I know...and so do you, that the All-Star game and its voting process is an absolute joke. Prime example? Yao Ming was supposed to be the starting center for the West, and he's out for the year. Allen Iverson was voted in the year he played for Detroit. I could go on and on, and I imagine many of you can go on about it as well.
This slide show is going to be a little bit more than just what the title indicates. First of all, I am going to name 10 players in each conference who should be going to the All-Star game in February. It will be two players for each position, so cut me some slack if someone is left out as I know more than 10 players go to the All-Star game. This will be for the 20 players who deserve to go the most and should be guaranteed a spot.
I will then proceed to match up each player position by position (West Starters vs. East Starters and West Back Ups vs. East Back Ups), write who wins the matchup, who the coaches selected for each team and predict which team wins the game in the final slide.
Hope you all enjoy the show and please feel free to comment and share your opinion. But I also ask that you all keep things civil with each other, even if you are not civil with me, I can take it LOL.
Yes, there are players who will get snubbed this year and the years beyond. So while they did not make the cut for the top 20, they could be still be all stars this year because thankfully, not all the players are voted in by the fans.
East: Andrew Bogut, Carlos Boozer, & Jameer Nelson
West: Monte Ellis, Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler, Blake Griffin, & Steve Nash
The east side feels more complete than the West but that is not to say Nelson, Boozer, and Bogut have not had solid seasons. They have been major contributors on their squads. They may not be traditional super popular all stars (Maybe Boozer) but contribute constantly as such.
For the west, it was certainly difficult to leave out Dirk, but the fact that he has been injured and the my feeling that he is overrated made me want to put him as voted in by the coaches because he at least deserves that much. He is still not more important than a couple of other PF's in my personal opinion, so there was no way I could put Dirk ahead. Chandler, Dirk's teammate, has had a good season himself, but he is too limited as a player and could not put him on this list. Monte has been tremendous all season and is an elite scorer, but he does not do for his team what he should be doing. The Warriors stink, period. Steve Nash probably hurts the most, but it is truly difficult to argue against the other two who made the list for the west. It still does not mean that any team or fan should not be glad for Nash making the team or if Nash was actually on their personal favorite team. As for the "rookie" Blake Griffin, he is going to be a superstar, but he still needs to develop and show he can make the clippers a playoff team, but if he made the all star team, it would be mostly because of his awesome dunks.
East: Rajon Rondo
West: Deron Williams
This whole slide show features just utter talent. Rondo and Williams bring major talent. While some argue Deron Williams is the best PG in the game today, Rondo might be right there with him. Rondo is averaging nearly 14 APG this year, which is crazy impressive even in today's league. Sure, he plays with a bunch of old guys, but those old guys are still stars in this league and rightfully so. Rondo's biggest flaw still comes on the offensive side of the ball though, which is his shooting.
He has been improving, but he is still no where near Deron Williams in offensive skill set. While Rondo may be a shade ahead of Deron in the passing department, Deron is a bit more complete and has the size and strength advantage.
Winner: Deron WIlliams
East: Derrick Rose
West: Chris Paul
When I ranked the top 25 players in the league a few months back, I mentioned Chris Paul could sneak the Hornets into the playoffs this year. Well, that seems to be within reach so far this year. Why? Because he is simply that good, and in my opinion, the best PG in the league today.
This is not to take anything away from Derrick Rose of course, who in his own right, possesses elite athleticism and speed. Rose has improved his game every year and is currently having his best year to many. His end-to-end speed can be rivaled only by a handful of players, and while his game still needs polishing, there are some parts of his game that can't be coached and are a product of pure talent.
Yet, Paul is the best passer in the league along with Steve Nash, which could work in favor of the west. Right now, Rose may be more of a scoring PG than one who looks to distribute first, and while that may not be such a bad thing in the All-Star game, Paul can also score pretty well.
Winner: Chris Paul
East: Ray Allen
West: Manu Ginobili
Some may want to put Joe Johnson for the east or even Stephen Jackson, but I can't leave Ray Allen out of the All-Star game this year. While his numbers have dipped in recent seasons, his play barely has. He is still nailing shots from all angles and distances. He may very well go down as the greatest shooter of all time, and that is saying a lot when guys like Reggie Miller, Larry Bird and Steve Kerr have shot a basketball as well. In my opinion, take away Ray Allen, and you take away more than one-third of Boston's offense. Without Allen's shooting and smart help defense, the Celtics are not the same team. He deserves a spot in the All-Star game, and it would not be right if he is not in as a backup.
Now Manu Ginobili is a guy who may be having his best season yet. It's funny how, at age 32, people begin to say a player is on his way down, yet several players have their best seasons at this age. Manu is currently the engine that runs the Spurs resurgence into true title contention. He is clutch, can defend, slash and shoot long range. This would be one heck of a matchup to watch—Manu chase Allen, and Allen trying to launch threes against him. It would be close but...
Winner: Manu Ginobili
East: Dwyane Wade
West: Kobe Bryant
Probably the easiest selections of the whole thing. What can be said about these two super-talented stars? Probably nothing anyone hasn't heard before. The arguments about which one is better will remain for as long as there is life on earth. Kobe is as mechanically sound as they come. Dwyane Wade is a natural freak of an athlete. They both do great things, and they both can do anything, even if they are not great at it. Still, they are great at almost everything basketball.
While there is certainly no real right and wrong with any selection, I honestly feel both these players can declare not only that he is the best SG in the game, but best player in the game, and no one should really think either is on crack. Both players can carry a team through any game. Also both of them are probably the most cold-blooded players in the league today—probably since Michael Jordan. No one wants to upset these two during a game, as their take over ability is scary if you're the opponent.
After all that though, I feel Wade is the better player right now, and fans and the media should give him his due while strongly considering putting him in the MVP discussion this season.
Winner: Dwyane Wade
East: Paul Pierce
West: Carmelo Anthony
In the last slide, I wrote of cold-blooded players. Yeah, well Paul Pierce is just as cold blooded, so my apologies Mr. Pierce, you are indeed "The Truth." But there is another truth, and that truth is Carmelo Anthony is a better player than you. This is not to take anything away from Pierce, as he can be just as valuable to a team as Melo in the final few minutes of a game. Still, Melo is a franchise player, and there is a reason why the Nets are willing to give up anything and everything to bring him to New Jersey.
While Melo is looking more selfish than LeBron ever did, no one can deny his talent. He just may be the most complete offensive player in the league today because when you look at his game, he can do it all offensively. Pierce may be just a tad more clutch and a better defender, but Melo is nearly unguardable.
Winner: Carmelo Anthony
East: LeBron James
West: Kevin Durant
Some may not agree with Durant going ahead of Melo as a starter, but Durant has something Melo does not. Durant has humility and heart, and those two qualities can help players get very far. Not to mention Durant may be just as good as Melo on the offensive side of the ball. Kevin Durant's team is a better team than Anthony's team, and Durant is leading the league in scoring while at it. He may finish as the leading scorer for the second year in a row, and he is 22-years-old. Durant is a solid athlete, a great shooter and has insane length which earned him the nick name "Durantula."
As for LeBron James, through the month of December, it could be said he has not played better in his entire career. James is currently dominating the league as an individual and as a teammate as Miami keeps on winning. Again, there is no right and wrong when it comes to these things, but I feel LeBron James is the best player on the planet hands down.
Winner: LeBron James
East: Chris Bosh
West: Tim Duncan
These may be my most controversial picks of my entire slide show, but this is me just giving credit where credit is due. Tim Duncan does not put up the numbers we are used to seeing from him anymore. A lot of it has to do with the way Pop has managed his minutes, but certainly, age has to do with it as well.
While the Spurs are a heck of a team, Duncan is still the anchor to that squad, and without him, the Spurs are no title contenders. Duncan is still the most fundamentally skilled player in the game today, only ahead of Kobe Bryant. He still rebounds like a beast and can have scoring outbursts when he wants to. Not only that, he is a smart player, he knows how to rotate, how to defend one-on-one, when to pass and when to take advantage of the oppositions slip ups. No, a lot of his game is not pretty or flashy, but he has four titles for a reason.
All the meanwhile, Chris Bosh somehow has managed to get himself ignored. Well, that could happen when your playing next to LeBron and Wade, but still, we are talking about player who teams all over the league wanted in free agency. While his numbers are down from last season, Chris Bosh has been ridiculously consistent all year. He arguably has the best mid-range jumper of any PF in the league right now.
He has also improved drastically on the defensive side of the ball, while being the favorite guy of both Wade and LeBron to pass to. Bosh has simply been that reliable; he is just as much a part of the Heat's run as James and Wade. If he does not go to the All-Star game, it would truly be a shame. Now when it comes to Duncan against Bosh, it's honestly too close to call...but I will anyway.
Winner: Chris Bosh
East: Kevin Garnett
West: Pau Gasol
Other players may be getting all the attention right now, but Pau Gasol is still having a heck of a season, and has played a huge part in the Laker's revival after that skid they had earlier in the season. The best power forward in the game may be the hardest one for people to agree on today, but Pau Gasol has my vote right now, and it's hard to not at least give him strong consideration with two championships and a finals MVP he should have maybe shared with Kobe last year.
Meanwhile, KG is back to being a defensive terror again. He is also shooting the ball very well, and looking a lot more loose this year than last year. The Celtics are full of stars, but Garnett is the true anchor to that team, he is the emotional leader of that squad, and the team feeds off of his energy. So while I consider Gasol the best PF in the game overall today, KG is on a high right now and will compete tough with anyone anyway.
Winner: Pau Gasol
East: Amar'e Stoudemire
West: Marc Gasol
Yes, Amar'e is actually a PF, but he has been the starting center on the Knicks! This is not only true, but even better because it helps avoid another snub. I also realize that Gasol has started a lot at center this year, and Duncan plays plenty of center as well, but just work with me here. There is a reason why people want Amar'e to be strongly considered for MVP this season. He has made New York a fun team to watch again, and his spectacular play has a lot to do with it.
Some did not believe Felton could even come close to helping Amar'e out as Nash did, and while I'm not saying Felton is Nash, he has been a big help. Never the less, Amar'e is still a monster in one-on-one situations, and more important than making the Knicks fun again, is making them competitive again. They have a winning record and are beating good teams in the process. Amar'e deserves any award he gets right now.
Marc Gasol, an all star? I know that people might not see it, but first off, we know there is not much in the center department in the west. Bynum is there, but he is just now getting healthy. Kaman has been injured and not playing well anyway. Gasol has been having a solid season, and he is a big reason why Memphis is a tough team to beat. Also, it would not be right to ignore his numbers, which are pretty good. So while this may not be much of a contest, Marc Gasol is still at the very least a solid candidate for backup center in the west this year.
Winner: Amar'e Stoudemire
East: Dwight Howard
West: Emeka Okafor
So the east was obvious. Dwight Howard is the best center in the league by far; it's not even close, and I think most of us can agree on that. Emeka Okafor though? This may be more shocking than Marc Gasol. Now I know what some of you may be thinking, it was possible to put Odom as a backup PF and Gasol as a west center, but honestly, I felt I was adjusting too much, and it would be taking away from Okafor who is averaging a double-double as I write.
Okafor has had a tremendous season thus far and has helped Paul and the Hornets get back to being a team to reckon with. Plus, wouldn't it be fun to see the former No. 1 and No. 2 picks respectively go at it as starters in the All-Star game after all of this time? I think it would be fun, and I also think it would be appropriate. Dwight Howard is still the best though...so yeah...
Winner: Dwight Howard
East: Erik Spoelstra
West: Greg Popovich
While this does not mean much, it is still something that is usually given to two deserving coaches. While the selection may not be set in stone yet, I have a feeling these will be the coaches when the ball is tipped. There will not be much actual coaching in this game, but I'll play along and say at this point in time, no one is better than Pop.
Winner: Greg Popovich
Who wins the 2011 All Star game?
Well...you have to take into account the coaches, game planning, overall defense, overall basketball IQ, overall talent, etc.
So who wins? The east? The west?
No, no, I'm sorry, the correct answer is who gives a %$#@...same goes for the game MVP.