to too many All-Star teams simply because they are popular, not necessarily because they are having a good season. This is generally ok because those that choose the reserve players judge performance alone, but when elite players are overlooked because they are not necessarily popular and then also denied a bench spot, the only thing that redeems the All-Star process is lost. Let’s look at who is supposedly leading the NBA this season:

Eastern Conference

LeBron James – Miami
Amare Stoudemire – New York
Dwyane Wade – Miami
Derrick Rose – Chicago
Dwight Howard – Orlando
Ray Allen – Boston
Chris Bosh – Miami
Kevin Garnett – Boston
Al Horford – Atlanta
Joe Johnson – Atlanta
In my opinion the Eastern Conference has a pretty accurate breakdown, probably because there is less talent to pick from. There are only a few teams represented here which is unfortunate but the truth is there are only a few good teams in the Eastern Conference to choose from. I don’t know what they were thinking with the West though:

Western Conference

Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City
Carmelo Anthony – Denver
Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles (Lakers)
Chris Paul – New Orleans
Yao Ming – Houston
Tim Duncan – San Antonio
Manu GInobili – San Antonio
Pau Gasol – Los Angeles (Lakers)
Blake Griffin – Los Angeles (Clippers)
Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas
Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City
Deron Williams – Utah
I don’t care how much of a national hero he is, Yao Ming needs to be banned from the voting at this point. There’s no way he’s going to play in this game and frankly I almost forgot that he is even still an NBA player. Most notably, the reserve selectors made a huge error in ignoring Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge. How could they possibly give Tim Duncan the spot over Aldridge who is averaging 21 and 9, let alone Kevin Love who is averaging 21 AND 15 REBOUNDS. If that isn’t All-Star caliber play, I don’t know what is. The selectors have done more than just ignore a great player in Love (who will probably get a spot when Yao Ming decides he can’t play) but have left out a player who might not be that popular but more than deserves the recognition that comes with an All-Star spot. They have failed to perform their role in the only even semi-important aspect of the All-Star game, a roster of players who represent the best and most popular players from the season and will be remembered as the top performers of 2010-11.

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