There has been a long-running debate over how players should be picked to participate in the NBA All-Star Game. Some argue that the game is for the fans, so they should be allowed to vote in their choices of whom they want to see in the midseason classic. There are some who believe that this task should be left up to the covering media and the league’s coaches who, in theory, are more attentive and educated on the various nuances of the game. As it stands now, there is a bit of a compromise. The fans’ votes determine who will start the game and the coaches pick the reserves. The media picks the season-ending All-NBA teams, which is arguably a more prestigious honor.
The reason that this is such a hot topic is because of the way it’s set up. The All-Star ballots are released very early in the season, before anyone really has a chance to prove whether they deserve a spot in the game or not, and fans are encouraged to vote as much as they can. You can vote from a computer on NBA.com once a day, or you can attend a game at one of the league’s twenty-nine arenas and do as much ballot box stuffing as you please. The results are bloated numbers and biased picks, rather than fair impartiality. Depending on who you are, this is either the way things should be or it’s a shame that the system isn’t better. Rather than support one side or another, which is a debate that no one wins, I’ll just tell you who should start based on their play this season.
Allen Iverson – Carries the Sixers on his back every night. Also in the top 10 in scoring, assists, steals and minutes.
Chauncey Billups – Had the Pistons on record breaking pace until this week. Still leading the team that many predict will win the chip and taking control in the fourth quarter of close games.
LeBron James – If you round his numbers up, he’s averaging 31, 7 and 7. And he’s 21.
Jermaine O’Neal– Tough pick over Chris Bosh, but he tore his groin muscle. He deserves it, if only because of that.
Shaquille O’Neal – This is more a testament to the weakness of the center position in the Eastern Conference than it is an indication of Big’s play this year.
Honorable Mention: Chris Bosh, Michael Redd, Dwyane Wade
Kobe Bryant – Duh.
Steve Nash– Has the Suns third in the West, minus Amare Stoudemire. And so many of you thought his MVP last year was undeserved. Not that this will change your minds, but still.
Elton Brand – Leading reason the Clippers have returned to respectability. Also a product of me deciding that Timmy should be a center.
Dirk Nowitzki – Mavericks currently in first out West, unbeknownst to many. 25 and 9 doesn’t hurt either.
Tim Duncan – I like Yao Ming, but he’s missed too many games for me to seriously consider him worthy of a starting spot. Ditto Marcus Camby.
Honorable Mention: Marcus Camby, Pau Gasol, Chris Paul, Shawn Marion, Carmelo Anthony