The Fault In Our All-Stars: How to fix the NBA’s exhibition game

In a couple of weeks, the world’s greatest pick-up game of the year will be played in Madison Square Garden.

The votes are in, and majority of the fans have selected the following starting five for both the East and West:

EAST

Backcourt: John Wall and Kyle Lowry
Frontcourt: Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol, and LeBron James

WEST

Backcourt: Kobe Bryant and Stephen Curry
Frontcourt: Marc Gasol, Blake Griffin, and Anthony Davis

Let’s start with the obvious: Kobe Bean Black Mamba Mr. 81 Bryant, on his 19th season, is starting for the West. I know deep in my purple and gold heart that the 2nd greatest shooting guard in the NBA does not deserve to be in the starting lineup, much less the NBA All-Star game itself. He is shooting 37% from the field, a paltry 30% from the three-point line, and his average of 22.3 points per game (despite being 10th best in the league) is his lowest since he was in his 3rd year with the Lakers. He knows a lot more players deserve the all-star nod more than him, a truth he could never handle. Unfortunately, Kobe’s latest setback of a torn rotator cuff on his right shoulder would hinder him from playing in his 18th All-Star game. It should open up a spot for a player who’s worthy to be in the game.

James Harden, who is entering in the NBA MVP discussion, should have been starting. Klay Thompson’s recent 52-point outburst was a reminder that he is best 2-way guard in the NBA, and people could make an argument that he should also be starting. Even Monta Ellis, who is having a rejuvenated career comeback with the Dallas Mavericks, is playing better than Bryant.

I’m still mad at Carmelo Anthony for choosing the Knicks over my Bulls. At the prime of his career, with his draft classmates LeBron, Dwyane and Chris getting their rings, I would’ve thought that ‘Melo would finally pick winning over money. I was so wrong. Now, he’s leading the Knicks to their worst record in many years, 8-37 (5-17 at home, 3-20 on the road). Despite his accomplishments in Syracuse, I would never commit the same mistake again of recognizing him as a winnner. A loser should never be part of the all-star game, no matter how great his stats are. ‘Melo doesn’t deserve that all-star nod, when you have Millsap, Horford, Bosh, and all other big men playing more efficiently than this ‘Melo.

As a Laker fan who was furious with the management for dangling Pau Gasol in his later years with the purple and yellow, I just can’t wait to tell them that “I told you so!” Pau Gasol has found the fountain of youth in my beloved Chicago, and has been playing the best center/power forward in the Eastern Conference.

Marc Gasol, on the other hand, was a controversial pick for me. I would’ve thought that the fans would like to have Demarcus Cousins (RUN DMC!) holding the 5 for the West, but as I’ve said earlier with Carmelo, winning is a major factor. Right now, Memphis looks great and ready for a deep playoff run. I can’t wait to see the Gasol brothers facing each other along with the best players in the world. I wonder who mama and papa Gasol are rooting for.

Lastly, this should be the last year that the fans would be able to vote for their favorite players in the All-Star game. I have one very reason why: China.

There are roughly 320 million people in the US.
There are also roughly 320 million basketball fans in China.

Remember when Yao Ming was a rookie in the NBA. Standing at 7’5″ with a decent skill set as a big man, Ming stole the starting center job from Shaq, and the Chinese people was the biggest reason.
Was Yao a better player than Shaq during that season? No way.
Was Yao a better center than Shaq during that season? No way.

And that is why fans should not be able to vote for the starters for each East and West teams. Let it be a showing of gratitude from the NBA to its people. But let not votes from one nation unfairly affect the whole glory of the weekend.

The game is for the fans, but not by the fans, but by the league.

So David, how are we going to select the all-stars now that we can’t do anything about it? Sincerely, fans.

Well, fans, lucky for you, I’ve thought of a very simple and fair way to select the next batch of all-stars to join the game.

PRESENTING………………….
THE DAVID’S RULE ON SELECTING ALL-STARS

A while ago, I’ve said that winning is a major factor on deciding the status of a player. Anyone who doesn’t agree with that is not a true basketball fan. Here’s how the league should decide which players would go to New York in the middle of February:

Each conference consists of 8 teams. By that point, every team has played at least 50 games. That amount of games is already a good indication if a certain team is a legit contender, on the playoff hunt, or tanking. For example, let’s take the current ranking of this season and assume that it’s almost the All-Star weekend:

EASTERN CONFERENCE
1. Atlanta
2. Washington
3. Toronto
4. Chicago
5. Cleveland
6. Milwaukee
7. Miami
8. Charlotte

WESTERN CONFERENCE
1. Golden State
2. Memphis
3. Portland
4. LA Clippers
5. Houston
6. Dallas
7. San Antonio
8. Phoenix
Sorry to burst your bubble, Durant and Westbrook, but we’ll only be getting our 24 all-stars from the teams included in the playoff picture above. (Nike is going to kick my a** for getting rid of their endorsers)

So how do we allocate the all-stars now?

I, for one, believe that the best team in each conference should get 3 all-stars, the 2nd and 3rd best would get 2 all-stars while the 4th to 8th would only get 1. Why is that? In the NBA, if you want to win, you need great players to do so. And great players who have helped their team to have a great seed at that point should play in the all-star game. If we implement the DROSAS system (again, David’s Rule On Selecting All-Stars), here are some notable players that will be missing out the exhibition game:

EAST WEST
Carmelo Anthony (NYK) Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook (OKC)
Greg Monroe (DET) Anthony Davis (NOP)
Andre Drummond (DET) Kobe Bryant (LAL)
Just about anyone in Philadelphia (Joke! Lol lol lol lol) Demarcus Cousins (SAC)
Ty Lawson (DEN – as if he had a chance in the guard heavy West conference)

Do note that that’s just for those who are part of the team not in the playoff picture. But how can I even have Durant or Westbrook on my list, when other players have played MORE and performed consistently when the team needed them?

We have not yet even started with the players who won’t be joining because of the limit to their team based on standings.

Now, applying the same system, we get a new set of surprising all-stars:

EAST (* denotes All-Star starter)
Atlanta – Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford*
Washington – John Wall*, and Marcin Gortat
Toronto – Kyle Lowry* and Demar DeRozan
Chicago – Pau Gasol *
Cleveland – LeBron James*
Milwaukee – Brandon Knight
Miami – Chris Bosh
Charlotte – Kemba Walker (Al Jefferson to replace him)
  • Atlanta deserves the recognition by sending 3 all-stars to New York, all of which have made great impact in the success of the Hawks this season.
  • John Wall will have Marcin Gortat, who has been playing under the radar all season. Bradley Beal missed a handful of games, making Gortat the better choice.
  • The inclusion of DeRozan with Lowry will be a controversial one, missing a lot of game time through an abdominal injury. Pre-injury though, DeRozan has been playing like he was the best SG in the EAST. Post-injury, he’s showing some signs again.
  • Pau Gasol is more valuable over Jimmy Butler, more logical choice.
  • LeBron James is a no-brainer, but Kevin Love and Irving won’t be part of it. Why? When LeBron was down, those two did nothing to restore balance to a drowning ship.
  • Brandon Knight is having a fantastic season under Jason Kidd.
  • Chris Bosh is showing signs of his value without LeBron and, sometimes, Dwyane Wade.
  • Kemba Walker is captain clutch, but Al Jefferson would be a great injury replacement now that he’ll miss 6 to 8 weeks restoring his meniscus.
WEST (denotes All-Star Starter)
Golden State – Stephen Curry*, Klay Thompson*, and Draymond Green
Memphis – Marc Gasol* and Mike Conley
Portland – LaMarcus Aldridge* and Damian Lillard
LA Clippers – Blake Griffin
Houston – James Harden*
Dallas – Monta Ellis
San Antonio – Tim Duncan
Phoenix – Eric Bledsoe
  • An argument could be made that with Andrew Bogut playing, Golden State has won 17 (!) straight. But Draymond’s value on the court shows that he’s having a break out season.
  • Mike Conley continues to be the most underrated player in the NBA.
  • Sorry Chris Paul, Blake Griffin has played fantastic this year than you.
  • Hard to decide which of the Mavs should join, but Monta Ellis consistently brings his A-game for Dallas.
  • With all the injuries that the Spurs are having this season, Tim Duncan’s consistency remains to be the key reason why they’re still in the Playoff hunt.
  • Don’t look now, but the Suns look to hold off OKC thanks to Eric Bledsoe.

Now look at those two teams, wouldn’t that be worth your money? You have the 24 players coming from the top 16 teams. Winning will always matter, no matter what other people say. The All-Star game should be a showcase of the best players in the NBA, who are part of the best teams. Yes, it’s tough to get rid of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and DeMarcus Cousins, but it’s an incentive for players like Eric Bledsoe and Monta Ellis, who have been healthy this season and are consistently raising their game for their respective wins.

You want to play in the greatest show of the year? Win.
You don’t have any teammates to help you get your spot? Play harder.

It’s time to change the All-Star game.
It’s time we recognize those who really are deserving to be part of it.
– David Gamboa

(image from: http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/files/2014/12/all-star-details-2.jpg)

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One thought on “The Fault In Our All-Stars: How to fix the NBA’s exhibition game

  1. Pingback: THE FAULT IN OUR ALL-STARS: How To Fix the NBA’S Exhibition Game (Pt. 2) | Fresh Off The Bench

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