It's nearing that time of the season that we all look forward to, All Star weekend. Most players in the league simply look forward to the time off, they are awarded, to spend with family and loved ones. For those that have been selected for the ASG, they seemingly fulfill the obligations that come with being a part of the All Star weekend and festivities. An honor for these players indeed. There will always be conversation about those selected to take part in the All Star game and those that were snubbed. I figure to stir up conversation and share my ballots.
Personally, I think that we don't have enough players participating in the ASG. Given how there is talk about "snubs" every season, the roster should perhaps be increased from 12 to maybe 15, much like a standard team roster. Because of this, I have made use of a system that I have been following over the last few seasons when filling out a ballot. I began casting 3 ballots. Each ballot representing my 1st team, 2nd team and 3rd team all star selections. I reserve my votes until January to make sure those I think deserving receive my vote. Unfortunately due to time, and the league constraints on casting simultaneous ballot entries, I didn't make a ballot entry for a 3rd team all star selection year. Sorry Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozen, Joakim Noah, Al Jefferson, Chris Bosh, Ty Lawson, Goran Dragic, David Lee, Dwight Howard and Zach Randolph.
1st team selection
PG - John Wall
SG - Dwyane Wade
2nd team selection
With my ballot for the East backcourt, I selected the best point guards on the winning teams, John Wall and Kyle Lowry. Sorry Kyrie. I like "Uncle Drew". It was tough, but winning has to be rewarded. As the partners on the backcourt, I selected Dwyane Wade and Lance Stephenson. Sorry DeMar. DeMar has played great and is the 2nd catalyst in the Raptors turnaround, but Lowry is that little engine that could. Maybe the coaches vote in DeRozen.
With my ballot for the East frontcourt, I selected Carmelo Anthony, Andre Drummond, LeBron James, Paul George, Paul Millsap and Roy Hibbert. LeBron is well, LeBron. Paul George is simply continuing where he left off last year, and leading his team ahead in the Eastern Conference. Carmelo's all-star status cannot be denied. The Knicks have not been good this season, like most teams in the Eastern Conference. Anthony is the Knicks lone bright spot, averaging about 28ppg and 9rpg. Now my selection for Andre Drummond for the ASG may appear as questionable to some. A case for my selection of Drummond is about selecting players by position. In this case, the Center position. We have an emergence of Centers in the league, and the altered all-star balloting does effect Centers being voted in, as may likely be the case in the Western Conference. As a Center, Drummond has more to offer in a game like this over Hibbert, who is deserving . He is athletic and averaging a double double (12ppg ,12rpg and 1.5 blk) versus what Hibbert is contributing with his 7 feet 2 inches (11ppg, 8rpg, and 2.5 blk). My final vote went to Millsap. The Atlanta Hawks need a representative, being a team that has been around and above the .500 mark in the East for the better part of the 1st half of the season. Al Horford's injury will be tough to overcome down the stretch, and Millsap has admirably "held down the fort" for the Hawks.
With my ballot for the West backcourt I selected Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Tony Parker and Damian Lillard. Hey, where's James Harden? He probably would have received consideration if he wasn't frequently sidelined. CP3 has been out with injuries too and will be out for a few weeks after sustaining a shoulder injury. Unlike CP3, Harden hadn't played the stretch of games he has. Stephen Curry has continued to improve his play from last season, with an increase in ppg and assists (24ppg, 9ast). Curry's decision to stay his junior year at Davidson is paying dividends. The ever consistent Spurs need to have their floor general in the all-star game, hence Tony Parker undoubtedly received my vote. Given the Spurs being among the top 2 teams year after year in the West, with Parker as their PG and without a strong roster in recent years, its almost criminal why Parker hasn't received an MVP award. Lillard received my pick here mainly because of his co-leadership of making the Portland Trailblazers a contender this year. There is talk about the Blazers improved bench being a reason, but that talk is overrated. Really take a look at their bench production to see what I mean.
With my ballot for the West frontcourt, I selected Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin. KD is well KD. Kevin Love is the prototypical all-star, statistically, and has nothing else to do but lead his team to the playoffs. Just as I selected Drummond for the East, some may be wondering why I have selected DeMarcus Cousins for the West. Why not say, Dwight Howard? In my opinion, Cousins is the best Center in the West, possibly in the league right now. Cousins has improved all facets of his game this season (50% FG, 22ppg, 10rpg, 1.5 blk, 1 stl). The Kings have beaten Houston twice this season, with Cousins leading the charge bullying Dwight Howard in the process. Besides, there are more deserving frontcourt players receiving of my vote before Howard, this season. Anthony Davis receives my vote in part to his improvement and unique skill set. His game is still raw. Even being raw, have we ever seen a player with that offensive skill set, who produces statistically the way he does on defensive end (20ppg, 10rpg, 1.5 stl, 3 blks). Aldridge is as much a deserving all-star (if not more) just as Lillard. Aldridge has quietly been averaging his 20ppg and 8rpg every season, but now has increased that to 23ppg and 10rpg this year and leading the Blazers to one of their best starts in years. Finally we have Blake Griffin. There aren't many PF in the West that play as intimidating and physical as Griffin. Griffin this year has taken his game to another level. His ball handling has improved, he's shooting from the outside more consistently with better form, and he has more of a repitoire in the interior. Griffin is what the people want to see in the ASG and rightfully so.
There we have it, my 1st and 2nd team ballot. With the ASG about a month away, the final tally will be coming soon. Share your thoughts on these picks, and even my chosen system. Should it be something the league employs. Feel free to leave a comment.