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The NBA All-Star Game is supposed to be all about the fans, which is why they are allowed to vote in the starters. Unfortunately, too many fans are living in the past (or in China) and have no idea what they really want to see.
That being the case, there are likely to be some surprises and some sentimental picks based on years-old reputations when the results of fan voting are announced Thursday during TNT’s doubleheader.
How else can you explain Tracy McGrady (China influence), Kevin Garnett (past reputation) and Allen Iverson (sentimental pick) being possible starters in the midseason showcase. All three were in position to start when the last batch of fan votes was released on Jan. 7.
But fans are fans and they don’t know any better (except in Oakland, where the fans continue to impress me with their depth of knowledge, attention to detail and thirst for statistical analysis). NBA writers for aerochug.com, however, are supposed to be smarter than this.
aerochug.com writers who cover the NBA were asked to submit who they thought should be starting the All-Star Game on Feb. 14. The picks were compiled and the results are detailed below and in a column by Brian Hubbard, who pointed out that McGrady has played played fewer minutes this season than Monta Ellis has played in 15 different games after Wednesday night’s 53-minute overtime outing against the Nuggets.
For the most part, they got it right — with a couple of exceptions.
1. Steve Nash was named the second starting guard in the West. That’s better than McGrady, but it’s still not completely right. The best choice to run the West squad is not Nash, but rather Chris Paul, who averages more points, assists, rebounds and steals than Nash. He started slow and missed a few games with an injury but now has the Hornets back over .500 and only two games behind the Suns in the Western Conference standings. Paul is the clear choice here.
2. Amare Stoudemire was selected as the starting center in the West. Now, having watched the center-less Warriors all season, you would think I would agree with starting a natural forward here. But this is the All-Star Game and a center should start at center. And the best actual center in the West is the Clippers’ Chris Kaman. I’ll give my fellow aerochug.com writers a break, though, because Kaman’s not on the official ballot. Still, think outside the box, boys.
3. In the East, Rajon Rondo was selected as a starting guard next to Dwyane Wade. Rondo is nice and drives the team with the second-best record in the East, but he’s the fourth-best player on his own team and averages less than 14 points per game. Yes, he leads the league in steals and averages 9.7 assists (giving the ball to the likes of Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen helps) but he only averages 13.8 points. There are a slew of rookie point guards doing better than that this year. While it’s admittedly close, the real pick here is Joe Johnson of the Hawks, who averages 21.3 points, 4.8 assists and 4.9 rebounds. He’s the second-best player on the conference’s third-best team and deserves to be a starter (which means Wade will run the point).
So here’s what the real starting teams should look like:
West: Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Chris Kaman.
East: Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard.
At least the other Examiners agreed with me and went against the fans in selecting Durant and Bosh as starters.
Give me the one and only vote and I’ll be sure to give the fans the game they really want to see.
Tomorrow: Who I think should fill out the All-Star rosters (not to give it away, but Ellis supporters just hold off your criticism for a day).
Eastern Conference Starters
Western Conference Starters
Los Angeles Lakers
Oklahoma City Thunder
Eastern Conference Voting Results
Dwayne Wade – 15*
LeBron James – 15*
Dwight Howard – 15*
Rajon Rondo – 7
Chris Bosh – 15*
Joe Johnson – 6
Danny Granger -1
Paul Piece -1
Western Conference Voting Results
Kobe Bryant – 15*
Carmelo Anthony – 11
Amar’e Stoudemire – 9
Steve Nash – 8
Kevin Durant – 11
Chris Kaman – 4
Chris Paul – 4
Dirk Nowitzki – 8
Andrew Bynum -1
Brandon Roy – 1
Tim Duncan – 2
Deron Williams -1
Sherron Shabazz – NBA
Scott Levin – Sacramento Kings
Jesse “Max” Price – Portland Trail Blazers
Chris Cason – Chicago Bulls
Andrew Tobolowsky – Dallas Mavericks
Gregory Hrinya – New Jersey Nets
Ben Fisher – Toronto Raptors
Shlomo Sprung – New Jersey Nets
Ryan Ward – Kobe Bryant
George Panagakos – Washington Wizards
Kenny Samsel – Orlando Magic
Mike Massa – Golden State Warriors
Brian Hubbard – NBA
Andy Jasner – Philadelphia 76ers
Randy Renner – Oklahoma City Thunder
Also: Who would win Warriors’ slam dunk contest?
Numbers add up to Ellis as All-Star