The All-Star game starters were recently released. In a perfect world fans would be rational and analyze what made certain players contribute to their team successes. However, we live in an irrational world where Amare Stoudemire gets MVP votes thanks to Landry Fields’ play and Melo is considered All-NBA while greats such as Marcus Camby and Andre Miller are bounced from team to team. I decided to take a closer look at who should have been selected for the All-Star game if fans were more rational.
Last year matters
All-Star voting is open from the start of the season. This season was also condensed so certainly last’s years performance has some impact on who belongs in the game this season. Let’s do a quick rundown of our All-Star candidates based on how they ended last season.
Here’s how our forwards looked.
And finally here’s how our centers looked:
This year’s stars
Let’s compare our crop from last year with who was on top this season. Numbers from The NBA Geek through February 3rd 2012
Our forwards (Shawn Marion can thank commenter OaL for noticing that our writer mistakenly left him out on his first draft.):
and our centers:
Who got in
Here’s a brief reminder of who was voted in courtesy of nba.com.
The fans got it right
Let’s start out east. James and Howard were easily the right call by using both last year and this year. Out west Chris Paul was an easy pick and Durant bounced back from a slightly off year and is playing outstanding. I give full kudos to the voters.
The fans have a possible case for
Derrick Rose was by no means a bad pick. I’d be a little irked if I was Landry Fields or Ray Allen though. To be fair Landry Fields did have a slow start to the season and with a shortened voting period that’s a killer (let’s be honest though, he never had a chance.) Wade is having a slow start thanks to injury. However given his sublime play last season and the fact that he seems to be reverting back to his old form I’m fine with him starting as well.
Last season Andrew Bynum put up the second best per minute stats of any center right behind Dwight Howard. This season he’s in the top ten for centers and that’s with him missing four games due to suspension. He’s still not the top center out west, at least not yet. Still he’s about as good as the alternatives, so the fans are fine here. (Thanks Patrick for catching a silly writer’s mistake in thinking Tyson Chandler was still out west)
Last season Kobe was simply not an elite player. He does have one edge though. The west is fairly weak when it comes to shooting guards. Last season I’d rank him 5th behind Manu Ginobili, Arron Afflalo, Thabo Sefolosha and James Harden. This season his play has improved and with Ginobili being out with injury and Arron Afflalo not playing like he did last season then Kobe is actually the second best shooting guard out west. So IF the fans wanted a correct backcourt (a point guard and a shooting guard) and if they underrated Harden (which is easy to believe) and they give Kobe some legacy credit then he earns his spot. I’d still say Nash, who is playing amazing for his age, should have gotten the start but I’m not too mad about it.
The fans are dead wrong
Last season Melo ranked 100th in the league in Wins Produced right behind Grant Hill. That’s right, Grant Hill in his 30s played better than Melo in his prime last season. Not only that, Melo put up 0.088 Wins per 48 minutes, which is below average. This season Melo is still playing below average with a WP48 of 0.067. Melo simply has no place on an All-Star and given New York’s woes and all of the flack Melo is getting I’m amazed he was voted in.
I am a big fan of Blake Griffin. He had an amazing rookie season and is playing well this season (although he is appearing to have a sophomore slump) In either case the reason I put Griffin on this list is that there is no way Kevin Love should not be starting the All-Star game. When we compare Love and Griffin there are only two places Griffin comes out ahead: assists and blocks. I’ll grant you that Griffin’s baskets may look more impressive but the fact is that the ugly baskets count too. Even if Love weren’t around the fact is Paul Millsap is also having a killer year and Gerald Wallace has been a top five forward in the west for the last two seasons. Griffin is a good player but the west is chocked full of great forwards and Griffin is not better than any of them (at least not yet)
When the All-Star game comes up a popular opinion is that the fans should get to vote who they want in. I won’t even dispute this as those are, in fact, the rules. When we look at what drives attendance in sports the answer is winning. It is possible fans do not fully understand what is causing their teams to win. It is also possible I suppose that fans would prefer to see Melo chuck up shots and lose the game, but I would certainly hope not.