If I’ve learned anything about writing in sports, it’s that it’s never too early to make predictions.
In this installment of way-too-early predictions, I offer a take on who will end up representing the Eastern and Western Conferences in the 2014 All-Star Game that is not scheduled to take place until February of next year.
Although it’s still an entire half-a-season away from commencing, and still at least two months away from voting even starting, there are still obvious choices as to who will make the roster. You can easily chalk up your obvious superstars to an appearance, as well as the veterans who have been a part of the festivities for over a decade.
Voter fatigue may be a real thing when voting for league MVP, as it was in the case of Michael Jordan losing to Charles Barkley and Karl Malone, but not in All-Star voting. The fans will vote to start the same player over and over again, no matter how well they are playing that year.
I’m sure we all recall the time Allen Iverson was selected to be a starter in 2010, despite averaging only 13.8 points and four assists in only 28 games, as well as Yao Ming being voted as the West’s starting center in 2011, even though he had played a total of five games that year and averaged 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds.
The fans get what they want since it’s their weekend. If they want Allen Iverson and Yao Ming in the All-Star Game, they’ll get it. Basketball purists will complain, but there were at least a million people who honestly wanted to see a player past his prime and a player who had five games to his name that year participate.
The same will go for this year. It doesn’t matter who makes it because there will always be those who led grassroots campaigns to petition why their franchise star or secondary star should make the team. Even when the choices appear to be right in the All-Star Game, it’s still easy to be considered so wrong.
It always comes across as funny to me how people obsess over the All-Star Weekend. There’s so much criticism drawn from the selection of certain players and the snubbing of other players that we forget the All-Star Game is as meaningless and effortless as preseason games. The only difference between a preseason game and an All-Star Game is hype and talent.
Let’s not even get started on how blown out of proportion the dunk contest is. Year after year we assume this is going to be the year the contest makes its triumphant return, and year after year we’re disappointed when a role player wins the award with a dunk that you see on YouTube every day. But we’ll leave that for another time.
So before you get mad at the voters for sending a veteran or injured player in the starting lineup or the coaches for selecting certain players to the bench that may or may not be better than those who were not selected, direct your preseason ire here first.
*** *** ***
NBA fans have been aching for the past year to vote Derrick Rose into an All-Star Game. As we are all aware of, we were denied the opportunity last year when the 2011 MVP chose to forgo the entire 2012-13 season in order to become completely comfortable with his body following the tearing of his ACL in the opener of the 2012 postseason.
But Rose is back now, and he’s showing shades of the explosive player we’ve all come to recognize him as. He debuted with 13 points on 12 shots in 20 minutes against Indiana, then followed it up with 13 points on eight shots, attempting 10 free throws, in 23 minutes in a win over Memphis. Finally, he dropped a vintage 22 points in 22 minutes last night at home.
On both occasions, Rose let it slip to the rest of the league that he’s as fast, athletic and efficient around the rim as he ever was:
However, he still has a long way to go to becoming absolutely confident in what his body can do at this point in his recovery. He recently sat out a preseason game due to soreness in the knee he tore his ACL in and will most likely be monitored throughout the season.
Nevertheless, it shouldn’t affect the voters. Rose had 1.5 million votes, only trailing Kobe Bryant for votes for guards overall, in the 2011-12 season where he was limited by ailments throughout the year.
As it’s been the past three years, Rose and the next player mentioned should round out an explosive and dynamic East backcourt.
Considering Dwyane had the second-most votes of guards in last year’s All-Star Game, only trailing Kobe Bryant, it’s safe to say that he should end up as an All-Star starter based on how popular he is in the NBA community.
Combine Wade with LeBron James and he’s basically voted in by association.
Wade, currently with nine consecutive All-Star appearances and only missing out in his rookie year, shouldn’t have any doubts in making the All-Star Game, even with the possibility of a knee injury he suffered late last season throwing his game off in the early portion of the upcoming regular season.
Whether or not his role is reduced as a result, Dwyane’s going to end up as an starter in the East. He’s still the second-best player on the best team in the league and is going to consistently put up the 20 points, five rebounds and five assists he’s been averaging every year he’s been an All-Star.