2014 NBA All-Star Game: 5 Biggest Surprises
5 Biggest Surprises
The 2014 NBA All-Star fan-voting came out yesterday, which determines who will be starting for the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams. The NBA has used fan-voting for years to select the starters, and it all normally comes down to a popularity contest. When someone is on the team because of popularity, it is somewhat understandable; don't get me wrong, it is still annoying, but understandable. The hard thing to see is players who deserve to be starters over someone else, but instead they have to be selected by the coaches, or in some cases not at all.
The NBA All-Star weekend has become a who's who of the basketball world as opposed to who deserves to be apart of the game. It is rare that you see a superstar not be at the All-Star game once they have reached a certain level. There were a few seasons in which Tim Duncan did not live up to All-Star billing, but was put on the team because he's Tim Duncan. This year you see the same thing with Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Antony and a few other starters.
Another reason for surprises in the All-Star roster is the NBA's voting procedure. In the past, fans would vote for two guards, two forwards and one center. A couple of seasons ago the NBA went away from the traditional setup and now fans vote for two wings and three bigs. This has taken the vote completely away from the center position. There aren't as many dominant centers in the NBA like their used to be, but almost every team starts a power forward and a center. I know that a lot of teams have small-ball lineups, but only Miami and New York goes without a traditional starting lineup.
The band of brothers mentality and going away from traditional lineups have caused the NBA to end up with very odd NBA All-Star starting lineups, and these are the five biggest surprises with the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.
5. Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry is the NBA League Pass Alert King, whenever he gets hot he is must-see TV. The problem with Curry is that when he isn't hot, you are left watching a bunch of missed three-pointers and bad defense. Chris Paul is the best point guard in the league, and that isn't even up for argument. I would have been fine with Curry as a shooting guard, but there is no way he should be in the All-Star starting lineup over Paul. This is Curry's first season as an All-Star, and deservedly so. He just shouldn't be the starter in the West.
4. Kobe Bryant
Fans vote for players that they want to see in the All-Star game, I get that, but who would want to see Kobe Bryant sitting on the bench during the All-Star game over James Harden actually playing in the game? Even if Kobe is healthy and ready to play by All-Star Weekend, he isn't going to want to play and risk further injury. Bryant is 35 years old and has only played in six games this season due to injury. Playing in a meaningless exhibition game -- a game he once had his nose broken in -- is the farthest from his mind. When the fans voted Bryant in, they left the decision to replace him up to the commissioner; if that's what fans wanted, then they shouldn't be fan voting to begin with. Harden has been one of the best players in the league this season, and along with Dwyane Wade, one of the only two remaining superstar shooting guards left.
3. Kevin Love
The NBA is so different nowadays with all the small-ball lineups, bigs that can shoot three's and teams no longer even shooting mid-range jumpshots, but this is the All-Star game, and there is no reason not to have a true center in the starting lineup. Kevin Love has had a tremendous season, and is probably the most offensively gifted power forward in the league, as well as one of the best rebounders, but he is playing for a team that has underachieved, and he is a horrible defender. Fans want to see high-flying, above-the-rim play -- which they wont' get from Love -- but his presence in the middle will make it easier for the East squad when they want to throw down vicious dunks. Love starting over Dwight Howard is absurd.
2. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving has a buzz around him that he has had since shocking us as a rookie three seasons ago, but I think the hype has now outgrown the talent. If Irving truly is one of the best five players in the East, how come Cleveland doesn't have one of the eight playoff spots in the Eastern Conference? The East is terrible this season, and the Cavs have been just as gross. Irving is a very talented player, and one of the best ball-handlers in the league, and he has that great ad campaign with Pepsi, but he is not the best point guard in the East. I wouldn't even say he's the most entertaining point guard in the East, I would give that honor to John Wall. I have to see more leadership from Irving before I think he can be considered an elite NBA player.
1. Carmelo Anthony
This is the same issue that the Western Conference is having with Kevin Love playing over Dwight Howard; the NBA's foolish voting process has resulted with the East having to play LeBron James at center. Now, I am not saying that James should not be an All-Star, but Carmelo Anthony should not be a starter. James should be moved to power forward, and Roy Hibbert should be starting at center. Anthony's New York Knicks are the most disappointing team in the NBA, and he is the league-leader in bad body language, and how is he rewarded? By getting to start in the All-Star game. Give me a break. Anthony has been a total displeasure to watch play this season, his team is awful and now his presence makes the lineups uneven. Anthony should be coming off the pine, and Indiana -- who has the best record in the NBA -- should be awarded by having a second All-Star starter alongside Paul George.