Last year Allen Iverson was named a starter for the Eastern Conference because of fan voting. He played on three different teams last year before leaving the NBA all together. Tracy McGrady also almost made the team when he had logged just minutes on the court before February. This year the starting center for the Western Conference will likely be Yao Ming even though he is out for the season…again. It would behoove voters to brush up on all the quality players instead of voting blindly for a star. Alas, that day may never come.
Here at the Beef, we have compiled a list of non-superstar players who deserve at least some recognition when you, the NBA fans, head to the ballot box (NBA.com) to cast your vote. Some of these players may have an outside shot already at making an All Star team though likely not as a starter. The rest will generally be overlooked as their names do not contain the glitz and glamour associated with super stars and Los Angeles, where the game will be held.
Raymond Felton – Felton, along with Amar’e Stoudemire, has led a resurgence in the Big Apple. In his sixth season, Felton is averaging career highs in scoring (18.2 points per game), assists (8.7), and free throw shooting percentage (.866). He is running the D’Antoni show better than anyone could have predicted. Unfortunately, the East has a plethora of talent at the guard positions so making the team may prove difficult. Nonetheless, Felton deserves a spot.
Jrue Holiday – In just his second season, Holiday has completely shattered any notion that he may hit a sophomore slump. He has almost doubled his scoring from eight points last season to 14.6 points per game this year. To go along with that, he has also almost doubled his assist average from 3.8 to 6.5 and has improved his rebounding. Are the 76ers good? No, but Holiday continues to impress.
DeMar DeRozan – Yes, a player from the Toronto Raptors makes this list. Like Holiday, DeRozan has seen a considerable leap in production in his second year. This is a direct result of additional playing time. He participated in last year’s forgettable dunk contest and deserves a second chance at All Star weekend. He may just get it if he makes the Sophomore team but he should be considered for the main event.
Wilson Chandler – Chandler is the unsung hero of the Knickerbockers. He continues to improve across the board as his career progresses. This season he is averaging career highs in scoring (17.9), rebounding (6.5), blocks (1.5), field goal percentage (.489), three-point percentage (.386), free throw shooting percentage (.823). A player that is averaging career highs in six categories deserves a nod for the All Star Game.
Brandon Bass – Stan Van Gundy might finally have realized what kind of talent he has in Bass. Maybe. Since moving into the starting lineup for the Magic after the multiple trades orchestrated by Otis Smith just weeks ago, Bass has come alive. He is averaging career high in scoring (11.1) which is more than his averages in Dallas. His rebounding is also at a career high (5.3). Bass deserves his time in the spotlight out of the shadow cast by a certain teammate who also patrols the paint.
Monta Ellis – There are two words to describe Ellis’ game: cold blooded. He is leading the league in minutes played this season. He also led the league last year. At 25.4 points per game there is no reason to exclude Ellis from the Western All Stars. That mark is good enough for third best in the league behind Kevin Durant and Amar’e Stoudemire. Those two will certainly be All Stars. Ellis is also shooting a career high average in three-point buckets (.388).
Wesley Matthews – When Brandon Roy went down Blazer Nation gasped, then they became confused, and then they realized why Portland spent the money to bring in Matthews. He has averaged 17 points in games he has started in for the Blazers and is frequently their leading scorer. Right now, he is Portland’s MVP. He has stepped up to the level he was asked to play in only his second season.
Michael Beasley – Yes, two players from the Minnesota Timberwolves make an appearance on this list despite the team having the worst record in the Western Conference. Beasley is averaging seven more points than he did last year to average 21.9 points this season. He has scored 30 points or more seven times including a 42 point performance early in the the season. The All Star Game is in Los Angeles this year. What better place for Beasley to show off all his (hair) style.
Kevin Love – 31 points, 31 rebounds. Bitch about how poorly he plays defense all you want. 31 points, 31 rebound. ‘Nuff said.
Tyson Chandler – There is not a better center in the Western Conference except for one who plays in the Staples Center named Gasol. He has completely transformed the Mavericks’ defense with his presence in the paint. Yao Ming is hurt and does not deserve to lead all West centers in All Star voting. Chandler is deserves to get the votes that are going elsewhere as his numbers are edging closer to his prime seasons in New Orleans.
Please note that Love won out over Blake Griffin due to Griffin’s appearance in the Dunk Contest and the fact that he will likely be on the Western All Stars no matter what.
JaVale McGee was also under heavy consideration for this list. If he tries to dunk from the free throw line in games just how fun would it be to watch him in the All Star Game? At least he will participate in the Dunk Contest.