My 2015 NBA All-Star ballot

With a quarter of the regular season in the books, NBA All-Star balloting began in earnest yesterday.

Of course I took the first available opportunity to vote for my ten most deserving starters – three frontcourt players and two guards from each conference:

Western Conference

FC: Anthony Davis (New Orleans)

25.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.9 BPG, 32.9 PER, 10-11 record

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1993 NBA Draft revisited: C-Webb, Penny, Van Exel & Co.

The ‘93 Draft produced no MVPs and only two All-NBA First Team selections, but was deep enough to yield seven All-Stars and a couple of huge post-lottery steals.

As was the case with the 1992 Draft, the first pick had the best career and two players picked outside of the top 20 had top-five careers.

Here are the top 10 picks, retrospectively re-ordered to reflect each player’s NBA accomplishments:

1) Chris Webber (picked No. 1 by Orlando, traded to Golden State)


831 games, 37.1 minutes, 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 blocks, 47.9% FGs, 20.9 PER.

Best season: 2000/01 – 70 games, 27.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.7 blocks, 48.1% FGs, 24.7 PER, 55-27 record, All-NBA 1st team, 4th in MVP voting.

Most memorable moment: Behind-the-back dunk on Barkley.

The Rookie of the Year, a 5-time All-Star and a 5-time All-NBA selection, Webber never quite fulfilled his otherworldly potential or won a championship, but remains one of the most athletic, skilled and best passing big men the game has seen. Over his prime seasons (’99 to ’03, his first five with the Kings), he averaged 24, 11 and 5, and came within a Robert Horry three of making the Finals.

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Selecting the correct Western Conference All-Star reserves

The starters for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game were announced last week. As usual, the fans got it wrong: Kobe Bryant (6 games, 13.8 PPG) and Kyrie Irving (42.8% shooting, 16-29 record in the putrid Eastern Conference) have no business being in the starting lineups.

Tonight, the reserves will be announced. Who should be selected?

Let us ignore the East – with all due respect to the likes of Paul Millsap, Arron Afflalo and Kyle Lowry – and skip straight to the ultra-loaded and more meaningful West, where there are far more deserving candidates than there are available All-Star roster spots.

After much deliberation, here are the seven players – three frontcourt, two backcourt and two wild cards – who should join Kobe, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and Blake Griffin on the squad:

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Rockets vs Knicks: J.R. Smith is a birdbrain (and other insights)

The New York Knicks nearly pulled off back-to-back road wins in Texas. J.R. Smith saw to it that they did not.

With the shot clock turned off and 21 seconds remaining in a tied game, Smith decided to do what he does best: jack up an ill-advised shot.


Of course, he missed.

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Howard’s post game still ugly, ineffective and over-utilized in Houston

The tutelage of Kevin McHale and Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston has had as much impact on Dwight Howard’s post game as that of Patrick Ewing in Orlando and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Los Angeles: none.

Howard is getting roughly the same number of post touches than he did in Los Angeles, and is still just as feckless at taking advantage of them. His go-to move, if you can call it such a thing, remains an awkward sweeping hook that sometimes goes in and sometimes careens straight off the backboard to the other side of the rim:

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Dwight departs, will not be missed

Waffling Dwight Howard finally made up his mind: he will leave the Lakers to sign with the Houston Rockets.


Houston offers numerous benefits: desirable city, no state tax, a young and uncluttered roster, a budding young superstar in James Harden, a coach who knows a thing or two about post play, and, perhaps most importantly, the chance to be the top dog without facing the media scrutiny and pressure to win that comes with being a Laker.

Alas, Dwight and the Lakers were never a good match. We all thought it would work just fine: Howard transforming LA’s defense, feasting on alley-oop lobs from Kobe, and forming the most formidable pick-and-roll partnership in the league with Steve Nash. When I spoke with Bill Simmons at the Olympics, we agreed that the Lakers were now overwhelming favorites to win the Western Conference. We were wrong.

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