Delightfully, my quams with the NBA All-Star rosters are at a minimum this season (compared to past seasons). With a few minor exceptions, I think they got it almost right this year.
The starters are set in stone and while it’s typical for some fans act outright delusional and warrant restricted access to All-Star voting, there’s nothing us realistic fans can do to change it. Besides, other than Kevin Garnett, I’m actually fine with the ten starters. Normally I could rant all day about the flaws with fan voting, but I’ll leave it alone while the going is good for this season.
Even though the reserves (announced Thursday night) were in decent shape, there are always exceptions. Coaches of the NBA, you did alright, but there’s always an opportunity for improvement. Let’s discuss.
What They Did Right
- Jrue Holiday. Of all the All-Star selections, the Jrue Holiday one pick is my favorite. There is no secret to how I feel about the Holiday All-Star scenario. With the guard situation in the East, he deserves to go over Deron Williams, over Brandon Jennings and even despite their better record, he certainly deserves to go over J.R. Smith. If you want the full rant, check the list posted above. Even though he’s already been named, I’ll slide in that he posted a career-high 35 points earlier tonight.
- Paul George. I was extremely happy to see the coaches select George to his first All-Star appearance in the Eastern Conference. Sitting at 26-18 (only 4 games out of 1st) someone had to represent the Pacers in this game right? With the absence of Roy Hibbert, who’s having an abomination of a season, George has stepped up big time to lead Indiana back after a disappointing start to the season. David West certainly warrants some consideration, but George has put together the complete package or scoring, rebounding and defense (he even averages 3.7 assists per contest). Logging a heavy 36.7 minutes per game, I personally thought George was a no-brainer. I’m glad the coaches felt the same way.
- The omitting of Paul Pierce. This was exactly right. I listened to someone on a podcast the other day drive my view on All-Star selections home perfectly. The All-Star game is played every season, so we should be honoring those players that are having the very best CURRENT seasons. Past performance should be such a minor consideration. In the case of Paul Pierce, he’s clearly not at the All-Star level in years past. His numbers are way down and if you simply watch him play, he’s no longer a dominant player. And his disappointing Celtics are under .500 in the mediocre East. To put Paul Pierce in the All-Star game this season would have been a travesty. Thank you again coaches.
What They Did Wrong
- LaMarcus Aldridge over Stephen Curry. Look, I’m actually a huge LaMarcus Aldridge guy and I particularly love watching the Blazers play, especially that starting five. I think Aldridge is one of the premier post players in the league. However, Steph Curry is having a more fantastic season. He’s averaging 20.9 points (8th in the league), .450 from 3-point range (2nd) and a very healthy 6.5 assists per game (14th). He’s stayed relatively healthy while his Warriors are a very solid (and overachieving) 26-17, currently good for the 5th seed in a tough Western Conference. David Lee was became the first Warrior All-Star since Latrell Sprewell in 1997, Steph Curry should have been the second one.
- Chris Bosh over Brook Lopez. I get it, the “Big Three” need major representation. I’ve actually grown to like Bosh’s role in Miami as the third wheel as well. He’s become extremely efficient and compliments James and Wade well. But really, he doesn’t have All-Star numbers. Even though their numbers are pretty close (Bosh is at 17.2 pts, 7.2 rebs, 1.4 blks while Lopez is at 18.6 pts, 7.3 rebs, 2.1 blks), Brook Lopez should have been selected to represent the Nets in the game. Both Joe Johnson and Deron Williams are having down seasons (to say the least) and the Heat already have two guys in the starting lineup. It’s no coincedence that the Nets are where they are and it frustrates me that not a single player from the East’s #4 seed is in the game. Besides, Lopez has consistently been one of the best bigs in the entire league this year. He should be going to Houston, period. The coaches messed this one up big time.
- Luol Deng. I have nothing against Luol Deng, I just think his spot deserved to go to one of Josh Smith, Al Horford or Brook Lopez. The Bulls have a solid record (without Derrick Rose), but already have one All-Star representing them in Joakim Noah, which the the right choice. The Nets (26-18) or the Hawks (25-18), who I also feel are overachieving aren’t represented in the game. Both Hawks players have better overall numbers than Deng’s 17.4 pts, 6.4 rebs and 3.0 asts per game. As you can probably tell, I’m a fan of maximizing team representation (within reason) and while Deng is a very solid and important player to the Bulls, I think the coaches whiffed here.
What They Should Do Next Season
Just go ahead and expand the damn rosters to 13 players! The regular season rosters are now permanently set at 13, so the league needs to mix in some common sense and mirror that for next year’s game in New Orleans. Consider it redemption for this Pelicans fiasco.