McGrady, Iverson in the Lead for Starting Spots in Latest All-Star Balloting Returns
It's right about now that I feel the overwhelming urge to include the #10yearsago hashtag that's been floating around Twitter today.
Going into a long-winded diatribe on how wrong it is to let the fans vote is pointless, because the All-Star game is, well, for the fans; the event's unapologetic purpose is to bring even the most casual observer's attention to the league during its weekend-long extravaganza. But it is worth noting that, by letting people who obviously aren't paying attention to how things have played out in the current season choose who makes the team, it leaves those players who statistically deserve to be recognized for their efforts holding the short end of the stick.
Let's start with McGrady who, after briefly falling behind Steve Nash for a starting spot out West, has regained his position in the third returns by a slim margin of 1,005 votes. Now, Nash will be the first person to tell you that he couldn't care less whether he starts the game, or even makes the team at all. And, whether the fans vote him in or not, the season he's having will make him a unanimous choice by the coaches to make the team as a reserve regardless.
But it's important that Nash comes back in the voting to claim the starting spot. Because if the fans continue to vote for T-Mac, that's going to be one less spot available for someone who truly deserves it.
McGrady is not an All-Star, and has barely played at all this season. He's only been showcased briefly by his team to show other clubs that he's healthy, and that his services deserve at least something of value in any trade scenario that may arise. So, if he isn't voted in as a starter, he's not making the team at all -- which would obviously free up one of the precious 12 roster spots for someone who really should be there.
Like Deron Williams, perhaps.
The man they call D-Wil in Utah has (incredibly) never been selected to an All-Star team, either as a starter or a reserve. And it's situations exactly like this one, where the fans vote in a player who was good two or three years ago (but not today) as a starter, that are to blame for a player of his caliber's exclusion.
With all of that being said, Williams is likely to make it this year, even if T-Mac ends up starting. Injuries have slowed perennials like Chauncey Billups and Tony Parker to the point where Williams should be a no-brainer as one of the three reserves at the guard spot, even if the other two are virtually automatically filled in by Nash and Chris Paul.
Out East, things aren't quite as clear.
Allen Iverson continues to hold his solid lead on a starting spot, comfortably ahead of Vince Carter by over 155,000 votes. Honestly, neither Iverson nor Carter are deserving of the All-Star label this season. A.I. has been injured and average at best, and seriously, look at Carter's 36 percent shooting through the first 11 games of December. Just dismal, despite VC's averages of 19 points, five rebounds, and three assists per game on one of the league's top teams.
But if you take Iverson out of the equation, who should start alongside Dwyane Wade at the guard spot for the East?
There's no clear-cut answer, but the consensus seems to be that Atlanta's Joe Johnson should be your man. The Hawks have been one of the surprise teams this season, and while they do get balanced contributions from a lot of players, Johnson is the unquestionable leader, and brings a consistent line of 21-5-5 to the arena every single night.
Beyond Johnson, there aren't a ton of obvious options in the East. We might end up with guys like Gerald Wallace and Joakim Noah as All-Stars, despite the fact that the Bobcats and the Bulls are sub-.500 teams that have been, overall, mostly awful this year. But none of that means that Iverson should go, and I'm sure the coaches would have little trouble finding someone far more deserving to plug into his spot.
2010 NBA All-Star Balloting: Third Returns
Forwards: LeBron James (Clev) 1,579,530; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 1,317,739; Chris Bosh (Tor) 644,473; Paul Pierce (Bos) 320,499; Josh Smith (Atl) 293,680; Andre Iguodala (Phi) 201,312; Danny Granger (Ind) 198,478; Michael Beasley (Mia) 163,737; Hedo Turkoglu (Tor) 117,168; Rashard Lewis (Orl) 114,359; Caron Butler (Was) 99,079.
Guards: Dwyane Wade (Mia) 1,539,968; Allen Iverson (Phi) 806,749; Vince Carter (Orl) 651,134; Ray Allen (Bos) 452,708; Gilbert Arenas (Was) 407,581; Derrick Rose (Chi) 344,435; Joe Johnson (Atl) 288,841; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 237,648; Mike Bibby (Atl) 139,484; Jose Calderon (Atl) 138,479.
Centers: Dwight Howard (Orl) 1,479,625; Shaquille O'Neal (Cle) 536,681; Al Horford (Atl) 157,050; Andrea Bargnani (Tor) 146,595; Brook Lopez (NJ) 133,106; Andrew Bogut (Mil) 115,915; Jermaine O'Neal (Mia) 98,397; Rasheed Wallace (Bos) 77,848; Kendrick Perkins (Bos) 48,612; Samuel Dalembert (Phi) 47,135; Tyson Chandler (Cha) 38,337; Brad Miller (Chi) 35,295.
Forwards: Carmelo Anthony (Den) 1,410,356; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 753,971; Tim Duncan (SA) 685,390; Pau Gasol (LAL) 667,767; Kevin Durant (OKC) 474,506; Trevor Ariza (Hou) 436,088; Luis Scola (Hou) 371,914; Shawn Marion (Dal) 282,421; Ron Artest (LAL) 234,618; Lamar Odom (LAL) 175,271; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 155,933.
Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,606,032; Tracy McGrady (Hou) 649,563; Steve Nash (Pho) 648,558; Chris Paul (NO) 622,619; Jason Kidd (Dal) 405,027; Aaron Brooks (Hou) 374,635; Chauncey Billups (Den) 281,911; Deron Williams (Utah) 255,059; Brandon Roy (Por) 224,350; Manu Ginobili (SA) 222,743; Jason Terry (Dal) 212,242.
Centers: Amar'e Stoudemire (Pho) 1,143,849; Andrew Bynum (LAL) 676,634; Nene (Den) 235,276; Marc Gasol (Mem) 190,476; Antonio McDyess (SA) 130,058; Greg Oden (Por) 124,037; Al Jefferson (Min) 119,580; Marcus Camby (LAC) 100,399; Andris Biedrins (GS) 90,464; Mehmet Okur (Utah) 87,838; Emeka Okafor (NO) 82,616; Spencer Hawes (Sac) 25,109.