Wow, it's All Star Weekend already... The NBA season just seems to be blurring past us, isn't it? The "show" begins in Dallas on Friday and concludes with the main event, the All Star Game, on Sunday night. Here is a list of some of the weekend's highlights (please forgive me if I purposely skip over the the Taco-Bells and the T-Mobiles and all the other dumbass sponsor names in the event titles):
- All Star Game
All eyes are on Sunday night's bonanza, which like every year, will features most of the league's finest stars. As you may be aware, the league allows fans to vote in their starting 5's. Unlike most sport writers and critics, I like to vote for these players based purely and unabashedly on passion instead of their actual talent/performance. There, I admitted it. Stop criticizing me, bro.
So, my starting fives were:
- G: Dwyane Wade: my favourite player.
- G: Vince Carter: Ya, I've heard the disses. Half Man/Half Gimpy Knee. No heart, etc. etc. Whatever, I'm still a fan since the rookie year - I still wear #15 on my basketball jerseys. Somewhere in France, Freddie Weis is still shaking in a dark corner.
- F: Kevin Garnett: Yes, he was injured for most of the season, and no, I don't care.
- F: Chris Bosh: Along with Wade, this is my second "deserving" pick for the starting five. 'The Boshasaurus' has arguably been the best big man in the league this season.
- C: Al Horford: Because someone has to play center. And because I hate Dwight.
- G: Baron Davis: Try using him in NBA 2K5, the guy is murda. Zyman, if you're reading this, I'd just like to add the word 'posterize'.
- G: Deron Williams: Cuz he deserves it, and cuz Iverson only played three games in the west.
- F: Ron Artest: I had a faint suspicion that he will start a brawl with all the other all stars and get the best of the NBA suspended for the season and thus lead to David Stern's suicide. Okay, time to wake up again.
- F: Pau Gasol: I'm not the biggest Laker fan, but Gasol has always been one of my favourites.
- C: Amar'e Stoudemire: He likes to dunk. And I love that needless apostrophe in his name.
That's right, no love for LeBron, Kobe, Dwight, and definately none for gimpy ass T-Mac.
The final rosters are unsurprisingly very different from my picks:
- LeBron James (leading vote getter)
- Allen Iverson
- Carmelo Anthony
- Tim Duncan
- Kobe Bryant
- Tracy Mcgrady
Luckily, T-Mac will not be taking part, and the much-deserving Steve Nash has taken his spot instead. As of today, there are also doubts about AI and even reigning ASG co-MVP Kobe missing the game.
Unlike several criticisms, I don't have too much of a problem with fan voting. The game is after all an "exhibition" more than an actual serious affair, and the NBA makes no qualms before admitting that it is designed specifically for the fans. If the fans wanna see AI and T-MAC, then give them AI and T-MAC. (okay, maybe not T-MAC).
My solution is that the system shouldn't change, but the names on the ballots should. Only players who have averaged a given minimum average of minutes per game in a given minimum amounts of games played should be in the list. This would mean that the NBA needs to chill and not post the ballot list out too early in the season.
This way, we can get rid of all the players getting voted in despite much contribution to the league.
The reserves roster looks like this:
- Paul Pierce
- Gerald Wallace
- Joe Johnson
- Rajon Rondo
- Derrick Rose
If Iverson does skip out, I am hoping that the league does me a favour and makes David Lee the first Knick all star since Allan Houstan.
- Kevin Durant
- Dirk Nowitzki
- Zach Randolph
- Chris Paul
- Chauncey Billups
- Brandon Roy
- Chris Kaman
- Deron Williams
Chris Paul and Brandon Roy are both injured and will not participate in the game, hence the additions of Billups and KaveMan in the lineup.
Me being a Knick fan, and most of my favourite teams playing in the East, my allegiances are going to lie with the Eastern Conference taking this one. D-Wade for MVP.
Now, on to the other exciting events. The Dunk Contest will obviously be a great crowd pleaser like always, but I am still waiting to see players like LeBron, Kobe, Wade, Vince, Josh Smith etc. come into the fray of things. This year, we will see the dunkaholic Nate Robinson take on the likes of Gerald Wallace, Shannon Brown, and either DeMar DeRozan or Eric Gordon. All great dunkers, but my money is on DeRozan.
Speaking of Vince and dunk contests, here you go. Thank me later:
The Three-Point Shootout is another fun event. Knick Sophomore and my favourite for this tournament Danilo Gallinari is going to cause some damage here. Remember where you heard it first - the guy is the best shooter in the league. "Gallo" will be beating Billups, defending champion Daequan Cook, Stephen Curry, Channing Frye, Paul "Paranoid" Pierce on his way to the victory stand. Btw, credit the "paranoid" nickname to hours on the playstation and bullshit conversations in my university years while playing with Pierce on the aforementioned NBA 2K5.
I don't care much about the Skills Challenge, Shooting Stars, Celebrity Game, the NBDL Dream Factory (because I don't care about the NBDL), and especially about friggin H.O.R.S.E. (seriously, H.O.R.S.E.? how about C.H.O.O.T.? let's play that, shall we?)
The Rookie/Sophomore game on Friday night should be fun. The Sophomores usually take this one very easily, but the Tyreke Evans led rookies seem to be determined this time around. Some of the players I'm looking forward to performing well here are Evans, Jonny Flynn, James Harden, and Brandon Jennings for the rookies.
The Sophomores are gonna take this one though. They have way too much talent: A lineup of Michael Beasley, Marc Gasol, Gallo, Eric Gordon, Brook Lopez, Kevin Love, Anthony Morrow, OJ Mayo, and Russell Westbrook seems too damn good to be beat. AND, they are playing without Derrick Rose, who would rather save his energies for the friggin Skills Challenge the next day.
Come to think of it, the 2008 draft class is pretty damn awesome.
I was frantically hunting for All Star TV Timings in India, but nothing was listed on the Global NBA Programming schedule. Following a few short moments of despair, I discovered that ESPN/Star Sports WILL be showing some of the events live here (phew!). The Saturday night events will be on live at 7 AM on Sunday morning on Star Sports and then repeated at 10 PM. Sunday's All Star Game will be shown Monday morning here, again at 7 AM on Star Sports with a repeat at 2:30 PM the same day.
Hopefully it's another memorable All Star Weekend. I'll recap what I saw next week.
P.S.: I still think Ron Ron should be at weekend somehow. H.O.R.S.E.? Coaching the Celebrities? Coaching the cheerleaders? Whatever... just get him there.