Blogtable: Who should replace Kevin Love on All-Star team?
Each week, we ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
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Who’s your choice to replace injured Kevin Love on the Eastern Conference All-Star roster?
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David Aldridge: The purist in me would seek a big to replace a big. My first instinct would be Joel Embiid (20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks) just for the fun factor, but I’m assuming he’s not going to be available with the meniscus tear in his knee. So I’d look at either Hassan Whiteside (16.7 points, league-leading 14.1 boards, 2 blocks), Dwight Howard (13.6 points, 12.9 rebounds) or Marcin Gortat (11.9 points, 11.5 rebounds), and if you’re asking me to pick one, I’d go with Whiteside — even though I think Howard’s having a really strong season in Atlanta. But if I’m consistent with my philosophy that the All-Star Game is for the fans, I’d pick the Wizards’ Bradley Beal, who’s having a sensational season (22.3 points per game on nearly 40 percent shooting on 3-pointers).
Steve Aschburner: If we’re going to be literalists and stick to frontcourt options, Miami’s Hassan Whiteside would be a fine choice. He is the NBA’s leading rebounder (14.1 rpg) and he was pivotal in the Heat’s hot, hot winning streak that generated so much buzz lately. If going more general, I’d choose Bradley Beal, without whom backcourt mate John Wall and the rest of the Wizards wouldn’t be thriving. Sorry, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade might be fan favorites but they’re not performing at their traditional levels, and Joel Embiid doesn’t play enough even when he’s healthy.
Fran Blinebury: My first inclination is to replace a big with a big and give the spot Joel Embiid. But with Embiid dealing with his own injury situation and not likely to take part in the All-Star activities, I’d give the spot of Bradley Beal for his role in lighting the fire of the Wizards.
Shaun Powell: Bradley Beal is my choice for obvious reasons. Since Jan. 1, the Wizards have the best record in the Eastern Conference and the NBA and Beal (along with John Wall) is a major reason. Beal is having a career year, is healthy for a change and had a monster game (41 points) against the best team in the East just recently.
John Schuhmann: Bradley Beal will make the East’s roster even more guard-heavy than it already is (Paul Millsap is their only big man at this point), but he deserves the spot. He ranks sixth in usage rate and 11th in true shooting percentage among remaining East players that have logged at least 1,000 minutes, and the only other players who rank in the top 20 in both are Goran Dragic (fifth and 17th) and Brook Lopez (third and 20th). On individual numbers, you can make the case for Dragic over Beal, but Beal’s Wizards are 10 games ahead of Dragic’s Heat in the standings. The Wizards are 12 games over .500 and have been their best with Beal on the floor.
Sekou Smith: Bradley Beal is the most deserving, given the way he’s played and his team’s performance since Dec. 1. There’s no doubt that he’s played at what anyone would have to agree is All-Star level. And the Wizards have been an absolute revelation since that 6-12 start. As much as a Hassan Whiteside, Andre Drummond or Al Horford would provide some much-needed size to balance out the Eastern Conference roster, I’d much prefer to see a guy like Beal rewarded for what he’s done this season.
Ian Thomsen: I want to see Carmelo Anthony in the All-Star Game. I understand a lot of people think he isn’t deserving. Those opinions are part of the reason why I want to see him. He’s the most embattled player in the league. Every year it seems as if he’s playing under a new GM or new coach or new system, and yet he’s never paired with an established star who could help him go deep in the playoffs (as Chauncey Billups did when Anthony’s Nuggets reached the Western Conference finals in 2009).
Lang Whitaker: Man, this is a tough, tough call. There’s no shortage of frontcourt players who deserve consideration, from Hassan Whiteside to Carmelo Anthony. But to me I feel like the team’s record should be considered as well, and by the best of my reckoning, the best Eastern Conference team without a representative in All-Star Game is the Detroit Pistons. So Andre Drummond, pack your bags and get to New Orleans.
MORE BLOGTABLE: How will Love’s injury affect Cavs? | When will Spurs’ run of winning seasons end?