All-star Selection: Cream of the Crop or Popularity Contest?
Posted by admin on January 11, 2008
One of my favorite times of the NBA season is All-star weekend. Getting the best of the West and best of the EastÂ togetherÂ in one location is an exciting time for any basketballÂ fan. However,Â even though I enjoy theÂ games immensely, especially the 3rd andÂ 4th quarters when the game actually gets serious, I do have issues with this star-riddled weekend – namely the selection process.
IfÂ someone were to ask you who would be the starting five for the West this year, you wouldÂ probablyÂ insert Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan,Â Dirk Nowitski and Yao Ming into the lineupÂ - or something to that effect. But ask yourself why? Did you really take a look at their individualÂ numbers and performances over the course of the first half of the season? Or, did you simply come up with the biggest names in the game? If you did, in fact, use the stats to helpÂ guide your decision,Â I applaud you. You are a true NBA fan. But, I would venture to say that most voters do notÂ take the time and effort to see who is really deserving of an All-star selection.
ForÂ instance,Â everyone knows that Steve Nash is going toÂ get the nod for starting point guardÂ in the West. Now, is that because he hasÂ been the best point guard in the league or because his successiveÂ MVPs have made him a mega star? If you look at the numbers, you would see that Chris Paul should be the starting point guardÂ having averaged 22 points, 11 assists, 3Â stealsÂ and a 4 to 1 assists to turnover ratio per game. Nash only has better numbers in the assist category, leading Paul by just 1 assist per game. You could even make the argument for Baron Davis starting over Steve Nash asÂ BD averages more points, rebounds,Â blocks and steals than Steve Nash.
Another prime example of this is Carlos Boozer.Â You would think that averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds a game would trump the 19 and 11 and 22 and 9 put up by Tim Duncan and DirkÂ Nowitski, respectively. But will Boozer get the start at forward? No. It will beÂ Dirk and Duncan every time. And why is that? Because fans vote for the big names and their favorite players, overlooking the deserving candidates.
My point is this. TheÂ All-star game is an absolute honor to those who are fortunate enough to participate. Let’s not take that honor away from the players who have outworked and outperformed the traditional “All-stars” this season. As voters, we need to avoidÂ theÂ popularity contest mentality and vote for the best players rather than the biggest names.Â