The NBA’s newest approach to the balloting―removing the “center” position, and relegating players to either a frontcourt or backcourt class―seems to have turned out alright. Tyson Chandler, Joakim Noah, Chris Bosh, and Kevin Garnett are centers or center-forwards who’ve been rightly given attention for the Eastern Conference. Dwight Howard, Omer Asik, Marc Gasol and Tim Duncan for the West.
But like other popularity contests, there are plenty of duds in the mix. Andrew Bynum, who has yet to play a game this season, and so, averaging big zeros across the board, has gotten more votes (68,596) than Anderson Varejao (57,336), who might be having the best year of his career.
Then you have the noted snubs every year, when players like Jamal Crawford are excluded from the conversation. Crawford came up with a creative alternative to All-Star voting while talking to NBA writer Steve Aschburner, that might reduce some of that snubbing. While chatting on Twitter, J. Crossover mentioned a system where fans would vote for starters, coaches for reserves, and the league’s players for the last three guys in each conference. Not bad.
Considering the snubs, Sports Jerks will look at four of the weakest candidates to make the ballot, and possible replacements for them. Conference duds in exchange for conference studs (and great Fantasy acquisitions), essentially.
Eastern Conference Duds
Andrew Bynum, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Jeff Green. Both Bynum and Stoudemire have yet to play a game this season, with the Knicks doing mighty fine without their power forward. If this was All-Star bowling, Bynum might get a nod, but considering that he might not even be able to play come February, he’s certainly a dud.
It’s great to see Jeff Green back in a uni, but 10.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 0.7 APG are not All-Star numbers. Especially in 22.8 minutes per game.
Jason Terry is two years removed from being an NBA champion, but at 35 years old is having a mediocre year. At 11.7 PPG, he is averaging well below his career average of 16-even, and has only scored less in his rookie year. Tack on that the Celtics aren’t currently in playoff contention and his All-Star mention seems more based on legacy than performance.
Western Conference Duds
Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki. Both are NBA champions, and supremely talented big men in very different ways. But both have been sidelined by injuries. Neither of their teams are playing better than .500 basketball.
Jeremy Lin and Steve Nash. Lin has had a handful of good or great games, but he continually looks lost playing point for the Houston Rockets. His numbers―11.0 PPG, 6.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, in 32.4 MPG―aren’t exactly “Linsane’ either.
For Steve Nash, you only need look above at Pau’s description for why he shouldn’t be in All-Star contention.
Eastern Conference Studs
1) David West – 17.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.1 BPG, and is shooting 50.1 percent. His current team record is 13-11; 7th-best in the East.
2) Al Horford – 16.3 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.0 BPG, at a relatively-high 54.3 FG percentage. Atlanta occupies the third spot in the Eastern Conference.
1) Jeff Teague – 13.1 PPG, 6.3 APG, 2.4 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 86.7 FT%.
2) George Hill – 14.9 PPG, 5.5 APG, 4.3 RPG, 1.0 SPG.
Western Conference Studs
1) David Lee – 19.2 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.0 SPG, and is shooting for 52.3 percent. Golden State currently stands at fifth in the Western Conference with a 16-8 record.
2) Kenneth Faried – 12.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.9 BPG, in just 29.7 MPG. The Denver Nuggets are currently eighth in the Conference.
1) Stephen Curry – 19.7 PPG, 6.5 APG, 4.1 PRG, 1.7 SPG, 89.5 FT%, and 41.8 percent from behind the arc.
2) Kevin Martin – 16.0 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.1 SPG in only 29.7 minutes per contest. The Oklahoma City Thunder have the best record in the league and look like front-runners for a NBA championship.