All-Star considerations by Hollinger

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tense2
CTB MVP X2
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Per ESPN insider:

http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/ ... iem-101228

Choosing an All-Star team is never easy, but in the Western Conference this season it may be particularly difficult.

While the East and West aren't that far apart in the standings, they're still miles apart in depth of star power. Once again we find ourselves scraping the barrel to come up with 12 players in the East worthy of an All-Star selection, while in the West we must winnow down a much larger field.

Additionally, the West offers one particular wrinkle this season that may be unusual for the coaches doing the selecting -- the huge volume of players from bad-to-middling teams who are having All-Star caliber seasons.

This season's process may fly in the face of standard operating procedure, which is to fill the ballot with players from teams with winning records and deign to select players from sub-.500 teams only if they have an overwhelming case for inclusion. And by "overwhelming," I'm talking KG-in-Minnesota levels.

Indeed, the Western coaches could very well fill out the roster simply by taking players from teams with the top seven records, and they'd end up with 12 defensible choices at the end of it: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and either Paul Millsap or David West. Given the historical trend in this department, there's a fairly strong chance this will happen.

On the other hand, a list of the top 16 Western players in estimated wins added (EWA) includes only nine of those players, giving us seven interlopers from the West's lower classes with reasonably strong All-Star cases. Let's take a look at the résumés and see who might buck the recent trend:

Kevin Love, Minnesota (PER 23.67)

Love's team is a dismal 8-24, which normally would make him persona non grata for the coaches when making their All-Star picks. In this case, however, his résumé may be so overwhelming that he still gets in. Love leads the league in rebounding with a phenomenal 15.3 per game, even though his coach was limiting his minutes early in the season. He's also averaging 20.6 points per game with high efficiency, including a 44.1 percent mark on 3s, and is money from the line (87.6 percent). As a gold-medal winner for Team USA with a propensity for racking up headline-grabbing rebound totals, his statistical prowess might get him a closer look from the coaches.

Can all this overcome the name of the team on the front of his jersey? Based on history, I have my doubts, especially given how packed the Western Conference power forward position is -- it will be easy for coaches to find alternatives if they go searching. Nonetheless, Love's play thus far makes his candidacy hard to ignore, and in a fair world he'd get in.

Steve Nash, Phoenix (PER 23.63)

There may not be much room left at the inn for Western Conference guards, as Bryant, Paul, Westbrook, Williams and Ginobili are near-certain picks, leaving a maximum of one roster spot left over. The likes of Nash and Kevin Martin will vie with Parker for that spot.

Which, ironically, could leave Nash on the outs despite his threatening to set a career-high mark in PER. Nash's per-40-minute totals (21.0 points, 13.1 assists) remain phenomenal, and despite some unusually wayward 3-point shooting, his 61.5 true shooting percentage is stellar for a third straight season.

Unfortunately, the dismantling of the Suns' formidable supporting cast may work against him in the All-Star voting. Because of Phoenix's sub-.500 record, coaches will be more willing to ignore him in favor of Parker; and playing in a Western Conference where three point guards are MVP candidates does Nash few favors, even as a two-time MVP himself.

Nonetheless, I'd argue he's more worthy than Parker as the sixth Western guard, and if any injuries crop up, he'd be an easy replacement choice.

Kevin Martin, Houston (PER 22.58)

Here's an amazing stat for you: Martin leads the league in both 3-pointers made and free throws made. He'll be the first player in history to accomplish that double if he keeps it up the rest of the season.

Even more amazing, perhaps, is that he's doing this while playing only 31.8 minutes per game. As a result, Martin's scoring average (23.4) looks good rather than amazing, but on a per-minute basis, only Kobe Bryant scores more frequently.

Will those statistical markers be good enough to get him selected from a .500 team? (Houston players make this list because the team started 3-10 and didn't reach .500 until its comeback win over the Wizards on Monday.) I have my doubts.

First, Martin doesn't fit a lot of people's stereotype of what a go-to player "ought" to look like -- he rarely has the ball in his hands except when he's depositing it in the basket. This, unfortunately, tends to hurt his standing with old-school types. Second, there are some legitimate criticisms of his defense. Third, his teams haven't had a lot of success. And finally, the relatively low minutes and per-game totals are going to hurt him.

Blake Griffin, LA Clippers (PER 22.40)

Coaches get one pick for backup center, and I'd love to see them stretch the definition and include Griffin as that player. His YouTube dunk collection speaks for itself, but he's done a lot of the nuts and bolts of making an All-Star team too, by averaging 21.2 points, 12.5 boards and shooting 51.9 percent.

Like the other players here, Griffin has a major negative on the front of his jersey. The Paper Clips are just 10-22 in a conference that could have 11 teams finish at .500 or better. Will the coaches really plumb the depths of the standings this far down?

He faces another challenge known as "Kevin Love." One might imagine the coaches reaching for one exceptional player at the bottom of the standings -- but two? Given recent history, that seems highly unlikely. Yet on pure merit, Griffin probably belongs.

Luis Scola, Rockets (PER 19.85)

Despite an impressive start to his season and a résumé that would almost certainly get him selected in the East, Scola has virtually no chance of making the Western squad. I don't list him here to belittle his credentials, but rather to illustrate the incredible depth of the Western Conference power forward position this year. Scola, Love, Griffin, Millsap, West and Nowitzki appear to be competing for a maximum of four spots and perhaps as few as two. And that list leaves off other luminaries having strong years, including LaMarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph and Lamar Odom.

(Side note: After hearing Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy talk about Lamar Odom's All-Star candidacy on the Christmas Day broadcast, one might think he holds a more prominent place in the West pecking order. In reality, he's fairly far down the list, especially if the Lakers stay in only third place in the West.)

Eric Gordon, LA Clippers (21.19) and Monta Ellis, Warriors (20.40)

Gordon has no chance whatsoever because of Griffin's candidacy -- it's almost inconceivable that coaches will write two names from the 10-22 Clippers on their ballots when submitting just one name from such a squad is a rare feat in itself. Nonetheless, I wanted to note his impressive start to the season, one that has him tied for 11th in the West in EWA.

The man he's tied with, Ellis, is in a similar conundrum. Like Gordon, he is playing a ton of minutes for a lousy team (Golden State stands at 12-18), and the depth of the guard position out West and his team's aversion to defense both conspire against him. So does his plus/minus; while better than last season's league-worst differential, it still doesn't make much of a case that he's a difference-making player. The Warriors have been only 0.8 points per 100 possessions better when he's on the court compared to when he's on the bench.

As with the players above, Ellis' strengths -- a stellar 25.4 points per 40 minutes and improved shooting percentages -- would probably be enough to help him make the cut in the East. In this conference, however, he faces long odds to selection, as do most of the other names on this list from the lower regions of the Western Conference standings.

MrB
Clipper All-Star
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How can this guy compare BG to Love? The Wolves have a worse record by 2 games which he says for the Clippers is just horrible. We have more wins and Blake has just as many double doubles as Love. He also says a major negative is being a Clipper and not a Wolf. Damn this guy is moron.

tense2
CTB MVP X2
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...Love is dynamic player as his stats show...he's just not as "spectacular" player as Blake is, that's all...so I'm not sure what your saying....and as well as we've been playing lately...the Clippers are still 10-22

MrB
Clipper All-Star
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He says the Wolves are dismal and this is true but the Clippers have been improving. He gives them no credit for it. They won't be 12 games under .500 come the All Star game.

Plus you gotta add in the Star Power Blake has. Love is great but doesn't have the impact of that Blake has. I am probably biased though.

tense2
CTB MVP X2
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...their both on bad teams......for now. Love should and will be one of the elite PF's along with Blake in the future.

LotsoHope
Clipper All-Star
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Love is a beast in his own right, but for the glam and offense-only mentality of an All-Star game as well as Los Angeles representation, picking Blake to dunk Staples Center into the stone age is a no-brainer even for the coaches. The problem is that the West is stacked with so many All-Star level power forwards, but the coaches picking Griffin as a C is an interesting prospect I hadn't thought of. The only other bubble candidate on that list that I think should go is Monta Ellis, he is pure scoring candy this season. I love you EJ, but for an All-Star game, I want to see some high-flying action and EJ is too quiet for my taste.

ClippersSince97
Clipper All-Star
Posts: 1566
Location: Lob City
votes: 7

wolves are a worse team than the clippers. blake puts on a show night in and night out and the all star game is just that, one game where all the stars get together to put on a show. it'll be pretty boring to see kevin love just grab rebounds as opposed to superstars lobbing the ball to blake and him doing crazy dunks. rebounds or crazy dunks? hmm.... i choose dunks.

seanrooks
Clipper All-Star
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insider really sucks...there's another story about blake by david thorpe that's on espn. can anyone paste that here too?

clipper*joe
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The one thing I've said from the start is that this year's ASG will be held here. That gives Griffin the edge and it makes it harder for the league to overlook that. If it's between Love and Griffin, Griffin is a shoe-in.

tense2
CTB MVP X2
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....this doesn't take away how great Love is......again as perviously stated...Bake is just more spectacular

tense2
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...that is the only deciding factor

ekker3
CTB MVP X2
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EJ deserves the all-star nod much more than blake does. he's by far and away our MVP yet no one gives him the deserved credit.

the race for the #2 spot is kobe (who'll obviously get voted in), manu (who's a LOCK), kevin martin, and eric gordon. if we can get on a hot streak and get a decent record going into the break, i dont see why EJ cant get that 3rd spot.

clipper*joe
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tense2 wrote:
clipper*joe wrote:
The one thing I've said from the start is that this year's ASG will be held here. That gives Griffin the edge and it makes it harder for the league to overlook that. If it's between Love and Griffin, Griffin is a shoe-in.

...that is the only deciding factor

Not exactly. The ASG is about popularity. Love isn't on the same level as Blake. I don't see Love plastered all over Youtube like Blake is. ASG is about the same as Youtube. It's about popularity.

tense2
CTB MVP X2
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....unfortunately EJ has no shot...unless there's a sh!t load of injuries or drop outs

tense2
CTB MVP X2
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clipper*joe wrote:
tense2 wrote:
clipper*joe wrote:
The one thing I've said from the start is that this year's ASG will be held here. That gives Griffin the edge and it makes it harder for the league to overlook that. If it's between Love and Griffin, Griffin is a shoe-in.

...that is the only deciding factor

Not exactly. The ASG is about popularity. Love isn't on the same level as Blake. I don't see Love plastered all over Youtube like Blake is. ASG is about the same as Youtube. It's about popularity.

..and I was talking about talent...but your right regarding popularity

seanrooks
Clipper All-Star
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hey tense can you post the newest thorpe insider story about griffin?

pageC4
CTB MVP X1
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clipper*joe wrote:
tense2 wrote:
clipper*joe wrote:
The one thing I've said from the start is that this year's ASG will be held here. That gives Griffin the edge and it makes it harder for the league to overlook that. If it's between Love and Griffin, Griffin is a shoe-in.

...that is the only deciding factor

Not exactly. The ASG is about popularity. Love isn't on the same level as Blake. I don't see Love plastered all over Youtube like Blake is. ASG is about the same as Youtube. It's about popularity.

Very true. SAdly, over time alot of deserving players have not made the game due to their team not having exposure or their play not being flashy enough. Luckily for us Griffin is both fundamental and flash.

SamMays
CTB MVP X1
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The thing that could work against Blake Griffin playing in the all-star game is that he will already be in the frosh/soph game and the dunk contest... That, and obviously playing for a losing team.

david
Site Admin
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votes: 42

Hilarious this Hollinger guy using his very own precious PER stat to give Love the edge over Blake. "So overwhelming?" Obviously he's never seen Blake play other than watch the highlights. And obviously he never compared the head-to-head #'s between the two players either.

tense2
CTB MVP X2
Posts: 8769
votes: 20

..you can't blame Hollinger for how good Love really is.....you can compare for yourself....both are the future elite PF's:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/pla ... eke01.html

http://www.basketball-reference.com/pla ... fbl01.html

dwb
Clipper Starter
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Love and Griffin... obviously both great players, and for years to come if we're lucky. Blake is spectacular, (yeah I know... duh) but don't ever discount Love. He has become the undisputed and vocal leader of his team, which might be a lesser entity now, but is only a player or two away. That's a lot for a young guy, and says much about his character. Love won't wow anyone with his dunks, but there is no one in the league who touches his outlet passes, saving of course the guys he throws them to. Seriously, at that particular skill I've never seen anyone close, and yes, he may well be better at it than even the fabled Wes Unseld. Love even has a pretty good UTube resume, check out his trick shots. He was on Sports Science doing the full court shot, and though his missed a bunch 'til he made one almost all of his tries were off the rim. The thing I like most about both these guys is that they are smart players. High basketball IQ isn't the most common quality nowadays, and it makes both extra fun to watch. The fact that both are bright, fun loving types (and evidently friends) with major personality doesn't hurt either. Believe me, when David Stern counts his blessings, Griffin and Love are at the top of his list. Whether or not either makes the All Star team this year, both are mortal locks for the game down the road.

tense2
CTB MVP X2
Posts: 8769
votes: 20

^^^^This

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