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Demo-crazy in the NBA

Pointing out the voters’ mistakes for this year’s starters in the NBA All-Star Game.If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of fans that voted for the starters of this year’s NBA All-Star Game; odds are you messed up.  Either you punched the wrong hole on your ballot by mistake, or you just flat-out have no idea what you are doing.  Once again, very deserving players have been left off the starting rosters in favor of big names, not big games.

I’m not surprised – it happens every year.

As of today (1/24/07) the official starting rosters have not been announced.  The voting has ended, and based on the latest projections, these players will be starting in the All-Star Game on February 18 in Las Vegas:

Eastern Conference

G – Dwayne Wade, Miami Heat
G – Vince Carter, New Jersey Nets
F – LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
F – Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
C – Shaquille O’Neal, Miami Heat

Western Conference

G – Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
G – Tracy McGrady, Houston Rockets
F – Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves
F – Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
C – Yao Ming, Houston Rockets

(Sigh) And here’s how the lineups would look in a perfect world:

Eastern Conference

G – Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards
G – Dwayne Wade, Miami Heat
F – Caron Butler, Washington Wizards
F – LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
C – Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

Western Conference

G – Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
G – Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
F – Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves
F – Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
C – Amare Stoudemire – Phoenix Suns

Let’s start in the Eastern Conference.  Gilbert Arenas over Vince Carter is a no-brainer.  Arenas is having a career year, averaging 29.7 points per game (2nd in the league) and heavily campaigning for his first MVP award.  Carter is having a nice year (24.6 ppg), but Arenas is beating him in nearly every statistical category, and the Wizards are first in their division (24-17), while the Nets are atop the worst division in the league with a record under .500 (20-21).

Some may argue that Carter should start over Wade, but those people are Vince-ane.  Wade is putting up phenomenal numbers (28.2, ppg, 7.9 assists per game, 4.8 rebounds per game) while also keeping the Miami Heat (19-22) afloat without Shaquille O’Neal, who has been out with injury for the majority of the season.

LeBron is Lebron.  He stays right where he is.

It’s hard to take Chris Bosh (21.6 ppg, 11.1 rpg) out of the starting lineup but Caron Butler really deserves this spot.  Bosh has missed eleven games due to injury while Butler has started every game for the Wizards this year.  Fresh off of winning the Eastern Conference Player of the Week Award, Butler is the only player in the East that is averaging over 21 ppg, 8 rpg, and 4 apg.  

Shaquille O’Neal is due to return to the Heat starting lineup any day now, so he should be healthy enough to participate in the All-Star Game.  He is arguably the most dominant center in the history of the NBA, but this year he needs to take a backseat to Orlando’s Dwight Howard and give him some time in the spotlight.  

Howard leads the East in rebounding (12.5 rpg) and nearly puts up a double-double every night.  Shaq has been sitting on the bench all year, and personally, his dunks have gotten old over the years.  Do I need to argue this point anymore?  Howard is the future and Shaq is the past.  It’s time we move on.

Now, for the far-superior Western Conference.

First off, Steve Nash is an alien.  No, not because he is from Canada, but because he is the best point guard in the league.  Nash is the front runner to win the MVP award (which would be his third in a row), and his numbers speak for themselves (19.5 ppg, 11.6 ppg).  Basically he is contributing to over one third of the NBA’s most potent offense, and his jaw-dropping passes are…jaw-dropping.  

Sorry T-Mac but you gotta go.  Nine missed games and your averages are well down from previous years (22.8 ppg) – better luck next year.

Kobe can stay.  The Lakers are winning and he hasn’t been accused of rape for a while.  All in all, a good season so far for number 24.

Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and Dirk Nowitzki all deserve to start at forward for the West, but you have to take Garnett and Nowitzki here.  Duncan’s averaging a double- double (19.8 ppg, 10.5 rpg), but his stats do not compare to Garnett or Nowitzki.

KG has the Timberwolves in the thick of the playoff race with hardly any help this season.  He leads the league in rebounding (12.7 rpg) and also is averaging 22.1 ppg, 4.3 apg, and 2 blocked shots per game.  I could go on forever on how good this guy is.

Nowitzki is right behind his good friend, Steve Nash, in the MVP race.  His Mavericks have the best record in the NBA, and he is averaging 25.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg, and is in the top ten (in the West) in three point percentage (41.5%).   Germans still love David Hasselhoff, but not as much as they love Dirk.

Lastly comes Yao Ming.  

Yao was having a great season (25.9 ppg, 9.4 rpg) until he fractured his foot on December 23, 2006.  I can’t give the voters too much flack – most of them live overseas anyway – but Stoudemire (18.4 ppg, 9.0 rpg), who has not missed a game, is the pick here.  Odds are Yao won’t be healthy enough to play in the game.

Well there you have it.  I’m glad I could get that off my chest.  I’m sure there are people out there who agree with me and even more who do not.  The only thing that matters is, all these players will be representing their teams in Vegas this year.  Some just won’t get as cool an introduction.  They might not admit it, but that’s a big deal to them…trust me.  Being a starter looks good on your resume too.

Enjoy the game everyone.

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