So, the NBA’s showcase All-Star weekend is a little over a month away and with the talent level at arguably an all-time high we should be treated to one of the great ‘contests’. The voting process has changed from being entirely fan-based to now half fan-based and half media/player based, meaning Zaza Pachulia won’t be anywhere near New Orleans despite the mountain of early fan votes he has tallied thus far. You would trust this combination of voting to get the right player on the grand stage, but I would argue that some guys should not be anywhere near this game despite the likelihood that it will happen.
Some people are insecure when a threat comes along, and some hang onto past glory in their field just a little too long. Ol’ Melo ticks both those boxes, being far removed from an elite player but still chugging along as a serviceable starter for the Knicks and hogging as much of the New York attention as is left by one of his famous teammates (more on him later). Despite everyone with a clue knowing that Kristaps Porzingis is the present and the future in the Big Apple, Anthony continues to be an inefficient chucker with a massive fan base and he seems likely to push for a spot on the bench. For the good of the game and every sane fan, let’s hope the votes turn away from Melo and he can spend his break on the banana boat or well away from the public eye.
Wade may well go down as the third best shooting guard in NBA history when he retires, but he is so far removed from being the player he once was. Having returned home to Chicago, he has found comfort in the shadows of young star Jimmy Butler and one figures he wouldn’t be too bothered if he was left out of this game. Given he doesn’t play back to backs, is being managed and struggles to get off the floor these days most basketball fans would be hoping that basketball’s most famous jaw slips from second in the Eastern Conference backcourt voting and is replaced by John Wall, Kyle Lowry or Isaiah Thomas.
Rose found himself on the NYPD missing person’s report today after failing to attend the Knicks game in which he was playing. He blamed a ‘family issue’ but one couldn’t be held responsible for thinking he was pouting in response to being benched for Ron Baker in New York’s last game. Ron Baker is far from an established NBA player and could easily pass for a Knicks fan or even an executive, but he plays with enthusiasm and intensity and can defend an open door. Rose displays none of those attributes and took his benching with all the class of the president-elect of the US. Rose has become a sideshow; a cancerous piece of basketball works who would be better served plying his trade in China alongside Rajon Rondo. He currently sits fourth in the Eastern Conference backcourt voting… God help us all if he finds his way into the All-Star starting line-up.
Don’t get me wrong, this guy is one of the best five basketball players in the world and could easily be the best player on the court when the Spurs tackle the Warriors in this year’s Western Conference finals. He is almost certain to finish second in front-court voting in the Western Conference, and would deserve his spot in the starting line-up but for the showcase that is the All-Star game I would rather someone who will shoot 10-25 and play loose like DeMarcus Cousins. I am sure the announcing team will refer to the fact that he still has his college car about 50 times during the game, and there is more chance of Draymond Green keeping his feet to himself than there is of Kahwi getting excited about the All-Star festivities. Plus, who wants someone on the floor playing defense isn’t welcome at this game!! Speaking of Draymond…
One thing that you cannot accuse Green of being is fake. He is as real as the day is long, and that’s the problem. The guy is lauded as tough, but kicking guys in the nuts and generally being a scumbag on court isn’t tough. Seems like the perfect time for the Draymond Green nut kick compilation…
Seriously though, how can you have this guy anywhere near the All-Star game? Granted, he will dominate the off-court partying and being a walking quote as usual, but we need to pray he doesn’t sneak past Anthony Davis and grab a starting spot. To select him is to rob a deserving player who will treat the opportunity the right way. But if he does sneak into the team, surely Mike D’Antoni lines him up on LeBron? As Jalen and Jacob say, got to give the people what they want! Random flashback – we all know how great Game 7 of last year’s NBA finals was but where would this moment have ranked if James stuffs this dunk over Draymond?
Most agree that ‘The Block’ ranked right up there as a magic moment, but ‘The Almost Dunk’ might have surpassed it as the league’s greatest exclamation point since ‘The Shrug’ (approx. 4:22 of this clip)
Durant has a real case for being the MVP of the league, and the most intriguing story-line has been watching two-time MVP and NBA sweetheart Steph Curry realise that he is no longer the guy in Golden State (spoiler alert – it isn’t going as well as it could, despite them dominating). Of course, he will make the All-Star team and it is almost foolhardy to suggest otherwise, but the West might find themselves in a pinch if they are 15 down at halftime. When they return from the locker room, they will look across the court and see Durant has switched to the winning team instead of being a leader and toughing things out… because hey, that’s what he does right?
For what’s it’s worth, I see the All-Star game as the ultimate in entertainment and my rosters would be as follows:
East – Wall, Irving, James, Antetokounmpo, Porzingis, Embiid, Lowry, Thomas, Love, George, Whiteside, Butler
West – Harden, Westbrook, Davis, Towns, Jokic, Durant, Lillard, LaVine, Cousins, Gasol, Curry, Paul