Thursday, January 24, 2013

2013 All-Star breakdown

All-Star selections are always a hot topic of debate, as there are many deserving players every season, and only 12 slots available (pending injuries).  The fans get to pick 5 players, while the coaches get to pick 7.

Most fans have only casual interest in the NBA, reside in major markets, and many are unfamiliar with players on teams other than their own.  All of these factors lead to a heavily biased process in ALL major sports (not just the NBA).  The majority of controversial all-star starters have been due to fan voting, and the 2012-13 season has been no exception.  This is a game FOR the fans, so this process isn't going away anytime soon.  However we absolutely need to note that fan bias towards popular players often leads to better, more talented players not being selected.  B.J. Armstrong, Steve Francis, rookie Yao Ming, and this season, Dwight Howard.

On the coaching side, they are much more involved in the NBA and have a much more insightful approach than the vast majority of fans (and even analysts).  A debatable aspect of coach selections is that they will look at player's statistical production, but also look at how many wins that player's team has won, often rewarding secondary stars on good teams while penalizing similarly talented players playing next to fringe talent.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim was snubbed numerous times in the 90s while playing by himself in Vancouver.  At the same time we saw FOUR Los Angeles Lakers players selected in 1998: Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Eddie Jones, and Nick Van Exel.  While the fans wanted to see an exciting 19-year old Kobe who was good but not an all-star yet (Eddie Jones, coach selection who started over Kobe was the better player), the coaches made an even worse pick with the erratic Van Exel.

Reggie Miller was snubbed in 1994 in favor of the likes of B.J. Armstrong (fans), Kenny Anderson (fans), John Starks (coaches), Mookie Blaylock (coaches), all players whose teams had better records than Miller's.  As we all know, "non-star" Reggie carried his 5th seed Pacers to game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals that year, where he did this...

You may notice coach selection John Starks getting worked.  The mere thought of the erratic Starks having to carry a team like Reggie did is nauseating. Yet the coaches still took Starks, because he was a key contributor on a top 2 team in the east while Reggie was the best player on a "mediocre" team.

Finally, NBA commissioner David Stern is not without fault in the selection process either (he selects any injury replacements).  As recently as 2010, Stern snubbed Carlos Boozer (20/12 on 53 win team) in favor of Chris Kaman (19/9 on 29 win team).

If we are to use the criteria of Individual and Team Success, there must be a balance between the two in order to get the right players selected.  Not only do fans want to see the best players, but there is a ton of money tied into the careers of players that do and don't make it.   Aside from players having all-star incentives in their contracts, they become more marketable by becoming "stars".  The players named to the all-star team are essentially the faces of the NBA.  They're the players teams highlight in their ticket packages.  Stars make and break sports, ESPECIALLY in the NBA.  The idea of an elite talent like Kyrie Irving missing the game because his team of D-Leaguers won fewer games than decent players on good teams (J.R. Smith or Jamal Crawford, for example) would simply be a disappointing development for ALL fans of the NBA, whether they realize it or not.

Thus, we need to find some kind of balance between the primary factors individual and team success.  How best can we separate those who are truly worthy from the pretenders?

Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and Win Shares (WS) are some of the more popular advanced statistics out there and I believe we can use them jointly to determine who the most deserving players are.   One other factor to consider is minutes played, as a player who has missed a significant portion of the season should not be rewarded over a player who has played the majority of his team's games (consequently having a larger contribution to their success).

PER is a great, all-encompassing stat that can be an effective measure of individual talent when taken in context, but is not without it's flaws, and it's important to understand what they are.  PER does not quantify defense other than steals, blocks, and defensive rebounds.  It also favors high-usage players, who can often be sixth men/role players in limited minutes, or players on bad teams (not limited to legit stars here).   WS weights a player's contributions towards his team's success (wins), which I believe makes it the perfect counterbalance, as it should weed out the players who are putting up big numbers on bad teams AND the decent players on good teams who aren't contributing as much to their teams as the media would like you to think.  WS also favors players who have played more minutes (PER ignores games missed due to injuries, suspensions, etc).



(Listed players played a minimum of 1000 minutes prior to 1/24/13)

Player Efficiency Rating
22.2 Kyrie Irving
20.0 Jose Calderon
19.2 Kemba Walker
19.0 Ramon Sessions
18.8 Jrue Holiday
18.3 Deron Williams
18.2 Rajon Rondo (Starter)
17.5 Brandon Jennings
16.2 Jason Kidd
16.0 Jameer Nelson
15.9 George Hill
15.1 Jeff Teague
12.7 Brandon Knight
12.2 Mario Chalmers
10.0 Kirk Hinrich

Win Shares
4.7 Deron Williams
4.4 George Hill
4.1 Jose Calderon
3.5 Brandon Jennings
3.5 Jason Kidd
3.2 Kyrie Irving
3.0 Rajon Rondo (Starter)
2.8 Kemba Walker
2.5 Jrue Holiday
2.5 Jeff Teague
2.4 Ramon Sessions
2.2 Jameer Nelson
1.7 Kirk Hinrich
1.4 Brandon Knight

Right from the jump we can see the top 5 PER PGs in the east all play for sub .500 teams.  I wouldn't box Kyrie in with Calderon, Kemba, Sessions, or Holiday though, because his PER is 2-3 points better and a lot of his production would surely carry over to a more talented team.  The same cannot be said for guys like Kemba, Sessions, and even Jrue Holiday whose increase in statistical production has gone hand-in-hand with Philadelphia's fall from the playoff picture this season.

Interestingly (but not shockingly), Deron Williams leads all East PGs in Win Shares.  Many so-called "experts" have been calling for D-Will to miss the game, fueled by his own comments when Avery Johnson got fired, that he wasn't having a good season.  A below average season for Deron Williams is still a better season than most everyone else.  The Nets have played much better since Avery Johnson was fired however, and they are 3rd in the eastern conference.  and if Deron DOES get snubbed by the coaches, it is a gigantic sham.

George Hill ranking 2nd in WS is somewhat surprising, but at the same time the Pacers are winning ball games and Hill does play 35 minutes per game.  We can see from Hill's PER that he isn't a great individual player.

Jose Calderon is atop both PER and WS lists, which makes tons of sense to Raptors fans.  Toronto has been playing much better ever since Calderon became the full-time starter.   He is a poor man's Steve Nash and I honestly think he makes a better pick than Kyrie Irving or Jrue Holiday would.  Calderon is a free agent next summer and a candidate to be traded at the deadline - take note of this if he ends up on a championship caliber team.

Rajon Rondo is only middle of the pack on both lists, which makes sense, as his team has been decidedly mediocre, a game under .500 residing in 8th place.  His PER is right there with Deron Williams, and looking at the team records it's easy to say the fans made a mistake in taking Rondo over D-Will.

Given how well Kyrie has played, I would give him a pass for generating only slightly fewer wins than Brandon Jennings and Jason Kidd.  I think it's also clear you have to take him over Jrue Holiday who seems to be getting more consideration.  Holiday's team is also losing, but unlike Kyrie he actually has some talent around him.  Give Jason Richardson, Evan Turner, and Thaddeus Young to Irving instead of Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee, Tyler Zeller, and his team would be in 9th too.

Player Efficiency Rating
23.4 Dwyane Wade (Starter)
16.6 J.J. Redick
16.4 Louis Williams
16.1 J.R. Smith
15.8 Monta Ellis
15.8 Jordan Crawford
14.7 Joe Johnson
13.9 DeMar DeRozan
13.5 Arron Afflalo
13.3 Rodney Stuckey
12.9 Bradley Beal
12.7 Dion Waiters
11.8 Lance Stephenson
11.6 Jason Terry
10.7 Kyle Singler

Win Shares
4.5 Dwyane Wade (Starter)
3.4 Joe Johnson
3.1 J.J. Redick
2.7 Louis Williams
2.6 J.R. Smith
2.0 Arron Afflalo
2.0 Kyle Singler
1.8 Monta Ellis
1.8 DeMar DeRozan
1.8 Jason Terry
1.5 Bradley Beal
1.3 Jordan Crawford
0.5 Dion Waiters

You'll notice that only six qualifying SGs had a PER above 15.0 (league average), compared to twelve PGs.  The reason for this is simple - PGs are far more ball dominant and almost always more valuable than their SG counterparts.  After Dwyane Wade (who might as well be a PG playing next to Mario Chalmers), four of the next five players are high-volume sixth men (while the 5th, Monta Ellis, is a bonafide chucker who SHOULD be coming off the bench).

Contrary to what Charles Barkley and the TNT panel would have you believe, Dwyane Wade is alive and well.  He is averaging 21/5/5 and leads all SGs with 51 FG%. and 1.7 BLK%.  Overall, he has been the best guard in the eastern conference, and anyone who thinks he could no longer lead a bad team to a .500 record (like James Harden) should stop kidding themselves.

Joe Johnson has not played at his usual all-star standards, but has still been a solid contributor to a winning team.

Many NY fans have been making an argument for J.R. Smith to get consideration, and glancing at this list, it's easy to see why as there is no other SG anywhere close to Dwyane Wade's level.  However we aren't selecting "Shooting Guards" to the All-Star team.  We are selecting "GUARDS".  We can go back to the PG list and find plenty of players who are having seasons just as good (if not better) than J.R. Smith.

The coaches SHOULD take all point guards with their "backcourt" selections for the same exact reason why they are taking "frontcourt" players rather than forwards and a "center".  If J.R. Smith really is the 2nd best SG in the east, the coaches shouldn't (and hopefully won't) feel pigeon-holed into selecting him, because he hasn't been a top five GUARD.

Redick and Sweet Lou rank above J.R. Smith on both lists, and I simply do not understand the argument for Smith to be named an all-star.  He is playing the best basketball of his career, but that doesn't mean it has been all-star caliber play.  Smith is allegedly playing better defense, which might be a little more meaningful if the Knicks weren't 17th defensively this season (down from 5th last season).  He has had just as many bad games as he's had good ones.  Smith has scored 78 points on 91 shots over his last five games.  The Knicks went 2-3, beating the lottery bound Pistons and Hornets while losing to the playoff-bound Pacers, Bulls, and Nets.

It has seemingly gone unnoticed that J.R. Smith himself is the one who started beating the drum for his all-star candidacy.  Smith of course, is in a contract year and the monetary reasons behind some shameless self-promotion are obvious.  I don't think the coaches will be fooled, as J.R. still has a long history to overcome, and let's face it, J.R. on a bad team is no different than O.J. Mayo on a bad team.  He'll score a ton of points, but will he win them more games?  On a good team?  He's the erratic super-sub that we all either love or hate.

Player Efficiency Rating
30.3 LeBron James (Starter)
25.2 Carmelo Anthony (Starter)
19.0 Paul Pierce
17.4 Paul George
15.6 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
15.2 Luol Deng
14.2 Kyle Korver
13.7 Gerald Wallace
13.4 Evan Turner
13.3 Martell Webster
13.2 Tayshaun Prince
11.0 Alonzo Gee

Win Shares
8.9 LeBron James (Starter)
4.9 Carmelo Anthony (Starter)
4.7 Paul George
3.7 Luol Deng
3.6 Paul Pierce
2.7 Martell Webster
2.4 Tayshaun Prince
2.2 Gerald Wallace
1.7 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
1.6 Evan Turner
1.1 Alonzo Gee

This is LeBron's sixth consecutive season leading the league in PER.  Where does that accomplishment place him in NBA history?

PER League Leaders
9x Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (over 11 seasons)
8x Wilt Chamberlain (including 7 straight)
7x Michael Jordan (7 straight)
6x LeBron James (6 straight)
5x Shaquille O'Neal (5 straight)

LeBron is the dominant player of his generation, and may yet prove to be the most dominant of all-time.  This is also another instance where Michael Jordan's temporary retirement hurts him, as we have no way of knowing whether Jordan could have kept it up another two seasons to match Kareem.  As it stands, LeBron may well tie Jordan next season.

Carmelo Anthony's career season (finally) justifies his selection to the starting lineup by the fans.  However, by also voting for Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett, Celtics fans may have unwittingly snubbed Paul Pierce.  Pierce leads the Celtics in both PER and WS yet could find himself watching the all-star game from home, as the coaches may feel reluctant to select a 3rd player from an 8th place team.

Paul George is also having a solid season filling in for Danny Granger.  While George's individual performance isn't quite star caliber, the team is winning games and if the choice for the final spot comes down to George or J.R. Smith (who would be the 3rd star taken on a marginally better Knicks team), the coaches should not hesitate to reward the young swingman.  It bears noting that the coaches may vote for George as a guard, rather than as a front-court player, which would make him more likely to be selected.

Player Efficiency Rating
19.2 David West
18.4 Carlos Boozer
17.4 Josh Smith
17.4 Thaddeus Young
15.1 Tristan Thompson
12.9 Jason Maxiell
11.0 Brandon Bass

Win Shares
4.7 David West
3.8 Carlos Boozer
3.6 Thaddeus Young
2.7 Tristan Thompson
1.9 Jason Maxiell
1.8 Josh Smith
1.7 Brandon Bass

The list of qualifying players is small, and it's because most quality PFs have since moved on to play the center position (facilitating the NBA's need to get rid of the "center" distinction.

David West and Carlos Boozer have drawn some consideration as they and their teams have played well.  I would give the edge to West over Boozer, as while they are similar players on similar teams, West does play two more minutes per game than Boozer.

Josh Smith might have gotten consideration in previous seasons but he started off the year poorly, and did not do himself any favors getting kicked out of practice recently.  A quick look at his WS shows us that his PER is merely a function of high high usage rate, and that his inefficient scoring means he isn't helping the team as much as former all-star Al Horford (who is getting no consideration this year despite out-playing the volatile Smith all season).

Player Efficiency Rating
25.4 Brook Lopez
21.4 Tyson Chandler
21.0 Chris Bosh
18.5 Greg Monroe
18.4 Kevin Garnett (Starter)
18.2 Al Horford
17.9 Amir Johnson
16.9 Joakim Noah
16.9 Nikola Vucevic
15.2 Roy Hibbert
10.7 Tyler Zeller
9.8 Bismack Biyombo

Win Shares
6.5 Tyson Chandler
4.9 Chris Bosh
4.4 Joakim Noah
4.2 Al Horford
4.1 Brook Lopez
3.5 Amir Johnson
3.3 Nikola Vucevic
3.1 Kevin Garnett (Starter)
3.0 Greg Monroe
2.4 Roy Hibbert
0.8 Tyler Zeller
0.4 Bismack Biyombo

As with the PG/SG PER comparison, Centers are much more important to NBA teams than PF play in today's NBA.  There are very few "true centers" left in the NBA as we have shifted to an era where speed and skill matter much more than size and brute strength.  Ironically enough, the rules changes actually will actually help deserving centers make it this season.  Instead of being forced to take PFs like Boozer or West the coaches could opt to take all centers with their frontcourt selections, since players like Chris Bosh and Kevin Garnett are natural PFs.  That decision is also made easier with two SFs being to the starting lineup.

Tyson Chandler has by and large been the best center in the Eastern Conference ever since coming to New York.  Chandler is the league's most efficient player, leading the league in True Shooting% handily thanks to his finishing ability around the rim, and was named Defensive Player of the Year last season (though he hasn't been as effective on that end this season).  It should not be lost on NBA fans (and certainly not Knicks fans) that Tyson has the 2nd highest WS in the Eastern Conference.  Tyson is a lock for the game which is yet another reason why I don't understand the J.R. Smith sentiment, as there's no way J.R. makes the team before it's heart and soul.

Brook Lopez has been nothing short of spectacular this season, ranking 4th in the league in PER, having improved his defense and rebounding substantially, and is surely Comeback Player of the Year after missing nearly all of last season due to foot injuries.  Lopez's WS would be higher if he didn't miss time this season, and also played more minutes (29 mpg is low for a star).  There is actually a chance Lopez will NOT be selected simply because of how deep the position is.  With that said, I think he is a lock to make it especially since there is some Anti-Deron sentiment floating in the coaches minds and that at least one of them needs to be selected.

Chris Bosh has quietly had another all-star caliber season playing behind LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, and if there's a team in the league that will bring three all-stars to the All-Star game, it will be the Miami Heat (J.R. Smith fans should also take note of what a real 3rd all-star looks like).

Carlos Boozer leads the Bulls in PER, but Joakim Noah leads them in WS as he plays seven more minutes per game as the core of their elite defense.  He deserves to be the Bulls' All-Star this season.

A case could be made for Al Horford, but due to position depth and the Hawks collapse in the standings, he will likely be passed over.  It's a shame, because the Hawks have had a better season than fan voted starter Kevin Garnett's Celtics


Rashidi's East All-Stars
PG: Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams, Kyrie Irving
SG: Dwyane Wade, Paul George
SF: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony
PF: Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh
C: Tyson Chandler, Brook Lopez, Joakim Noah

Paul Pierce is surely a better player than Paul George (for now), but I could not with good conscience send three Celtics and no Pacers.  I have a feeling the coaches will see things that way as well.  I also think it's likely the coaches will see things my way and give George guard votes due to a lack of better alternatives (he is normally at SG when Danny Granger is healthy).  David West is having a good year but simply not at the level of his front-court counterparts.

Notable Non-Qualifiers
Ed Davis (PF): 983 minutes, 18.4 PER, 3.0 WS
Larry Sanders (C): 976 minutes, 18.5 PER, 3.2 WS
Anderson Varejao (C): 901 minutes, 22.0 PER, 3.4 WS
Andray Blatche (C): 855 minutes, 23.1 PER, 3.2 WS
Andre Drummond (C): 838 minutes, 22.9 PER, 3.7 WS
Kyle Lowry (PG): 808 minutes, 22.0 PER, 3.3 WS

Anderson Varejao was well on his way to the all-star game before injuries knocked him out for the season.

Andray Blatche has been crazy good behind Brook Lopez, which begs the question of whether their numbers are a product of the Nets system.  Blatche very well may be a legit starting center, but we won't find out until next season.

Andre Drummond leads the Pistons in PER and WS (despite playing on 22 mpg!) yet the Pistons won't play him over Jason Maxiell.  Drummond is only 19 and it's conceivable the Pistons have a superstar that they're treating with kid gloves.  Don't be surprised to see him in the all-star game next season.

The Raptors have a decision to make with Kyle Lowry and Jose Calderon.  Both are putting up fantastic numbers but they can only keep one beyond this season.  Which one gets traded?



Player Efficiency Rating
26.1 Chris Paul (Starter)
23.0 Russell Westbrook
22.9 Tony Parker
19.8 Stephen Curry
17.3 Goran Dragic
17.0 Jarrett Jack
16.8 Michael Conley
16.8 Grevis Vasquez
16.6 Damian Lillard
16.4 Darren Collison
15.2 Andre Miller
14.9 Ty Lawson
14.3 Jeremy Lin
13.3 Luke Ridnour

Win Shares
7.8 Chris Paul (Starter)
6.2 Tony Parker
6.0 Russell Westbrook
5.1 Stephen Curry
4.2 Michael Conley
3.5 Damian Lillard
3.3 Jarrett Jack
3.0 Goran Dragic
3.0 Darren Collison
2.5 Andre Miller
2.3 Grevis Vasquez
2.3 Ty Lawson
2.3 Luke Ridnour
2.1 Jeremy Lin

Westbrook and Parker are locks to be selected to the All-Star team, while Stephen Curry also has a good argument to make it.  Unlike the east, the west is more clear cut as the best PGs are all playing for the best teams.

Player Efficiency Rating
23.4 Kobe Bryant (Starter)
22.0 James Harden
16.7 O.J. Mayo
16.7 Jamal Crawford
16.3 Kevin Martin
16.2 Gordon Hayward
15.9 Jared Dudley
14.3 Shannon Brown
14.2 Wesley Matthews
14.0 Andre Iguodala
12.9 Klay Thompson
12.6 Randy Foye
12.4 Tony Allen
12.2 Alexey Shved
11.9 Thabo Sefolosha

Win Shares
6.1 Kobe Bryant (Starter)
6.0 James Harden
4.3 Kevin Martin
3.3 Thabo Sefolosha
3.2 Jared Dudley
3.0 O.J. Mayo
2.9 Jamal Crawford
2.8 Wesley Matthews
2.7 Danny Green
2.5 Gordon Hayward
2.4 Klay Thompson
2.4 Tony Allen
2.3 Andre Iguodala
2.2 Randy Foye
1.4 Shannon Brown
1.1 Alexey Shved

While the quality of SGs out west is much better than the east, PG is still the more talented position.  Beyond Kobe and Harden, no other SG should make the all-star team, paving the way for a PG like Curry to make it.

As with J.R. Smith in the east, Jamal Crawford has been getting all-star consideration and I simply don't get it.  He is a volume scorer and would have to be the 3rd player taken on his team to make it.  Frankly, Crawford isn't even the best backup on his team (that honor goes to Matt Barnes who is quietly in the middle of a career year).  Crawford hasn't done anything to separate himself from Kevin Martin or O.J. Mayo either.

The consideration for Crawford and J.R. Smith surely stems from the fantastic season James Harden had last season, as the media has finally realized the value that sixth men can have.  With that said, Harden was historically efficient last season, while Crawford and J.R. are absolutely not (and never will be).  There is a reason Harden was drawing comparisons to fellow super-sub All-Star player Manu Ginobili, while the likes of Crawford and Kevin Martin are not.

Player Efficiency Rating
29.2 Kevin Durant (Starter)
18.5 Andrei Kirilenko
17.6 Nicolas Batum
17.6 Matt Barnes
16.8 Danilo Gallinari
16.4 Vince Carter
16.2 Shawn Marion
14.9 Corey Brewer
14.3 Rudy Gay
14.2 Metta World Peace
14.2 Chandler Parsons
12.3 John Salmons
11.2 Harrison Barnes

Win Shares
10.8 Kevin Durant (Starter)
4.3 Nicolas Batum
4.3 Danilo Gallinari
4.2 Matt Barnes
3.9 Andrei Kirilenko
3.3 Metta World Peace
3.2 Chandler Parsons
2.4 Rudy Gay
2.4 Vince Carter
2.3 Shawn Marion
2.1 Corey Brewer
1.5 Harrison Barnes
1.3 John Salmons

Durant is 2nd in the league in PER and leads the league in WS which makes him my pick for MVP in the first half of the NBA season.  Durant is right there with LeBron as a player which is interesting because they both play the same position.  I can't recall another time in NBA history where the top two players played the same position.  One can make a case for David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994 and 1995, so anytime LeBron and Durant matchup as they did in last season's Finals, it is truly something special.

After Durant there is a huge dropoff in SF talent.  There are plenty of solid players in the west like Kirilenko, Batum, and Gallinari, but none who have taken the next step to that all-star level.  I'm not sure I would take any of them with so many talented frontcourt players at PF and C.

It's crazy how good Matt Barnes has been, outplaying starter Caron Butler by a large margin.  Barnes also outplayed Metta World Peace last season also, yet has been unable to get contracts paying better than the minimum.  Something tells me he won't have that problem this summer.

Player Efficiency Rating
22.8 Blake Griffin (Starter)
20.5 Tiago Splitter
20.4 Paul Millsap
19.6 David Lee
19.6 LaMarcus Aldridge
19.3 Ryan Anderson
19.1 Zach Randolph
18.8 Kenneth Faried
18.7 Serge Ibaka
18.0 Carl Landry
17.2 Luis Scola
15.4 Jason Thompson
12.3 Boris Diaw

Win Shares
5.9 Blake Griffin (Starter)
5.0 Tiago Splitter
4.9 David Lee
4.7 Zach Randolph
4.6 Serge Ibaka
4.5 Kenneth Faried
4.4 Paul Millsap
4.2 Ryan Anderson
4.0 LaMarcus Aldridge
3.7 Carl Landry
3.0 Boris Diaw
2.4 Luis Scola
2.1 Jason Thompson

Tiago Splitter might be the most underrated player in the NBA right now, and would be an easy candidate this season IF he were getting more minutes (only 26 mpg).  Despite playing only 26 mpg, Splitter is 2nd among west PFs in Win Shares, ahead of All-Star caliber players like David Lee, Zach Randolph, and LaMarcus Aldridge who are playing 10 more minutes per game.  Splitter, who had 25 points on 10-11 shooting last night (DNP for Tim Duncan) is primed for a larger role as the rest of the Spurs core continues to age.

Between Lee, Randolph, Ibaka, Millsap, Anderson, and Aldridge, the competition is so tight and all are worthy of all-star consideration. In this instance I would give the nod to Lee, Randolph, and Ibaka because of their team success.  Millsap and Anderson aren't playing as many minutes as the other guys.  Aldridge also has an outside chance since his team is (surprisingly) in the playoff picture and he's playing a ton of minutes.  However Aldridge is actually having a down year and he's getting a ton of help from his teammates (notably Damian Lillard and J.J. Hickson).

Player Efficiency Rating
24.9 Tim Duncan
21.1 DeMarcus Cousins
20.6 Al Jefferson
20.0 J.J. Hickson
19.8 Dwight Howard (Starter)
19.9 Nikola Pekovic
19.9 Robin Lopez
19.1 Marc Gasol
16.6 DeAndre Jordan
16.5 Marcin Gortat
14.6 Omer Asik
8.3 Kendrick Perkins

Win Shares
5.8 Marc Gasol
5.6 Tim Duncan
4.3 Al Jefferson
3.9 J.J. Hickson
3.7 Dwight Howard (Starter)
3.4 Nikola Pekovic
3.1 Robin Lopez
3.0 DeAndre Jordan
3.0 Marcin Gortat
2.6 DeMarcus Cousins
2.4 Omer Asik
1.3 Kendrick Perkins

While the west is stacked at center just like the east, there isn't really a sizable gap between the PFs and Cs, while there also aren't any PFs playing out of position either (aside from J.J. Hickson, whose game is extremely ill-suited for PF).

Tim Duncan has had a resurgent season and will be voted in by the coaches, as it's been blatantly obvious to all except Lakers/Howard fans that Tim Duncan should be starting in this game.

Speaking of Howard, whose Lakers have one more win than the Sacramento Kings, it should say something that J.J. Hickson has outplayed him this season.  Howard's selection by the fans likely means that one of either Marc Gasol or Al Jefferson will be snubbed, as I think the majority of the basketball world is in agreement that Howard has not played at an all-star level (something the numbers also back up).

DeMarcus Cousins had a great PER but that's due to his high usage on his awful team.  He ranks 3rd worst among WS qualifiers.  I for one am not looking forward to the max contract extension he'll end up getting next summer.


Rashidi's West All-Stars
PG: Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker
SG: Kobe Bryant, James Harden
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Blake Griffin, David Lee, Zach Randolph
C: Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, Marc Gasol

I personally would love to have Stephen Curry make the all-star team, but unfortunately coaches have to take three guards and four frontcourt players. Westbrook, Parker, and Harden have all had better seasons than Curry.  I opted not to take any other SFs besides Durant as there were simply too many deserving PFs and Cs.  Al Jefferson deserves to be an all-star but could not make it due to Howard's presence in the starting lineup.


Notable Non-Qualifiers
Kosta Koufos (C): 996 minutes, 17.0 PER, 3.8 WS
Manu Ginobili (SG): 896 minutes, 20.9 PER, 3.7 WS
Anthony Davis (PF): 845 minutes, 20.9 PER, 2.6 WS
Javale McGee (C): 839 minutes, 21.4 PER, 2.8 WS

Damian Lillard might be the favorite for Rookie of the Year, but as with Damon Stoudamire getting ROY over Kevin Garnett, you can bet that Anthony Davis will have the far better career.  The Brow missed some time with injury this season and is nowhere near his ceiling yet.  Don't be surprised if he makes the leap to All-Star status next season.


'Ko said...

I'd like to read a reaction of yours for the actual selections.
Is to be noted that the coaches select 2 guards, 3 frontcourt and 2 "wild cards" so Steph Curry could, and SHOULD have made it.
I'm so mad also for the exclusion of Brook Lopez in the East.

Your thoughts?

ponderguy said...

again look at LaMarcus Aldridges month by month stats. He has gottten better every single month after a slow start as he adjusted to a brand new offensive system.

Rashidi said...


January is Aldridge's lowest scoring month of the season. His rebounding is up, but that is attributable logging more time at center with Meyers Leonard sidelined.

Also, improving each month doesn't mean the bad months didn't happen. Aldridge's overall production for the season doesn't stand out when compared to other western bigs (or Stephen Curry).

Shelb said...

I think you meant the Raptors have a decision to make on Lowry/Calderon, not the Pistons.

Jaysen said...

Interesting read there..

I wonder if the guys 2K employs have half the brain you do when it comes to basketball scouting and stuff.