Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hey Now, You're An All-Star

How in the world does Bruce Bowen almost get voted into the All Star game? That baffles the mind. He was the third highest vote getter amongst forwards in the Western conference with nearly 1.4 million, and was edged out by Amare Stoudemire by less than 70,000 votes for the second spot. While I admit, it would have been hilarious had Bruce Bowen been voted an All Star starter, there is seriously something wrong with the current fan voting process. Apparently, fans are either stupider than I thought, or they are intentionally trying to sabotage the voting process. Was there some underground movement that I missed out on to vote Bruce Bowen into the all star game? Does he have some sort of regional or international support that I'm not aware of? Speaking of which... behind the strength of China, Yi Jianlian also was nearly voted into the all star game. He finished approximately 200,000 votes behind Kevin Garnett, however, for a spot in the Eastern Conference starting lineup. Wow.

But that's not even the worst of it. I hate it when fans vote for injured players. I don't care if they are charismatic, have the best blog, have the most commercials or the sweetest kicks; if they aren't playing any games, they should not be getting any votes. Why are they even on the ballot? For example, Gilbert Arenas got over 600,000 votes for the all star game, and he hasn't even played a single game this year. He got more votes than Danny Granger or Joe Johnson. What's up with that? It will be interesting to see if the NBA makes any changes to the all star voting process during the offseason. Everyone is going to be throwing out their outlandish ideas for fixing the voting process, but I think the main problem they have are their ballots. They should exclude injured players and players who are contributing minimally to their teams. That would have prevented (or at least reduced) the number of votes that Bowen or Yi or Arenas would get.

Western Conference Starters:

C - Yao Ming
F - Tim Duncan
F - Amare Stoudemire
G - Kobe Bryant
G - Chris Paul

Eastern Conference Starters:

C - Dwight Howard
F - Lebron James
F - Kevin Garnett
G - Dwyane Wade
G - Allen Iverson

With that said, I actually don't have too many complaints about the starters who were actually selected. I think all of them are deserving, except maybe Iverson. He's really had an off year since the trade to Detriot. But I just don't think that Michael Curry knows how to properly utilize Iverson in their offensive and defensive schemes. Iverson, for the most part, has been a good soldier and done whatever they've asked of him. But the fans will vote for whoever they like, and popularity doesn't always correlate to quality of play. I'm a bit surprised to see Duncan voted as a starter. I always thought his "boring" style of play did not appeal to the common fan. And it's nice to Dwyane Wade bounce back from an injury-riddled year and make the all star game, and for Chris Paul to be voted an all star starter for the first time in his career. He's a beast on the floor and its nice to see the fans recognize that. On a side note, there were 5 players who received more votes than Yao Ming this year. What this means is that either China's voting has less of an impact on the results than people think, or that China is not as biased in their voting as some experts might suggest. The last I heard is that Kobe Bryant is the most popular player in China, for example.

Things get a little dicier when it comes to selecting the all star reserves. There are only 7 spots and usually there are many players worthy of the selection. My complaints about the current system is that coaches always reward team success. You can be a B-grade player on a winning team and make the all star games. But an A-grade player on a losing team will usually get snubbed. I understand the argument that great players make their teammates better. But sometimes you are just stuck on a hopeless team. Putting up great numbers on a bad team takes as much skill as on a good team. Further more, I don't like it when coaches select like 3-4 players from the same team. I hated it when the coaches picked nearly the entire Detriot Pistons starting lineup a couple years back. Yes, their team was playing well. But not all of them deserve all star recognition. Second, I also dislike how coaches are biased towards veterans and established players. Young players and rookies rarely get a fair shot at making the all-star game. All star selections should be based solely on their current play, and should not factor in past seasons. I don't like seeing the same players selected every year based off of reputation and status, at the expense of other players.

Western Conference Reserves:

C - Shaquille O'Neal
F - Pau Gasol
F - Dirk Nowitzki
F - David West
G - Chauncey Billups
G - Tony Parker
G - Brandon Roy

F - Al Jefferson
G - Kevin Durant

The name that immediately stands out is David West. I didn't think he was deserving of the all star selection last year, and I don't think that he is deserving this year. He's a PF that gives you only 7 rebounds and 1 block. He's a fine young player, but not in the same class as his peers. The two snubbed players that I think have the best case for making the Western Conference all star team are Kevin Durant and Al Jefferson. I think they were left off of the team because they are on losing teams and they are young players. Both guys are putting up all-star numbers, though. Al Jefferson: 23 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 49% FG. Kevin Durant: 25 points, 6.5 rebounds, 47% FG and 86% FT and nearly 1 3PT, 1 block, and 1 steal. If I had to take off another player it would be Tony Parker. Not because he hasn't played great, but because he missed roughly 10 games in November. A prerequisite of all-star selection is playing in over 80% of the games. By that logic, guys like Deron Williams and Melo are out of the picture. 2 players I would like to point out in particular are Shaq and Billups. I've been really impressed with Shaq's career revival in Phoenix. I didn't think he still had it in him. He's still amongst the league's best centers. And Billups has done a brilliant jump making that Denver franchise relevant again. Who knew that trading away Iverson for Billups would elevate this team from struggling to make the playoffs to a division leader? Crazy.

Eastern Conference Reserves:

C - Chris Bosh
F - Danny Granger
F - Rashard Lewis
F - Paul Pierce
G - Devin Harris
G - Joe Johnson
G - Jameer Nelson

F - Antawn Jamison

Let me first start off by saying that I'm happy to see Granger and Harris on the list. I was worried that they would get snubbed because they are on losing teams and are both young players. Both players have elevated themselves to the top of their respective positions. Check out their stats. Granger: 25.5 points, 2.5 3PT, 88% FT, 1.1 steals, 1.4 blocks, 5 rebounds, 3.5 assists. He's the complete package. Harris: 21.5 points, 6.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 82% FT. This reserve squad is definitely lacking in size, however. Chris Bosh is a tweener at the center position. I don't like that there are 3 Orlando Magic players on the all star team. And arguably their most important player: Turkoglu, is not one of those 3. I would take Rashard Lewis off of the team; who is not much more than a shooter. I was a little iffy about Jameer Nelson initially, but I think he's comparable to Mo Williams. So I'm OK with the pick. Zee seems to think that Mo Williams was a big time snub. Sure he's been a huge part of Cleveland's rise to the top of the league, but his numbers aren't that great. You could make a case for Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison or Caron Butler making the all star team. This reserve squad doesn't need any more high-scoring swingmen, though, so I would probably pick Jamison to play the PF spot. I would like to give a shoutout to David Lee. He barely missed the squad, but I think he's a beast. Lee: 16 points 11.5 rebounds, 1 steal, 57% FG and 75% FT for a big man. Paul Pierce is a borderline all star. But if I use team success as a tiebreaker, I think he deserves his spot. Just barely.

1 comment:

Moose said...