By Jordan Underwood
Well it’s that time if year again when the exuberant fans of the NBA get to express who they want to see represent their conference.
I am of course talking about the All-Star game in Los Angeles, California.
With the starters being announced on January 27th and the reserves to follow later, it is apparent that the fans know what they are doing in some regards, but they mostly fail in the grand scheme of voting for all-stars. Now I am not saying that the fans should not have a say in who gets to go to the all-star game every year, however, I believe that we have given way too much power to the fans to decide and have just accepted their choices as what the people really want.
With that being said, the starters for each conference’s team are as follows: Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Yao Ming for the Western Conference and DeWayne Wade, Derrick Rose, Lebron James, Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudemire for the Eastern Conference.
So let us begin analyzing the Western Conference starters. I can live with the fact that Kobe, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant are in the starting lineup because over the first half of the season, they have close to, if not the best at their position. Carmelo Anthony is playing fairly well this year (besides dragging the Nuggets and all of their fans through a roller coaster ride dubbed MeloDrama), however, I feel that there are a few other players who should be in the forward spot beside Kevin Durant.
First and foremost is Dirk Nowitzki. Before his injury, Nowitzki was putting up numbers better than what he did in his 2007 MVP campaign. As of right now, he is averaging 23.1 points per game (a little down from last year but remember the injury), 6.8 rebounds per game, and 2.5 assists per game while upping his field goal percentage to 52.2% and three-point percentage to 40%.
The next worthy candidate for this spot is Pau Gasol. He is averaging a double double with 18.1 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game while shooting 51.5% from the field. Pau was a staple in the Lakers second consecutive championship and he carried that momentum into this season where he is clearly a focal point to the Laker’s offense.
Well that brings us to the worst pick in this year’s all-star game, Yao Ming. His stat line is . . .oh wait it is a meaningless 10 points and 5 rebounds per game because he has only played in five games all season due to injury!! I do not know how the fans could have screwed this one up as badly as they did but here we are and now it will be the coaches’ decision to choose a starting center.
The best possible choices as I see it right now would have to be Kevin Love, Emeka Okefor, or Tyson Chandler with some other possibilities, but no clear cut winner.
With the West complete, let’s move to the East.
In retrospect, the fans got a majority of these picks right. They all deserve to be starters and the controversial picks of Amare over Kevin Garnett and Derrick Rose, who should be high up in the MVP voting later on in the season, over Rajon Rando were excellent choices in my mind.
Overall, good job on the eastern conference, fans.
With my piece being said I must make note of how I think changes should be made (be they right or wrong). I believe that the fans voting is a crucial part to the NBA All-Star game, however, with the constant mishaps in their voting, I feel there is a better way to use fan voting.
The votes should count, but to a lesser extent. That way the fans get to see who they want to see and the players that deserve to be there are there and noone makes it based solely on popularity (yes, I am looking in your direction Allen Iverson). Would a change come quickly? I do not think so, however, it is clear that something needs to be done, whether that is minor or major, in order to fix the process.
All stats via various team websites and NBA.com