Since the off-season began, all we’ve heard about is how ALL of the superstars have packed up and headed West. The Eastern Conference will be LeBron James and tumbleweeds. Bereft of any real talent and competition.
Surely this can’t be the case? Superstar Parity can’t be completely destroyed, can it?
Questions need answers, and to that end, here is:
“Tex’s ridiculously far too early predictions for the All Star Game!”
A quick reminder, All-Star teams are made up of 5 starters (2 back court players, 3 front court) and then 7 bench players. Don’t blame me there’s not a traditional team make up below, go yell in to the Twittersphere with that one. Adam Silver seems like a cool guy, see if he’ll take your call. Tell him I said “G’day”.
Eastern Conference Starters
Eastern Conference Bench
Western Conference Starters
Western Conference Bench
Based on the above, I think it would be pretty fair to argue that we were all wrong. Look at those line-ups! Look at those benches! PARITY IS ALIVE AND WELL.
But the truth only ever tells half of the story.
Let me take you behind the curtain for a second. Explain my thought process. When I started putting together my teams, I went roster by roster in each conference. I created two lists - “All Star” and “Maybe”.
The “All Star” list is your no brainers. Your All NBA guys, your undeniable superstars.
For the “Maybe’s” I tried to take in to account things like star power, overall popularity, media favourites, increased role, etc…
From there I had to make a call on my starters, and then I had to make some cuts to get to my bench, and then I had the leftovers.
This may seem like overkill, but if you’ve come this far, enjoy the emptying of my brain. Those that didn’t make it this far have probably already taken to Twitter to tell me how far off base I am. Because Twitter.
Eastern Conference All Stars
Eastern Conference Maybe’s
Western Conference All Stars
Western Conference Maybe’s
Now, why did I show you all of that? A few reasons I suppose.
Like I said before, the players at the pointy end of each conference are certified super stars. Brand slinging, custom kick wearing, max money superstars. The best of the best.
The real story lies behind that though. I’ll save you doing the math for yourself, here’s the full list of Western Conference players from my “All Stars” initial list that missed the cut when I had to start working out my starters:
You could argue for any of those players to make my All Star list. I won’t mind if you do. But I wasn’t flippant about it. I thought about it for far longer than I should have. I’m pretty happy with my team.
Below is my full list of Eastern Conference players that missed the cut:
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Not one. Not a single one.
When you start to look at the reserve list, it gets even more grotesque. I didn’t feel the need to argue for any of those Eastern Conference players to make the cut. That internal tug of war just wasn’t there. I can hear the Knickerbocker fans sharpening their pitch forks now, but the Kazoos won’t have a strong enough record next year to warrant two All-Stars, and the Unicorn is the chosen one. Dwayne Wade is no longer deserving, and then we’re down to who? Kemba Walker? Dennis Schroder?
JJ Redick made this list. JJ Freakin’ Redick. Congrats JJ, you’re making 23 million next year and you’re officially in the top 20 players in the Eastern Conference. Seriously! I doubt he’d make the top 50 in the West these days.
And this is the real worry. There’s plenty of young talent in the East, but a distinct lack of proven studs.
The West is riddled with talent. The second string All Stars still reads like a who’s who of NBA super stardom. You could roll a ball out to my back up list and it would still contend with the Eastern Conference Team. I can’t promise Lillard isn’t going to storm in to the Staples Centre like a WWE heal, steel chair tucked under his arm, ready to take to Demar Derozan like it’s personal.
I’m tired of feeling sorry for Memphis Grizzlies fans. Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are STUDS, and would both make that Eastern team without a thought. They won’t even get a sniff in the West. That’s just where we are. NBA Free Agency isn’t over (is it ever over anymore?) but the moves this year have absolutely made the West a juggernaut. For the Eastern Conference the only solace you can take is that the league changes quickly these days. Contracts are barely worth the paper they’re written on, Super Teams are formed and disbanded as quickly as Woj can drop the bomb on them, and the youth coming up really do look strong in the East. That’s it though really, that’s all I can lean on at the minute…hope.