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Choosing the West Reserves

I figure the All-Star reserve selections will be slightly more rooted in, uh, logic than the starter selections, since (a) coaches have to be smarter than fans (right?) and (b) it would be hard to top Yi challenging KG for a starting role. Although... had Yi earned the start this year (injured, and with a 12 PER), it would have given the NBA a moment as awesome as Rafael Palmerio winning a Gold Glove at 1st base... after playing 135 of 158 games as DH. (Sorry, Lee. Although on a related note, Derek Jeter totally deserved his 3 gold gloves). Okay, now that we're so woefully off topic... might as well stray further, right? Has anyone seen this? I ran across it yesterday; apparently, that company prints out blog posts and publishes them in a "newspaper", once a week. Yeah, that's right, once a week. People in large cities vote for their favorite blogs, and the editors choose the "best" posts. So, basically, subscribers are at the whim of whatever other people in their city want to read, don't even get to choose what posts to read from those pre-chosen blogs, and get to do all this one time a week. Oh one more thing- it isn't delivered. You have to check in to a delivery station to pick up your copy. Judging from the media's reaction to this idea, I'm the only person that finds this more ridiculous than Raffy winning a Gold Glove.

And now back to the topic. From my understanding, the All-Star back-ups go 2 guards, 2 forwards, 1 center, and 2 randoms. Guard #1 has to be Brandon Roy. Dude's played amazing basketball thus far. Guard #2, I'm going with Mr. Parkaire. He's only played 32 games, but 2008 has been an off year for guards in general. I could see the coaches going with Billups for this pick. But if you look beyond Billups' hype, Parker has played significantly better basketball in 9 fewer games. Good enough, in my mind, to overcome the difference. I won't mind the pick going either way though. The guard "snub" would be Jason Terry, I guess. He's clearly played worse than Billups/Parker, but outplayed Deron Williams by a good bit. Steve Nash isn't even in the discussion for me. A 24% turnover percentage is flat out embarassing (he turns the ball over one in every four trips down the court). I'm sure he'll be in the discussion by virtue of the ASG being in Phoenix and all that... but he shouldn't be.

On to forwards. Also known as the most ambiguous position on the ballot. Like with the guards, Foward #1 is a no-brainer- Dirk. In all honesty, he should definitely be starting over Amare (or is it Amar'e?). The second forward is also straight forward- Pau Gasol. Just missing the cut would be Utah's Paul Millsap and, uh, nobody. This is definitely a pathetic crop of All Star forward options. Kevin Durant? Andrei Kirilenko? Sadly, David West isn't even in this discussion for me. More on him in a bit, but I'd take Durant over him in a heartbeat.

Center gets slightly more interesting. A rejuvenated Shaq has been playing almost as well as starter Yao Ming, stunningly enough. The big knock on him is that he sits out games (7 so far) by design. But 33 out of 40 games isn't too shabby. His closest competition has to be Al Jefferson of the T'Wolves. Marcus Camby has been impressive with the Clippers, but you have to consider that his rebounding rates have been inflated by the fact that there's literally nobody else on the floor with him. Brian Skinner has started the last 10 games! He should be commended for going hard every night on such an abysmal team, but Shaq and AlJeff have played better ball.

That brings us to the two wildcard spots, which is how DX got in last season. Logically, these should be the two best players left out, since we're not actually trying to build a good "team" here. Shrewd readers will recognize that one big name having a great year has been left by the wayside. That would be one Emmanuel Ginobili. He's been just as productive as Tony Parker, during his time on the foor. "Time on the floor" is the crucial factor here. 29 games played just isn't enough. There are guys that have played every game at comparable, if not with the same efficiency, and they should probably be rewarded. So my random #1 goes to Al Jefferson. Malign his defense all you want, but his offense is just too good to be ignored. He'd have to play world-class-abysmal defense to offset what he brings offensively. Maybe a T-Wolves fan can take this up with me, but I contend that he doesn't. The second spot is a 3 man race between Paul Millsap, Andris Biedrins, and Marcus Camby. Unfortuantely, Biedrins could be ruled out by default due to his recent injury despite being just as productive as Camby and Millsap. Toss-up between those two guys, you can't go wrong. I lean Millsap, but whatever.

Anyway, here's my final list:

  • Brandon Roy edges Nobody because He's Brandon Roy.
  • Tony Parker edges Billups because His superior play negates time missed.
  • Dirk Nowitzki edges Nobody because He should actually be starting, but the fans are like monkeys on acid, but stupider.
  • Pau Gasol edges Nobody because He's pretty good, but the West forwards pretty much uniformly suck.
  • Shaqtus edges A-Jefferson because Don't Worry About It.
  • Jefferson edges Cambilldrins because Just because Minnesota sucks, doesn't mean all its players do too.
  • Millsap edges Camby because I flipped a coin.

Anyways, a few closing words on Mr. West. Career low eFG% (and FG%) as a starter. Career low offensive rebounding rates. Career low defensive rebounding rate. Career low offensive efficiency as a starter. Second lowest assist rate as a starter. Career low PER as a starter. You can make a decent case that his first half has been a statistical anomaly, given the rest of his career. But there's no denying how off his game has been for these first 37 games. The people that called him a one time aberration as an All Star are chuckling right now, and I sadly have nothing to defend him with.

At least Tracy McGrady isn't starting.