John Paolantonio, SNYNets.com
The All-Star reserves were selected last night and it dd not come without some major news and questionable picks. Fans vote for the starters and it is a popularity contest. For example, Andrew Bynum of the Philadelphia 76ers received 111,902 votes despite the fact that he has not played a single game all year.
The coaches in each conference vote on the reserves and they have a much more important job. The coaches have the final chance to look at the numbers, importance to team and overall performance in the first half of the season to validate who they select as the reserves for the All-Star team.
This is where my problem lies today with the selections that were made last night and what criteria the coaches used in their voting.
The “en vogue” debate when it comes to All-Star game snubs is to say, “If you think someone should be on the team then tell me who should be off the team.”
The Brooklyn Nets are currently third in the Eastern conference with a 26-16 record and have gone 12-2 since interim coach P.J. Carlesimo took over.
Yet, the Nets do not have a single player to represent the team in Houston this year.
That’s a travesty.
Lets look at the debate and put some numbers behind the argument. Brook Lopez vs Chris Bosh
Lopez is having the best year of his career, he is averaging 18.6 points and grabbing over seven rebounds a game to go along with his two blocks per game, and he’s been the most consistent player on a team that is playing .610 basketball.
His PER has been in the Top 5 all year and is currently fourth in the NBA at 24.45.
The Nets have opened many people’s eyes in the East and Lopez has showed that his defense and impact on the game has improved to a level that few centers in today’s NBA are playing. He has never made an All-Star team and was once labeled a bit soft by some NBA analysts, but that label can no longer be used when speaking of Lopez. Anyone who has watched him play now knows he is much tougher and has played much bigger for the surging Nets.
When Lopez missed a few games in December it was obvious how much the Nets missed him and the team lost at an alarming rate, causing their coach to be fired.
Bosh was named to his eighth All-Star game ahead of Lopez although his numbers are below the numbers Lopez has put up this year. Bosh is averaging 17.7 points per game—his lowest total since his second year in the league— and like Lopez, grabbing about seven rebounds per game. Bosh’s PER is 21.05.
Bosh also happens to be the third best player on a team that’s only 2.5 games ahead of the Nets in the standings. The Heat deserve three All-Stars, but the Nets deserve none?
Point blank: the factor that has been grossly overlooked in the Lopez vs. Bosh argument is how much each player means to his team. Lopez has had more to do with the Nets winning 26 games than Bosh has had in the Heat winning 27 games, and that’s all there is to it.
Bosh is not having having a better personal season than Lopez, and though his Heat are the top team in the conference, the Heat are mostly considered to be underachieving; Bosh’s team isn’t having a better team season than the Nets, at least, not at this point. The fact that he’s heading to Houston while Lopez isn’t makes very little sense.
Bosh has had a solid year, especially since he’s playing in the shadow of his high profile teammates, but he’s not a more deserving All-Star than Lopez. Period.
Many pundits, like Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith of TNT, have made mention that no Nets made this year’s All-Star team due to the coaches making a point that they are not happy that Avery Johnson got fired after going 14-14.
Though that’s impossible to prove, it’s something that could potentially be true. There’s simply no excuse for the 26-16 Nets not having a single All-Star.
If Avery’s firing or the belief that his team quit on him had anything to do with no Brooklyn Net making the team, then I have lost a ton of respect for the coaching fraternity in the NBA.
Some players only get a few chances to fulfill their dream of being an All-Star and if some disgruntled coaches took it upon themselves to punish their team because a coach was fired then shame on them.
Neither Williams nor Johnson making the team is understandable, but Lopez being left off is a sham.
Hopefully, the snub will make him work harder to prove himself… But he has every right to be disgruntled.