Andrew Bogut has earned himself a debut All-Star appearance this season, it just comes down to politics as to whether or not he gets it. Leading the league in blocks and anchoring the Milwaukee Bucks defense is one thing, but doing so in a return from such a career-threatening injury is simply amazing. This should be recognized.
As nice as the Cinderella stories are, an NBA All-Star appearance is a great honor and shouldn't be given out to just anyone. (See: Mo' Williams).
There's such a rich history to this mid-season event with a "who's who" list of great players representing the NBA's Eastern and Western Conferences respectively. There are so many stories dating back over decades, that the player's given the chance to add to this storyline, need to have earned it.
Let's start with the players on the All-Star ballot at the center position. Actually, let's not as this fan ballot situation has got so out of hand that I actually expected to see Dikembe Mutombo and Rik Smits on this year's release.
Let us instead take a look at the already selected starting center, Dwight Howard.
The Orlando Magic big man is ranked fourth in the league in blocks, second overall in rebounds, fourth in field goal percentage, first amongst center's in steals and 14th overall in scoring. Yes, that is quite impressive and Dwight Howard is a more than worthy starting center for the Eastern Conference.
Now let's take a look (in no particular order) at the players in line for the reserve center position for the big game.
This guy was last year's "Bogut abuser" in the only category of which the Aussie got abused, All-Star selection. If Atlanta can somehow produce an All-Star with their current season form, I may have to lock myself out of the league next season. While Horford is a good player, he is a power forward playing center, and that makes it wrong.
Don't even start me on the Western Conference ballot where Pau Gasol and Tim Duncan are listed as power forwards. All in all, Horford is a good player, but he got his lotto ticket last year.
2011 Stats: 16.2 ppg, 9.8 rpg and 1.1 bpg in 34.9 minutes per night.
If this team can sport a 14-34 record, (26-104 if you include last season, of which Lopez played all 82 games) and still produce an All-Star, then I think LeBron has a chance of running for the Mayor of Cleveland in 2013.
Lopez has actually declined in production this year in a seemingly 100 percent increased winning system. I'm actually not even sure if that last sentence makes sense, but you get my point.
2011 Stats: 19.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg and 1.5 bpg in 34.1 minutes per night.
Being the most talented Italian on the Raptors roster, Andrea is having a good season. He is averaging 21.4 points per game which is good for second among centers. Being more of a finesse player, averaging so little rebounds will not serve him well.
His "Craptors" are also currently riding an 11-game losing streak, which is not quite All-Star greatness.
2011 Stats: 21.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg and 0.9 bpg in 35 minutes per night.
Injury has written off Noah's chances this season, but predictably that didn't stop him from appearing on the ballot. No surprises there.
I personally believe that Roy Hibbert will make more than five All-Star appearances in his career. I liken him to Andrew Bynum, but with more upside.
2011 Stats: 12.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg and 1.9 bpg in 27 minutes per night.
I love Shaq as much as the next guy, but the All-Star Game is simply not a place Shaq needs to be unless he's watching the dunk contest with a handycam. Shaq is older, slower and, while still a great role player, just doesn't belong on the court at this year's All-Star Game.
2011 stats: 9.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 1.1 bpg in 21.1 minutes per night.
So with all of that in mind, let's cast our eyes on the big Aussie as I dare you to argue why he shouldn't be at the Staples Center on Feb. 20.
Having been completely robbed by David Stern last February, basically putting his arm through a meat-grinder and now dealing with arguably the most horrific first half schedule the NBA could throw at him, Andrew Bogut has excelled in everything but free throw shooting this season. Some say the charity stripe is important, but let's not forget Shaquille O'Neal is a 15-time All-Star also.
Andrew is currently leading the league in blocks, is the sixth ranked center for points per game, is tied with Noah for second place in rebounding and is probably the only constant performer in Milwaukee this season.
I understand the Bucks are sporting a less than sexy 19-26 record right now, but hey, that's good enough for ninth in the "Leastern" Conference and places them only half a game out of eighth place.
With everything Andrew Bogut has gone through over the past 12 months after getting "shafted" a first time, surely David Stern, the coaches, the media or anyone else for that matter wouldn't want to see it happen to him again.
Bogut's 2011 Stats: 13.3 ppg, 11.7 rpg and 2.8 bpg in 35.8 minutes per night.
Andrew Bogut. Staples Center. All-Star. That is all.
Thanks for reading.