Three Weeks & 15 Players Away
Posted Feb 1 2007 11:04PM
Of course, since my days of indulging in the typical vices are long gone, it will be basketball and the surrounding pageantry that will satiate me and deprive me of sleep from Feb. 14-18. Which is probably for the best. My tolerance for hoops is much stronger than my tolerance for anything else Vegas could provide and ... I'm married.
Last night, we learned the names of the 10 starters for the 56th NBA All-Star Game. Gilbert overtaking VC was a surprise, but not that much if you really think about it. Just another chapter in The Takeover by Agent Zero.
Now, of course, it's time to think about the reserves. We're not even half way to filling out the rosters and there are 14 (15 if you count Yao's replacement) more invitations to write, stamp and send.
The discussion has obviously already started and now it's my turn to weigh in. For each conference, we need to select two guards, two forwards, a center and two wildcards. For the West, we'll add a replacement for Yao.
This is going to be a tough one. Honestly, there's no one in the East that deserves a spot based solely on their team's success, like we had with Detroit last year. There's just not any impressive teams in the East right now. The Pistons are the closest, but with two losses to the Bobcats...
Guards: Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups
Forwards: Caron Butler and Jermaine O'Neal
Center: Dwight Howard
Wildcards: Richard Hamilton and Vince Carter
Hamilton is having a season similar to last year when he earned his first selection. His per game numbers are up, but his shooting percentages are down. Still, I think the Pistons are the best team in the East right now, despite their problems with Charlotte.
Of the three Bulls I considered, I think Luol Deng is a better candidate than Ben Gordon or Ben Wallace. I think you can certainly justify Gordon being selected, but I think Deng has just been the better overall player for the Bulls.
But somehow, I've got to deny Chicago a spot. Vince Carter hasn't exactly been consistent this season (and he has had a couple of real stinkers in the first half), but he's still putting up his numbers, and along with Kidd, he has kept the Nets afloat without Nenad Krstic or a healthy Richard Jefferson.
Which brings me to Eddy Curry. Yesterday, I was browsing the boxscores and saw his 25 points against the Suns. "Nice game," was my initial thought. Then my eyes drifted over to the rebounds column, where they landed on the number four. Then a quick look at his game-by-game discovers two more similar performances in the last week. I'm not sure what to think of Curry. He's certainly skilled in the post, but does he give you anything else? One could probably dedicate an entire column to the guy's game and I'm still not entirely sure why I left him off my list. If pressed, I might actually choose David Lee over Curry.
Tough for a different reason: too many guys that deserve it.
Wildcards: Shawn Marion and Josh Howard
First, I eliminate Carmelo. He's having a great season, but he put this on himself in New York on Dec. 16. I like Williams over Parker, but I just can't argue with how successful the Suns and Mavs have been. Marion never gets enough credit playing alongside Steve Nash. Howard just keeps getting better and if he makes it to Vegas this year, it won't be his first selection.
Replacement: Deron Williams
Run and Fun
For me, the only two picks that really matter are Kidd and Nash. Seriously, if you have those two, it doesn't matter who the other 22 are. Give them the ball, surround them with players who can get up and down the floor, and enjoy. I'll get my fix, and even if you're watching on TV and not in Vegas, you'll get yours.
Now, it's your turn. We here at NBA.com want to know who your picks are ... and why. Let us know here and we just might make you famous in the next week.
And if you've got a comment on my picks, I might read it too.