A Weekend of Exclusion – The 2009 All-Star Festivities
We NBA fans have spoken and this year, we want Allen Iverson starting in the 2009 All-Star game instead of Joe Johnson, Devin Harris, or Vince Carter. Becoming a starter in the All-Star game is an honor that players get based on fan preference, not on their performance in that season. It’s all about who we like. Let the pro’s turn this into a meritocracy when they sort out who the 14 reserves will be (two guards, two forwards, one center, and two other players from any position for each conference). Let me tell you who they should pick:
Deron Williams: 17ppg, 3rp, 10apg
Brandon Roy: 22ppg, 5apg, 5rpg
Tony Parker: 20ppg, 7apg, .498fg%
Dirk Nowitzki: 26ppg, 9rpg, 3apg
Carmelo Anthony: 21ppg, 7rpg, 4apg
Zack Randolph: 22ppg, 11rpg, 2apg
Al Jefferson: 22ppg, 11rpg, 2bpg
Joe Johnson: 22ppg, 5rpg, 6apg.
Devin Harris: 22ppg, 3rpg, 6apg.
Vince Carter: 22ppg, 5rpg, 5apg
Danny Granger: 26ppg, 5rpg, 3apg.
Chris Bosh: 23ppg, 10rpg, 3apg
Andre Iguodala: 17ppg, 6rpg, 5apg
Emeka Okafor: 14ppg, 11rpg, 2bpg
The 2009 All-Star festivities are going to be all about exclusion. It begins with this list of players. All-Star perennials, superstars like Shaquille O’Neal, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Steve Nash, might settle for courtside seats or a small vacation come February. And O’Neal—a player who takes scheduled days off—might opt out of an All-Star selection even if he is chosen, leaving space for a player like Pau Gasol to get his second All-Star bid or Al Jefferson to get his first. No one would mind, though—not to say that Shaq hasn’t had a great year. But let’s face it: we don’t care if he plays in the All-Star game or not, we just want to see his reactions during the dunk contest.
In addition to O’Neal, Allen, Pierce, and Nash, fans might feel as if other players are not receiving their due. David West, at 20 points and 7 rebounds per night, might deserve more recognition in the west. Kevin Durant, Chauncey Billups, and Kevin Martin might deserve some All-Star minutes too. But, who should I take off the roster for them to get their glory?
Selections of Al Jefferson, Zack Randolph, and Emeka Okafor would be three surprise choices for the 2009 All-Star game. Al Jefferson is one of the seven players in the NBA averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. He is earning the right to this selection over Shaq. Zack Randolph is in that class of seven and earning this spot over David West. Meanwhile, Okafor is outperforming other Eastern conference centers like Rasheed Wallace and Kendrick Perkins. If anything, David Lee should get the nod over Okafor. At 16 points and 11 rebounds per game, the 6-9 power forward is deserving of the opportunity and sometimes plays center for the Knicks.
Games to Watch
San Antonio v. L. A. Lakers (Sunday, January 25th at 3:30pm)—This game will be a showdown of the two top teams out west. Both units have unstoppable players—no one can stay in from of Kobe Bryant or Tony Parker. This game will come down to which team takes more shots. The team that rebounds and doesn’t turn the ball over will get the win.
Denver v. New Orleans (Wednesday, January 28th at 8pm)—Both New Orleans and Denver play hard night after night to become one of the top teams in the west. They will both want this game. The Chris Paul/ Chauncey Billups match-up will be a showcase of two floor generals going at it.