Since the NBA started having online voting for the All-Star Game, I had have a problem with it. It is too easy to vote multiple times and inflate the ballots. That lead to Yao Ming, with the help of China, starting every year of his career. Even when he wasn’t the best Center out there. That also lead to things like Vince Carter being voted as a starter when injured, having not played in one game the whole season.
Now, it seems you can only vote once a day. Still, not hard to find or make new accounts and vote numerous times.
I understand the NBA wants to keep the international fan involved. How would I change it? Maybe the NBA should send ballots to members of the press and team coaches so they can vote. Fan voting would have ⅓ of the value of the journalist/coach’s vote. Or, be a tie breaker.
To me, the All Star Game should be a reward for the best players in the season. Not the players with the biggest fan base.
So, I decided to make stats based teams. What would the East and the West look like if we had performance based teams.
When I came up withe the idea, Kobe was having a bad season. Shooting 40% from the field, 30% in the clutch. Not passing. Turning the ball over. So, I used him as an example. “Right now”, I wrote on twitter, “Kobe doesn’t deserve a spot on the All Star Game. If we gonna base our pick in performance, not career or name recognition”.
That, of course, lead to a barrage of Kobe fans not getting what I wrote – and ignoring that I said “that’s one of the reasons I’ll wait until the last days of voting to do this” – and filling my reply box with “COUNT THE RINGZZ” type of answers.
I’m still trying to get them to understand I wasn’t diminishing Kobe’s career. I was just using him as an example. But, being the type of guy who loves to discuss basketball, I fell into the “let’s talk careers” and “Kobe vs LeBron” arguments. My mistake.
Back to the topic at hand.
I used simple stats for the most part. When things got to close to call by simple stats, I went to the advanced stats for help.
I also separated Small Forwards from Power Forwards and Shooting Guards from Point Guards. Why? Because I’m OCD like that. And, I want to make real teams. Didn’t want to have a team with two PF or two SG.
So, without further ado, your performance based East and West All-Stars.
Small Forward: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder: This was an easy one. In the end, no other SF came close to what the Durantula is doing this season. Points, rebounds, steals, blocks. Just ask and KD will do it for you.
Power Forward: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves: A little harder to choose. Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge are having an excellent year. But, Mr. Double-double is just playing better than his peers.
Center: Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies: a close one. Andrew Bynum has more points and rebounds per game. But, Marc’s been doing a great job without Zach Randolph. The younger Gasol has better shooting percentage across the board, including 3 pointers, and has a higher +/- than Bynum, closing the deal.
Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe started poorly. But, he’s been improving since that disappointing start. With the help of Mike Brown’s superstar heavy offensive schemes, Bryant is carrying the load of the team’s scoring, even if it doesn’t help in the long run.
Point Guard: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers: Paul is the floor general. Without him, Blake Griffin (who will probably be voted in by the fans) have trouble finding his shot. Paul can score, dish and hardly turns the ball over, even if he has it in his hands most of the time.
Small Forward: LeBron James, Miami Heat: LeBron is having an MVP type of season. Only thing sitting in the way of complete dominance is his game ending woes. James still misses big shots. With the only player who could challenge James for this Spot, Carmelo Anthony, hurt, this was an easy choice.
Power Forward: Chris Bosh, Miami Heat: Bosh and Andrea Bargnani have very similar numbers. The only clear stat Bosh has an advantage is +/- (+5.8 versus -2.1). Injuries and a bad team robbed Bargnani of the starting spot.
Center: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic: At first, I thought Howard would be the clear pick for the Center position. But, looking at the numbers, Roy Hibbert is having an amazing season. But, at the end, Howard’s rebounds and defense puts him over the edge.
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat: this was the easiest one. No contest. Wade is dominating the position. East or West.
Point Guard: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls: not as easy a choice as it looks. Brandon Jennings, Rajon Rondo and Derrick Williams are having great season. But, Rose put his team on his back and, even if he’s not a typical Point Guard (he’s a combo guard), he’s doing everything he can to help Da Bulls win.
So, there you have it. Now, we just wait for the fans voting and we can see how much a stats based All-Star Game differs from a fame based one.