Saturday, January 26, 2013

Snubbed the Wrong Way

At 7 o'clock last night, the All-Star reserves were announced. Usually, this is a source of considerable stress for me. It never ceases to amaze me how often coaches, who are presumably knowledgeable and unbiased (the votes are anonymous and they don't get to vote for their own players) get it so wrong. You expect this from the fans, who for years could not cast enough votes for Yao Ming and Vince Carter. A great number of fans can be (how shall I put this delicately?) dumb as rocks.

I expect more from the coaches. The American people and the good fans in the ever-expanding international market expect more from the coaches. Each and every year scores of people around the world feel as though their guy was snubbed and some undeserving bum took his spot. This is usually the night where I shout from the internet equivalent of a rooftop about how a player I like got screwed by the powers that be.

Trust me, nothing would make me happier than to write a scathing article about how much more I know about basketball than the average NBA coach. There's only one problem; this year's All-Star reserves actually make sense to me. For the first time ever, the coaches may have gotten it right!

It is hard to disagree with their choices in the frontcourt.

In the West we have Tim Duncan, Zach Randolph, LeMarcus Aldridge and David Lee. All of them have All-Star caliber numbers. The teams they represent have winning records (the Spurs, Grizzlies, Trailblazers, and Warriors would be in the Playoffs if the season ended today) and all of them are integral pieces to their respective teams. The case could be made for Al Jefferson or Marc Gasol being a reserve but justifying who they would replace would be tricky. 

In the East we have Tyson Chandler, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh, and Paul George. Bosh is still one of the best players on the best team in the East.  Chandler's defensive presence has almost singlehandedly made the Knicks a legitimate contender. Noah has 20 double-doubles already. Deng (who leads the league in minutes played) has carried the Rose-less Bulls to 25 wins. George has taken his game to another level in Danny Granger's absence. The second year forward is averaging almost 17ppg and 8rpg and the guy hit nine 3-pointers in that Pacers/Pelicans game.

Like most Brooklynites, I  thought that Brook Lopez was having a good enough season to be a reserve. Unlike most Brookynites, I am not outraged by his exclusion. The way I see it, Noah, Chandler and Bosh are all better big men than Lopez is right now. You could make the case that he is having a better season than Garnett, but the fans made that decision.

Stephen Curry's omission could be the most controversial. He is averaging almost 21 ppg, 7apg, 4rpg and is currently ranked third in the league in 3-PT%. Curry has stepped up his effort defensively and has remained (almost) injury-free for the first time in his career. The Warriors have the fifth best record in the West and Steph Curry is unquestionably the catalyst for their success. I am a big fan of his but, which one of these guards should he replace?

Can an unbiased fan seriously see him taking Paul, Bryant, Westbrook, Harden, or Parker's spot?

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