Jeremy Lin, Marc Gasol, AndThose Who Don't Belong on the 2012 NBA All-Star Team
The NBA All-Star Game is possibly the biggest event in the world of professional basketball.
Each year, the world's best basketball players gather to celebrate their success and display their skills.
Everyone on the All-Star team belongs among the elites, but some are indeed better than others.
This year's teams include some questionable decisions.
That's not to say these players aren't good, but the fact is there are more deserving ones who should have been on the team.
Deng is a very versatile and complete player.
He is arguably the second best player on a surging Chicago Bulls outfit. However, despite his success, he doesn't belong on this year's All-Star Team.
The Bulls' offense centers around Derrick Rose, and their defense is anchored by Joakim Noah. Deng does a little bit of everything, but nothing particularly well, as evidenced by his stats.
He made it onto the All-Star Team partly because the East lacks good, small forwards.
But with all due respect to Deng, his spot should've gone to Ryan Anderson.
Carmelo is having a bad year by his standards.
Firstly, he was shooting badly—then secondly, the injuries.
And recently, he has been overshadowed by some guy in an armor called Linsanity.
But all this shouldn't take away the fact that he is still decently productive.
The argument isn't whether or not Melo should be an All-Star: There's no doubt that he should.
The real question is whether he should be a starter.
And the answer is yes.
If the East has a better small forward not named Lebron James, then Melo shouldn't start.
But there isn't.
So Melo gets the start, end of story.
Roy Hibbert has improved dramatically over the past two years.
He is now considered as a legitimate top 10 center. But All-Star? Perhaps not.
Hibbert's stats are good, but not as good as Greg Monroe—or even Carlos Boozer.
Hibbert's value was inflated by the Pacers' surprising early season success.
Greg Monroe's brilliance, on the other hand, was overshadowed by the Pistons' failures.
Hibbert doesn't necessarily deserve this All-Star selection, but he will have plenty more All-Star games to come if he keeps improving.
It must be really awkward in the Hawks locker room.
The one who should be an All-Star will be watching his non-All-Star caliber teammate play in the All-Star game.
Yes, I am talking about Josh Smith and Joe Johnson.
No one knows why Josh Smith was never an All-Star: He has deserved a spot on it for the past five seasons.
It's also baffling how Joe Johnson made so many All-Star appearances.
There's no doubt he is good, but is he really better than Andre Iguodala in the past few years? Strong arguments can be made on both sides.
Johnson is clearly in decline, and this might be his last trip to an All-Star game.
Iggy belongs on the All-Star team—no one argues that.
But what's really weird is the fact that he made the All-Star team during one of his worst statistical seasons.
He played better in almost every category in the past five seasons, but was never selected as an All-Star —until now.
He is on the All-Star team for two reasons.
Firstly, the 76ers are doing great, and he is the heart and soul of that team.
Secondly, he has very high entertainment value:I won't be surprised to see all his points during the All-Star game come from dunks.
What's better at drawing audiences besides thunderous jams?
Marc edged out his brother Pau for a spot on the All-Star team this year.
And truth be told, he is playing better than him.
But is he really the second best center in the West?
There are at least two other players who are equally as good, if not better, than Gasol: DeMarcus Cousins and Marcin Gortat.
Luckily for Marc, while those two guys are pretty good, there are other factors keeping them out of Orlando.
The Suns are not doing well, and it doesn't make sense to have both Steve Nash and Gortat representing a struggling Phoenix team.
Records matter when it comes to All-Star selection. As for Cousins, he will never make an All-Star team if he doesn't change his attitude.
Even if he's good, David Stern will keep him out along with the negative influences he brings with him everywhere he goes.
But I honestly thought Tim Duncan would get a Life-Time Achievement All-Star selection.
It's strange to hear people criticizing Nash's All-Star selection.
People wonder if he should be replaced by Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, or Ty Lawson.
The answer is no, no, and no.
Nash is 38 and leading the league in assists. He shoots over 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the three.
Not many players can do that even in their prime.
I know you've probably heard this a million times but I am going to say it again: Nash is like a fine wine—he gets better with age.
So enjoy and appreciate Nash's play while you still can.
Even Dirk admitted he doesn't belong on the All-Star team this year, but that was before he decided to go crazy and save the Dallas Mavericks single-handedly.
But Dirk really does belong in Orlando playing among the NBA's best.
Although both Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson are having All-Star caliber seasons, Dirk gets the nod due to his previous achievements and the Mavericks' record.
The West has some talented and productive bigs, such as Andrew Bynum and LaMarcus Aldridge—both All-Stars this year.
So sorry to Millsap and Jefferson—they will have to wait.
Lin gets so much buzz these days that a lot of people are suggesting to put him on the All-Star team.
From a completely objective view, he should not be an All-Star.
Lin making the All-Star team is like Tim Tebow making the Pro-Bowl. If they do it, it's because of their influence and fan base, rather than actual skill.
Don't get me wrong, Lin is a promising player and an inspiration to all.
But although he had an All-Star caliber stretch of eight games, he is not having an All-Star caliber season.
Besides, who would you drop from the team to make room for Lin?
Deron Williams? Paul Pierce? Certainly not Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade.
I fully believe that Lin is not a one-hit-wonder.
So maybe next year.
Replacements That Make Sense
Paul Pierce replaced by Josh Smith
Pierce is doing well, but not better than Josh Smith.
Luol Deng replaced by Ryan Anderson
Strong arguments can be made to favor either player.
Joe Johnson replaced by Rajon Rondo
Rondo deserves it a lot more than Johnson does.
Roy Hibbert replaced by Greg Monroe
Monroe is the victim of bad team play, while Hibbert is the beneficiary of a good record.
Marc Gasol replaced by Tim Duncan
Gasol is indeed playing better, but who knows if we will see Duncan again after this season.