Anyone should be an All-Star

20 12 2010

Would you be surprised if I told you I got into another Twitter argument? Of course not. I don’t try to fight with people. It’s not like I go around saying “Bah Humbug” to folks instead of “Happy Holidays,” or whatever the politically correct term is these days for basically saying “Merry Christmas.” But every now and then I see people — Twitterers, really — make statements that are too dumb not to challenge. And this latest one involves the debate of how NBA All-Star selections should be determined.

I tweeted that I included Kevin Love in my starting five for the West during my All-Star vote on You know K-Love, right? He’s the guy who leads the League in rebounding at 15.7 per game, the NBA’s highest rebounding average since Dennis Rodman grabbed 16 per game during the 1996-97 season. K-Love is the guy who has a double-double in 23 of the 28 games he’s played. (He came one rebound short of a double-double in two games, and two points and one ‘board short in another.) K-Love is the man with five 20-20 point-rebound games this season, including a 30-30. On Saturday, he put up a 43/17 with five three-pointers. He’s dominating the League. And yet a Raptors fan on Twitter alleged that if I think Love should be an All-Star, nevermind a starter, then Toronto Raptors softie Andrea Bargnani should be an All-Star. So said the fan, who believes the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 6-22 record should keep Love from becoming an All-Star. I can’t stand this way of thinking.

An All-Star should not just be a guy who plays on a good team. I understand valuing players who are on better teams, since their contributions lead to the ultimate result every player wants — winning. But it’s misguided to think players on bad teams should be eliminated from All-Star rosters just because their teammates aren’t doing their jobs. There’s another thing wrong with an argument that team wins should play a sizable factor in a player’s All-Star worthiness: How do you determine where the cutoff for wins should exist? Hypothetically speaking, say this Raptors fan told me that any player on a team with 10 or fewer wins right now shouldn’t be an All-Star. Would that mean a player’s productivity is relevant and worth rewarding at 10 wins, yet irrelevant at nine? That’s essentially the mindset one takes by prioritizing wins in a player’s All-Star vote. I don’t find that sensible or realistic.

If a player is dominating opponents on a nightly basis, there should be some reward for his play. And Love, of all players, is a special case. He leads the NBA in rebounding by 3.5 ‘boards per game, for crying out loud! Rebounding isn’t all he does. He’s averaging 21.1 points per game on the following shooting averages: 45.9 FG%, 43.2 3-PT%, 87.4 FT%. Keep in mind he’s a 6-10, 260-pound power forward. Kevin Love is easily one of the 24 best players in the NBA; he might be one of the 12 best. To say that he’s not an All-Star simply because his team is subpar is robbing him of a very deserving honor.



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