Today the NBA opened up the voting for the starters in the 2011 All-Star game in LA. The NBA limits who goes on the All-Start ballot so you would naturally assume that only players who could be considered potential All-Stars would be on there. You would be wrong. Apparently the NBA believes the All-Star game is like 3rd grade kickball and everyone should have a turn (or they let Kevin McHale do the talent assessment). Let’s see just how strong an a gang of starters we can expect next February…
Representing the East:
- Linas Kleiza – 11 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.3 APG – His scoring is down one-tenth of a point from his career high as a Nugget in 07-08, a year in which he also did not deserve to be an All-Star.
- Troy Murphy – 4.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 0.5 BPG – Murphy is in the top-4 for rebounding… of the Nets. The same mystery bias that puts the Fighting Irish into the preseason college football top-25 no matter how bad they are must be at work in getting this Notre Dame product on the ballot.
- Mario Chalmers – 1.1 PPG, 1.4 APG, 0.4 SPG – Chalmers All-star pedigree mostly includes being “the other guy” in the background on pictures of LeBron, D Wade and CB4. Best guess on this one is they were just drawing names from a hat.
- John Salmons – 12.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.9 APG – By the standards of this group Salmons isn’t just an All-Star he might be the MVP.
- Ben Wallace – 3.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.0 BPG - Now we’re talking about a legitimate All-Star: Huge rebounding numbers, intimidating defensive presence, the heart and soul for what could be a championship team. Oh wait… what?… It’s not 2004? Good chance someone just didn’t notice him when updating the ballot.
And the West:
- Trevor Ariza – 10.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.8 APG – Ariza is best known for being an unassuming role player who will do the dirty work and never draw the spotlight away from the stars he supports. Not seeing how a guy who isn’t a star on his own team be considered one of the top-10 stars in the league.
- Grant Hill – 11.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.0 APG – It almost feels like the league is mocking Grant Hill by putting him on the ballot. Look NBA, Grant gets that his body broke down and he is no longer the every-night triple-double threat he was the first five years of his career, do you have to rub it in?
- Thabo Sefolosha – 4.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, APG 1.7 – He knows Kevin Durant, that has to count for something, right?
- Corey Brewer – Unknown – When you type “Corey Brewer” into ESPN.com to search literally nothing comes up. You have to type “Corey Brewer Min NBA” to find him. You can find actual All-star candidates by searching “Kob” or “Lebro” with no cities or league specifications required.
- Andris Biedrins – 6.1 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 0.9 BPG – The NBA’s mind games are beginning to work because I actually found myself thinking “well, he’s got better numbers than Ben Wallace so maybe he deserves a spot.” John Hollinger ranks Biedrins as the 31st best center in the league so there must be at lease one team has two centers better than him. All-Star!
There you have it, your 2011 NBA All-Star starters, someone get the Staples Center PA announcer practicing the pronunciations. We owe it to the NBA to take this process as seriously as they do and strongly encourage everyone to support the Cosby Sweaters ticket and vote for this hardy group of ‘All-Stars’ early and often.