This season’s NBA All-Star game will take place in Orlando, FL on February 26at the Orange County Convention Center. As a week of balloting is already in the books, none other than All-Star game host and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard is leading the NBA in vote getters with 754,737 votes.
Players are voted to the NBA All-Star game directly by the fans. I do believe that all fans should have a voice when it comes to bragging about or sticking up for their favorite players, but I think giving fans all of the say when picking NBA All-Stars is wrong. This is why Howard is leading the league in votes and why players like Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Garnett are still garnering a hefty amount of supporters.
Bill Simmons, Sekou Smith, Doug Smith and Ian Thomsen decided upon the 120 players that are placed on the ballot this year. Why not give them some help from some other writers and have them make up the teams altogether?
Also, I think the league should cut 10 players from the 26-man roster to make a selection more of an honor for a player. This method would make sure that older, popular players, who may not be playing the best basketball at their position, are not included on the rosters.
This article’s purpose isn’t meant to be a letter to David Stern calling him to change the NBA All-Star selection, but just to dissect some stories behind some players on the ballot. I will look at players with more than 10 years of NBA experience, marketable players, an under-the-radar center and some Cavaliers all-star tidbits.
Ray Allen, Chauncey Billups, Elton Brand, Kobe Bryant, Marcus Camby, Tyson Chandler, Samuel Dalembert, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol, Richard Hamilton, Grant Hill, Stephen Jackson, Antawn Jamison, Joe Johnson, Jason Kidd, Corey Maggette, Shawn Marion, Andre Miller, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Lamar Odom, Tony Parker, Paul Pierce, Zach Randolph, Jason Richardson, Jason Terry, Hedo Turkoglu, Gerald Wallace and Metta World Peace. 30. That’s 30 players on the NBA All-Star ballot that have ten or more years of NBA experience. You want to know how many of the 30 10+ veterans are projected to be selected to the teams? 16 of them.
I look at this stat and see that NBA fans are not willing to give new players a chance over their beloved and aging veterans. But if you look at the stat this way, only 16 players out of the 52 selected to the game are 10+ veterans. The projected starters right now only have one of the 30 players listed above, and that’s Kobe. Following the starters, however, are an army of matured players who are leaving younger and more talented players at the end of the East and West rosters.
Whether they’re trying to sell shoes, cars, headphones or insurance, the players that get the most TV time are the top yielders of votes thus far.
Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade, probably the most polarizing names in the NBA, are either featured in many commercials or are playing on ESPN/ABC at least once a week. The only relation that I see here is that talent relates to marketability. These players deserve to be posterized everywhere because they are the best players that basketball has to offer.
Undetected and Under-The-Radar
Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, who is averaging 13.9 points and 9.8 rebounds, is not even one of the top 6 centers in the NBA according to fans. I can understand Chandler, Howard and Joakim Noah all being in front of Hibbert, but I think he definitely deserves to be mentioned with the next group of centers. Injured Al Horford (12.4, 7.0), struggling Wizards center JaVale McGee (12.3, 10.1) and hardly utilized Miami center Joel Anthony (3.1, 4.2) are all receiving more votes than Hibbert who has the Pacers at third place in the East.
Like the American political system, I have a voice with my vote, so I’ve been campaigning for Hibbert to get a ticket to Orlando. You should too. Hibbert and the young Pacers team are the future of the East, with aging teams like the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics likely to lose their stars in a few years.
Where the Cavaliers Stack Up
Three Cavaliers players were selected to the ballot this season. Rookie guard Kyrie Irving and veterans Jamison and Anderson Varejao. Jamison is a two-time all-star while Varejao has yet to have been selected, but should be getting some consideration this year.
Like Hibbert, Varejao is an under-the-radar center in the NBA. That may be due to the fact that he isn’t a natural center, but he is listed as a center on the ballot. So far this season Varejao is fourth in the NBA in rebounding, bringing in 11.2 boards per game. Maybe a last second surge will send Varejao to his first All-Star game.
If the balloting ended today, Irving would be the only Cavalier to have a spot on the East roster, but it would be more likely that he would play in the annual Rookie Challenge. Irving is averaging 17.0 points and 5.1 assists on the season.
Irving, who is amongst the top guards through 11 games, should be higher than 9th guard on the roster. The way that writers are drooling over Irving right now would no doubt solidify Irving’s spot on the East squad if the decision were left up to journalists.