By Bryan Jeon
I view the All-Star game as one of entertainment and high-scoring and the participants in the game should be very capable scorers or absolutely dominant in at least one facet of the game. Thus, if you don’t make my list of NBA All-Stars, you are probably a “team player” and/or are boring to watch. And with that, the “real” team that should be on the floor on February 17 at New Orleans Arena.
Western Conference Squad
Steve Nash, Phoenix – I got to make my floor general the league’s leader in assists and in addition to his 12.1 per game, the two-time MVP has a lot more to offer. In the Western Conference, he owns the second-highest FG% at .513, the highest 3P% at .468 and the highest FT% at .903. The Canadian is about as “perfect” as they come. (Light me up, even with the quotations around the word.)
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles – Kobe’s 27.4 points per game is his lowest season average since the ’03-04 season, threatening his chances as a starter on my team. (That’s right. I’m all about the now what.) He has averaged 31 points in four games since Andrew Bynum went down so I’ve been reassured he still knows how to play selfish ball. In his first game since Bynum’s absence, No. 24 went 21-of-44 from the field in dropping 48 points at Seattle.
Carmelo Anthony, Denver – Props to Melo for getting USC’s O.J. Mayo in trouble with NCAA regulations, by giving him free tickets to watch him sprain his ankle against the Lakers. But the best part of the story is how O.J. Mayonnaise said he got them, “I was talking to him like, `Man, you’re out pretty late. You’ve got a game tomorrow night against Kobe [Bryant],”‘ Mayo said. “He said, `Nah, it will be all right.’ And then he asked, `You want to come to the game?’ And I was like, ‘Sure.’ ” What a winner. Definitely on my squad.
Carlos Boozer, Utah – What may seem like an unpopular pick may be influenced by team record and there being a stack of worthy forwards in the Western Conference. This guy isn’t an MVP candidate and sure doesn’t have as much of a fan base as the regulars but he’s a double-double machine, who I feel has finally paid his dues. In fact, he beats Tim Duncan in double-double games this season, 30-23.
Yao Ming, Houston – I think Yao has been an All-Star every year since he’s been in the league just because of the fact that he’s 7’6″. At least, that’s why he’ll always get the starting nod on my team, averaging 22 and 11. Despite his decrease in points from last season, he actually has career-highs in rebounds (10.7), assists (2.5), blocks (2.3) and minutes (37.4). And let’s not forget that he’s a career .826 free throw shooter.
Western Conference Reserves
Chris Paul, New Orleans
Allen Iverson, Denver
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
Tim Duncan, San Antonio
Amaré Stoudemire, Phoenix
Comparison (Who’s got the better team?)
Chris Le’s West All-Stars Bryan Jeon’s West All-Stars
PG – Chris Paul Steve Nash
SG – Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant
SF – Dirk Nowitzki Carmelo Anthony
PF – Tim Duncan Carlos Boozer
C – Yao Ming Yao Ming
B – Steve Nash Chris Paul
B – Brandon Roy Allen Iverson
B – Carmelo Anthony Dirk Nowitzki
B – Carlos Boozer Tim Duncan
B – Amaré Stoudemire Amaré Stoudemire