Wait, they picked who?
We get it; the NBA All-Star game isn't always about picking the best players. We've written about it twice this last week (Patrick's article and Dre' Article if you want to review) However, DeMarcus Cousins made a great point recently, the fans seem to have a bias to arguably the most talented players in the game. We're, of course, talking about big men. DeMarcus Cousins is right! Well, he's half-right, which we'll get to in a second. To prove DeMarcus' point, I'll be using my fake "Emperor of the NBA" magic wand. Here's who I would have selected. And yes, more than a couple of bigs make the cut!
Please note, these picks are subjective in that I'm not going strictly by either per minute or total production, it's more of a hybrid approach. I'm not trying to win the game or entertain the fans, just reward the players that had the best win producing bodies of work in the first half of the 2015-016 NBA season. All right, here's my revised All-Star game roster.
|Starter||Kyle Lowry||Stephen Curry|
|Starter||Jimmy Butler||Russell Westbrook|
|Starter||Tristan Thompson ?||DeAndre Jordan ?|
|Starter||Hassan Whiteside ?||Kawhi Leonard|
|Starter||LeBron James||Kevin Durant|
|Reserve||Jae Crowder ?||James Harden|
|Reserve||Jose Calderon ?||Chris Paul|
|Reserve||Aaron Gordon ?||Draymond Green|
|Reserve||Kemba Walker ?||Ricky Rubio ?|
|Reserve||Kevin Love ?||Andre Iguodala ?|
|Reserve||Andre Drummond||Ed Davis ?|
|Reserve||Paul Millsap||Rajon Rondo ?|
|Removed||Carmelo Anthony ?||Kobe Bryant ?|
|Removed||Paul George ?||Klay Thompson ?|
|Removed||Dwyane Wade ?||LaMarcus Aldridge ?|
|Removed||Chris Bosh ?||DeMarcus Cousins ?|
|Removed||John Wall ?||Anthony Davis ?|
|Removed||Isaiah Thomas ?|
|Removed||DeMar DeRozan ?|
The West fans and coaches did a better job overall of awarding the spots than the East did, I kicked seven East players off of the team, but only five West players. Curry, Westbrook, Leonard, and Durant are all top five win producers this season, and the fans rightfully voted them in. DeAndre Jordan rounds out the last of those top five players, he is the top per-minute and total win producing big man in the NBA and is having another MVP-caliber season. The coaches didn't even vote him in as a reserve; he is my top snub this season.
So why is Cousins only half right? Even though some great big men got left off the team, DeMarcus himself does not belong on it. He said that his play "speaks for itself”, and he's been playing out of his mind lately, but his entire first-half body of work does not justify a spot on the West team. He's a great rebounder and defender, but he had too many missed shots, turnovers, and fouls to be considered an elite big man. Additionally, while the West's top big men are excellent, there isn't the same depth of quality big man resumes that there has been in recent years. Gobert, Bogut, and Bass have all played very well but have missed too many games due to injury to make the cut. Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis have also missed games and haven't played as well as in past seasons. Howard also isn't as young as he used to be and Kevin Love took his talents to the Cleve.
West roster notes:
East roster notes:
Overall, a lot of mediocre players on good teams got credit for their team's success in the eyes of the coaches and fans, while their more productive teammates flew under the radar.
Who did I get right, and who did I get wrong? Duty Calls!