We’ve all seen the results from the fan voting thus far and unfortunately it is more about popularity than it is about the displays on the basketball court. If the fans had their way Zaza Pachulia would be the starting centre for the Western Conference, a player averaging 5.6ppg and 5.8rpg.
Going by the fan votes, released for the second time last week, here are the starters (if the fan vote was all that was happening) –
LeBron James (1,066,147 votes), Kyrie Irving (971,362), Giannis Antetokounmpo (963,110), Kevin Love (473,328) and Dwyane Wade (514,866)
Stephen Curry (990,390 votes), Kevin Durant (987,479), James Harden (961,685), Russell Westbrook (899,024) and Zaza Pachulia (823, 376)
Now, here’s who I believe should be given the accolade of All-Star starters for the Eastern Conference (Western Conference to follow) and why –
There are a number of deserving players in these two positions but neither Kyrie Irving or Dwyane Wade would be my top choices to fill them.
DeMar DeRozan has been having an unreal season up in Toronto, currently averaging 28.2ppg, 5.4rpg, 3.7apg and 1.3spg.
He has scored 30 or more points in 19 of the Raptors 39 games, including topping 40pts on three occasions. DeRozan was also the main reason why the Raptors got off to such a good start to the season, he led the league in scoring during the first month and carried the team while Kyle Lowry found his footing in the new season.
Joining DeRozan could be any of John Wall from the Washington Wizards, his teammate Kyle Lowry or, my pick, Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics.
Thomas has been on an absolute tear this season and is averaging 28.2ppg, 2.7rpg, 6.2apg and 0.8spg.
He has scored 30 or more points 11 times this season so far, including a massive 52pt outburst against the Miami Heat. He has done some impressive work in the fourth quarter and clutch situations, he averages about https://www.acheterviagrafr24.com/viagra-pharmacie/ 10ppg in the fourth quarter alone and that is the most for any player since 1996 (NBAstats). That includes a franchise record 29pts in a fourth quarter this season.
Again, a number of deserving players but this decision is easier to make than the backcourt starters.
A fairly obvious choice this one, LeBron James will be starting the All Star Game and with averages of 25.8ppg, 7.8rpg, 8.3apg and 1.5spg, rightly so. There’s not really any explanation required here, everyone knows who James is and what he does on the court.
Joining him will be Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Milwaukee Bucks, who also has to be a leading contender for the Most Improved Player award come seasons end. He is currently averaging 23.2ppg, 8.7rpg, 5.6apg, 2bpg and 1.8spg – all up on the previous seasons averages by a fair margin. He’s one of the best players to watch, he can handle the ball like a guard but he’s got the height and length of a centre.
Speaking of centre, I’m of the belief that the traditional five positions of basketball should still be recognised in the All-Star starting lineups and a player who plays the centre position should be included. For that reason, Jimmy Butler is unlucky to miss out in my starting lineup but that means that Joel Embiid makes his All Star debut.
With his minutes limited each night so far, he’s averaging only 25.2mpg, he has been dominating the league with averages of 19.6ppg, 7.6rpg, 2apg, 0.8spg and 2.3bpg. He’s also been surprisingly effective from the three point line (34.5%) and has been able to show some quick moves to get by his defender. More importantly he is bringing life back to the Philadelphia 76ers and proving to be very entertaining and a real showman –
So my Eastern Conference starting lineup – G: Isaiah Thomas, G: DeMar DeRozan, F: LeBron James, F: Giannis Antetokounmpo and C: Joel Embiid.
Alright this is getting absolutely ridiculous, fans should have absolutely no say in voting for any type of accolade in the NBA.
The NBA All Star Weekend is getting near and the highlight is the All Star Game between the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference and fan voting closes in the coming days. Two sets of “results” have been released showing in progress voting numbers for players in the backcourt and frontcourt of each team and they are disappointing to say the least.
There are the votes after the first results and there are a number of players who shouldn’t even be mentioned on any of those lists. The most atrocious of them all is Zaza Pachulia sitting second in the West Frontcourt voting, ahead of players like Kawhi Leonard, Marc Gasol, DeMarcus Cousins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Here are the votes after the second results release and STILL Zaza Pachulia is sitting second in the West Frontcourt voting! Pachulia won’t start the game, after the media and players have their chance at voting but it shouldn’t have even gotten this far!
There are a number of things that the fans have gotten completely wrong and this continues to prove that voting is a popularity contest and not a reflection of which players should actually be bestowed this accolade. Here’s what I think is completely unforgivable, aside from the aforementioned Pachulia, with these results –
It’s time to scrap the idea of fan voting actually counting towards anything. Keep it all in house and give it to players who actually deserve to be considered, the fans https://www.acheterviagrafr24.com/prix-viagra/ have proven time and time again that they/we shouldn’t have any bearing on accolades/honours in the NBA. It becomes more about player popularity than it does about talent and the season a player has displayed out on the court.
Having finished one-third of the regular season, the NBA is once again fashioning a number of different storylines to garner the attention of its fans. The upheaval with some teams that saw plenty of turnover take place during the offseason is matched against the franchises that remain in contention to capture the title in June.
One of the storylines that’s now in its third year is the rivalry between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. The two teams have met in the NBA Finals in each of the last two seasons. Should they again reach that summit in 2017, it will mark the first time ever that the same two squads have reached the finals three consecutive seasons.
Right now, that projection is on target since both currently possess the top conference record. The first of two regular season meetings took place in Cleveland on Christmas Day, with the Cavaliers forging a late comeback to win. Some of the officials’ late actions and inactions were later found to be in error, which should stoke the embers even more when the two teams play in Oakland on January 16th.
On an individual level, Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook is currently the favorite to win Most Valuable Player honors. The key reason is that he’s currently on pace to finish the season averaging a triple-double. If that becomes a reality in April, he’ll join the legendary Oscar Robertson as the only two NBA players to ever accomplish that feat.
Yet the competition for that top individual honor is tight enough that any statistical slide by Westbrook might move someone else into the favorite spot. Chief among those players is Houston Rockets guard James Harden, who’s currently averaging 28 points, just under 12 assists and eight rebounds per game.
More importantly, Harden has served as the centerpiece of a Rockets team that’s re-emerged as a strong postseason contender. They’re currently situated just three games behind the Warriors for best record in the league.
The team that’s currently in between Golden State and Houston is a familiar one: the San Antonio Spurs. At 27-7 after the games of January 2nd, the Spurs haven’t missed a beat after the retirement of future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan and the slowing down of two other Hall of Famers-to-be in guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
One of the surprise teams thus far has been the Utah Jazz, which currently has the sixth-best record https://www.acheterviagrafr24.com/prix-viagra-pharmacie/ in the league. Their success has primarily been due to a stifling defense that’s only allowed a league-best 94.5 points per game. While they likely lack the depth of lasting through the postseason, a strong defense may be able to taken them farther than expected.
Another surprise possibility might be the Los Angeles Clippers, though navigating through the competitive Western Conference will be difficult. In the East, the only two teams likely to challenge the Cavaliers are the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics.
Image: J.Pat Carter/Getty Images
Crazy, crazy, crazy….
There have been some unbelievable contracts dished out over the first few days of the 2016 NBA Free Agency period, find a rolling list of all the moves below –
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans
New York Knicks
Oklahoma City Thunder
San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Clippers:
In: Brice Johnson (#25), David Michineau (#39), Diamond Stone (#40)
Out: Cheick Diallo (#33)
The Clippers need to add depth in general to their roster, once their starting five leave the floor so too does their game.
Brice Johnson is the best pickup they got here, he should be able to play at the same time as either Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers won’t lose too much from that perspective. He’s a good rebounder and an athletic player who can (inconsistently) knock down a mid range jumper.
The other two picks are head scratchers at best. Michineau didn’t set the world on fire for his French team last season and Diamond Stone is a player destined to plod away in the D-League.
Doc Rivers isn’t known for playing too many younger players, so it will be interesting to see if Brice Johnson gets much court time next season. Of the Clippers draft picks, he’s the only one where an NBA future can be seen.
Los Angeles Lakers:
In: Brandon Ingram (#2), Ivica Zubac (#32)
The Lakers were taking either Ingram or Simmons, whichever wasn’t taken #1, so Ingram it is. He will come in as the new face of the franchise, a quality scorer and someone who can attack opposing defense and guard multiple positions on his own teams defense. He will be a focal point from day one.
Zubac is another good pick by the Lakers, he could come in right away and be the low post scorer that the Lakers are currently lacking (since Roy Hibbert is failing).
The Lakers were simply going for the best available player with their #2 pick and did that, they then filled a need with the drafting of Zubac; a good day for the Lakers.
In: Wade Baldwin IV (#17), Deyonta Davis (#31), Rade Zagorac (#35), Wang Zhelin (#57)
Out: 2019 lottery protected first round pick
With Mike Conley potentially on the way out the Grizzlies have drafted a player in Wade Baldwin IV that can either play with him or for him in the upcoming season. He’s a good defender like Conley and has good court vision so should be able to run the team.
Deyonta Davis was one of the big, if not the biggest, sliders through the Draft. Many expected him to go in the top ten, he instead slid down to 31st. Davis is a player who can knock down mid range shots and is extremely physically gifted when it comes to blocking shots and rebounding.
Zagorac and Weng Zhelin won’t be seen in the NBA for a while, they’ll keep plying their trade overseas.
The Grizzlies picked up two lottery/borderline lottery talents and that makes it two players who will be able to come into the team next season and gain court time.
In: Thon Maker (#10), Malcolm Brogdon (#36), Cash
Out: Patrick McCaw (#38)
Wow…just wow! I’m an Aussie and I am ecstatic that Maker went this high but also extremely shocked that it happened.
The Bucks are going for length with their bigs (think John Henson, Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo) and Maker certainly adds more there. A 7’1″ PF who can knock down a three point shot and handle the ball.
There’s just one fairly large problem, he is as skinny as they come and is no chance of banging with the big men of the NBA in the paint. It will be very interesting to see if the Bucks have him on their main roster or send him to the D-League to develop some more.
Brogdon is a good shooter on one end and a good defender on the other end, if Jason Kidd allows him court time next season he could be talked about as that steal in the second round that appears in every Draft.
The Bucks have taken a huge gamble with Maker at #10, only time will tell how that one pays off.
In: Kris Dunn (#5)
Dunn doesn’t quite fit on the Timberwolves right now with Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine but there have been constant talks about one of those players being on the move.
A good defender and a player with good scoring prowess, he will see minutes either way with the Timberwolves but if Rubio/LaVine stays then it would be on the second unit rather than leading the team. Like Rubio he is an excellent assist man with great basketball IQ and court vision, so playing alongside the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns will be exciting to watch.
To see just how good this pick can be we have to wait to see what other moves the Timberwolves make with their roster.
New Orleans Pelicans:
In: Buddy Hield (#6), Cheick Diallo (#33)
Out: David Michineau (#39), Diamond Stone (#40)
The Pelicans have got themselves a shooter to put alongside Anthony Davis in Buddy Hield. He shot the ball at 50.1% from the field and 45.7% from deep last season and managed to put in 25ppg. A perfect fit for the Pelicans team who relies too much on Davis on the offensive end.
In Diallo they’ve picked up a big that isn’t dissimilar to Omer Asik, a good defensive player but a fairly limited offensive player. Some great backup on the wings or another guard (with the constant injuries to Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday).
New York Knicks:
Continuing our grading of the 2016 NBA Draft, we pick things up with the Dallas Mavericks –
In: A.J. Hammons (#46)
A good shot blocker and defender down low, needs work if he has to be stretched to defend further out. The Mavs needed a centre and they have one with some good potential here.
In: Jamal Murray (#7), Juan Hernangomez (#15), Malik Beasley (#19), Petr Cornelie (#53)
Out: Daniel Hamilton (#56)
The Nuggets needed shooting to be able to create more room for Emmanual Mudiay to do his thing and they certainly got that. Murray, Hernangomez and Beasley are all very good shooters and the 1-2 combo of Murray and Mudiay should be the future back court for this team.
Hernangomez will likely stay overseas for a year, mostly due to the glut of bigs on the Denver roster at the moment but he projects as a solid stretch four type of player.
Beasley is another guard who is able to create his own shot and is a solid defender, he will keep the pressure on Gary Harris to keep his spot.
The Nuggets needed to get some more shooters for their floor spacing and better offensive flow, they went out and did that with all of their round one picks.
In: Henry Ellenson (#18), Michael Gbinije (#49)
The Pistons picked up a good player here in Ellenson but I’m not a fan of the pick overall, it doesn’t fit with what the Pistons need.
When you look at the Pistons roster, they have plenty of big men and have also just brought in Cameron Bairstow from Chicago, who could prove to be a worthy player off the bench if given court time. Ellenson now joins a growing group of bigs vying for playing time.
What the Pistons needed, especially early in this Draft seeing as it wasn’t the deepest, was a backup point guard. The guard spots for the Pistons drop off significantly after Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
In terms of Ellenson himself, next to Andre Drummond his lack of athleticism can be hidden to some effect and he can also develop into a solid shooter from range, something that we know Stan Van Gundy likes in all his player when he has a dominant anchor.
Golden State Warriors:
In: Damian Jones (#30), Patrick McCaw (#38)
The Warriors might be expecting Festus Ezeli to go walkabout during Free Agency (possibly to the Lakers with outgoing Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton?) and they have brought in an athletic big man in Damian Jones.
A solid player who needs to work a little more on his endurance and he should be a good back up big man for this team.
McCaw was a good pick up early in the second round as well, a long guard who isn’t bad at setting up plays and defending.
Nothing flashy about either of these picks but they can certainly make the roster for next season, both of them, to keep the Warriors thereabouts.
In: Chinanu Onuaku (#37), Zhou Qi (#43)
The Rockets needed to select at least one big man in the Draft and they picked up two. Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas could all be on the way out in Free Agency so they needed someone to act as cover.
Unfortunately for them, Onuaku is extremely raw on the offensive end. Fortunately for them, Onuaku is a very good defender and rim protector.
Zhou Qi is a solid prospect from China for the Rockets. Tall with soft hands and a nice touch around the ring, he is also a competent shot blocker. Whether he can manage with the daily grind of the NBA is the biggest question.
In: Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, Georges Niang (#50)
Out: George Hill, Caris LeVert (#20)
The Pacers have gotten better, no doubt about that but unfortunately it doesn’t have much to do with the drafting of Georges Niang. It’s got everything to do with their deals around Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young.
In Teague they get a legitimate point guard who is able to break down the defender and charge the lane which should create more open opportunities for Paul George and Monta Ellis. In Young, they get a very good power forward to pair with Myles Turner.
While drafting Niang could prove a steal or a bust depending on his status as a “tweener”, the moves involving Teague and Young (which had draft picks involved) make the Pacers a better team.