The NBA’s All Star game is coming up this weekend, and what type of basketball website would this be if I didn’t give my own two cents on the break at hand (an amazing one regardless of course…right?)
Top 10 things to ponder coming into All Star Weekend:
- It’s tough to be underrated in this league, because generally if you’re really good in this league then you’re probably properly rated or overrated at this point. Still, I think there are two people that are being randomly underrated: Žydrūnas Ilgauskas and Hedo Turkoglu—partially because looking up the spelling of their names is a pain in the ass. Both are more deserving and more vital to their teams than Mo Williams and Rashard Lewis.
- Speaking of big men, the East has all of…two on their roster in Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett. Expect Lebron James and Rashard Lewis to play a lot of power forward. Also expect there to be even less defense as usual as I don’t see either player trying to guard a Duncan or Stoudamire anytime soon.
- Speaking of poorly created rosters, at least there are two big men on the East roster. There are zero small forwards on the West roster. The starter is Amar’e Stoudamire, which means that Phil Jackson will probably have to make a substitution about two minutes in the game after Lebron gets passed Stoudamire for the third time for yet another dunk. My guess is that Kobe Bryant, David West, and even Dirk Nowitzki will get to try their hand at it.
- Ok, last comment on the game’s rosters. The West has a huge advantage with the point guards because Chris Paul is going to get everyone involved. Every other point guard on both rosters is closer to shoot first.
- My prediction? The West wins 122-114 with the MVP being Kobe. Was that off the top of my head or can I tell the future? Let’s find out!
- The three point shootout is kind of boring. It’s impossible to predict, and you’re guaranteed to get at least two separate times of players just firing blanks for a full 30 seconds. Now that Horse is in the game, I think its time to move the shootout even further away from the public consciousness.
- The dunk contest should be a good one. Dwight Howard is under pressure to try and top last year’s bonanza, Nate Robinson is under pressure to not miss the same dunk for 30 minutes, Rudy Fernandez is under pressure to not speak because his English is ridiculous, and JR Smith is under pressure because no one watching the contest has any idea who he is and the few that do want him to dunk over George Karl. Speaking of which, if he does try to dunk over George Karl, what are the odds that Karl knocks him down and yells “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T LISTEN TO ME!” I’m going to say 60.
- The All Star game needs to reintroduce prop betting like they have at the super bowl. Are you telling me people won’t lay down good money because they believe so and so will win the tip or get the first dunk? Personally, I want to bet 100 dollars on Amar’e Stoudamire having the most dunks and that the total dunks in the game will be over 25, but no one will give me odds on either. It’s a shame.
- One thing that needs to get hyped up is today’s Rookie-Sophomore challenge. I think the rookies have won exactly once since the beginning of that format and the Sophomores have won six years in a row. However, I think this is the year the Sophomores get their second loss. Sure they have Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, but the Rookies have better size with Greg Oden, Brook Lopez, and Marc Gasol compared to the Sophomores Al Horford, Luis Scola, and…kind of Wilson Chandler? Speaking of prop bets, I would love to bet that this game has more dunks than the All Star game, but can I? Noooo. FIX THIS Centsports.com!
- I think that either the talent level of the league is at an all time high or at an all time low, because I think I can assemble a team of non-all stars to challenge either group. I’m not saying they will for sure win, but I bet it would be close:
· Points Guards: Deron Williams and Steve Nash: Deron Williams has averaged something like 35 and 9 since coming back from his latest injury. Steve Nash is mired in the longest season of his career, but I bet he can match up well enough against any of the opposing point guards he’ll face. Besides, someone who passes like Nash is a must for All Star games. You want a bunch of alley-oop dunks? Nash is your man.
· Shooting Guards: Caron Butler and Kevin Martin: Both of these guys are great players on lousy teams. Martin is someone who should get more recognition, but everyone in Sacramento is too busy trying (and failing) to fix California budget. Butler should get more press as well, but everyone in DC is too busy trying (and failing) to pretend the Wizards don’t exist, because the Wizards really, really suck. Oh, uh, and I guess they are trying to fix the nation’s economy as well.
· Small Forwards: Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant: Wow, these guys are playing amazing. I am shocked by how they managed to miss the all star game. Both amazing scorers, but it’s also important to note that both have improved the other facets of their game as well.
· Power Forwards: Hedo Turkoglu and Antwan Jamison: Turkoglu initiates the offense and takes all the big shots for a top five team in the league. His reward for making his teammates better was to have those teammates (Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis) be voted in over him. I understand that he was better last year and is struggling with his shot, but if his shot is good enough to allow Van Gundy to put the ball in his hands in crunch time, its good enough for me. Jamison plays for the terrible Wizards, but does average nearly 20 and 10. That’s good enough for me, especially considering how few big men are on the roster as it is.
· Center: Žydrunas Ilgauskas and David Lee: Are these guys the exact opposite of each other? Ilgauskas can post up, shoot the jumper, and make the majority off his defensive rotations. David Lee has very raw offensive skills, rebounds like a mad man, and apparently considers defense an act of treason because he doesn’t play it. The interesting thing to consider is that if it wasn’t for injuries Al Jefferson (above both of these guys) and Andrew Bynum (on this team over Lee) would find a spot on this team.
· The, uh, other two spots: Jose Calderon and Andre Iguodala: Calderon has battled injuries, but he distributes the ball without getting turnovers better than anyone else in the league and would be another Nash like choice in that he would get everyone involved. Iguodala is going to be the reason why the Sixers get and hold on to the fifth seed in the east. Remember, you heard it here first…unless I’m wrong in which case you can blame Jumpball’s co-writer Ankur. I don’t think he’ll mind, because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read this site. Zing!
· This team has enough big men to bother the East, and enough swing men to give the West fits. Do they win either game? I think they would have a better chance if Al Jefferson was healthy, but I don’t think its out of the question.
And with that, I am out. Enjoy the All Star game and expect another power rankings some time on Thursday of next week.