The 2013 NBA All-Star Rosters are all set. Did the right players make the team? The Five-Man Weave weighs in.
Who should have made the Eastern All-Star team didn't?
Tim Chisholm: I should preface this and all my answers with the curmudgeonly sentiment that no one 'should' or 'shouldn't be an All-Star, but the guy that surprised me out East by his omission is Brook Lopez. He's probably been the most statistically effective centre in the NBA this season and he's playing on a club that's winning. Not enough, apparently, to satisfy opposing coaches.
Mitch Ward: Brook Lopez. How does this guy not make it? He has the best PER of any big man and the fourth best mark in the entire NBA. His team also sits third in the conference ahead of teams like Boston and Chicago which each have two All-Stars compared with Brooklyn's none.
Josh Lewenberg: Brook Lopez. The Nets – a team 10 games over .500, seeded third in the Eastern Conference – don't have an All-Star. A lot has been said about Brooklyn's turn around under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo but Lopez has been just as crucial to the resurgence. The Nets struggled, going 2-5 when Lopez missed time with a reoccurring foot injury earlier this season. He also has the fourth-best player efficiency rating in the association. He's been the most important player on a very good team.
Duane Watson: Brook Lopez, particularly, as Deron Williams is doing so poorly this year. The Nets are playing well and his personal stats of 18.4 points and 7.6 rebounds are better than some of the players who made the team.
Will Strickland: Brook Lopez. The Knicks' Earl Smith Jr. lobbied his case to make the team and my personal vomit-inducer, Chicago Bulls' double-double machine Carlos Boozer, had a chance as well. It's very tough to imagine where the Nets would be now without Lopez, the best player on a team with Deron Williams & Joe Johnson. He deserved the nod. Hard Knock Life choice: Cavs Anderson Verajao, who was well on his way to an All-Star selection before being felled by a blood clot in this lung to cancel his season. Get well soon, Andy!
Who made the team that shouldn't have?
Chisholm: Probably Joakim Noah. He's a really, really effective member of a pretty decent East squad, but ahead of guys like Lopez, Al Horford and Josh Smith? That's harder for me to reconcile. Noah is the kind of high energy, high I.Q player any team would love to have, but there are people I would have expected to see ahead of him on the All-Star team.
Ward: Kevin Garnett. This one isn't on the coaches or players. It's on the fans. Garnett got in purely on reputation and history not what he has done this year. I'm fine with a guy making an All-Star team with stats that are only okay as long as he is a leading player for a winning team. KG doesn't fit that bill this year. Brook Lopez and Josh Smith both have better numbers AND their teams are better yet.
Lewenberg: Luol Deng. Arguably the heart and soul of his team – along with fellow All-Star Joakim Noah – Deng is a very good player, especially on the defensive end where he works his tail off. Two-time, back-to-back All-Star? I'm not sure he's good enough to warrant that distinction. He's an ordinary offensive contributor that's unlikely to dazzle in an offensive exhibition such as this. I'm glad his effort is being recognized but there are more deserving players in the East.
Watson: Luol Deng. Sure he always plays hurt, he's often overlooked and I'm not saying this because he went to Duke, but he hasn't done anything All-Star worthy. The entire team has stepped up in Derrick Rose's absence and Deng is not having a standout season.
Strickland: This will be unpopular, but I find it hard to select guys putting up math on bad teams. Enter Jrue Holiday and Kyrie Irving. The catch? They deserve to be on this team. I'm a big fan of Mr. No Nonsense Holiday and Irving is a star in the making and a potential Top-five guard NOW! So who loses out? The Prince Of Zamunda, Luol Deng. While on a winning team, he simply doesn't do enough to justify his selection.
Who should have made the West All-Star team that didn't?
Chisholm: The popular answer is gonna be Steph Curry, for good reason, but I'm gonna go with Jamal Crawford. He is such an instrumental part of what makes the Clippers so effective, and coaches are always preaching how starting doesn't matter, yet they almost never select bench players (no matter how worthy) to the All-Star game. Sounds hypocritical to me.
Ward: Stephen Curry is a no-brainer so I'll hardly even touch on him. I also think Marc Gasol deserved a nod. His numbers are by no means eye popping but I would argue that, with his defence and terrific passing, he has made a bigger impact on a very good Memphis team than his Grizzlies teammate Zach Randolph.
Lewenberg: Stephen Curry. David Lee became the Warriors first All-Star in 15 years, but they should have been awarded a second. Of the 10 players averaging at least 20.0 points per game this season, Curry was the only one to get snubbed. Steph is the best three-point shooter in the NBA, improving his game across the board and leading the renaissance at Oracle on a wonky ankle. Can you tell I'm an admirer of his work?
Watson: Stephen Curry. 20 points, 6 assists and 45 % from the three-point line AND the Warriors are actually winning? How does he not make it?
Strickland: For those claiming Spurs' Tim Duncan's getting another All Star Game is a Lifetime Achievement Award, please note the 17-10 he's dropping in 30 minutes a game... at the ripe young age of 36. He's no charity pick. But who got no Ell Ohh Vee Eee here? Warriors' Steph Curry. The best shooter in the NBA being left off this team is a travesty. Hard Knock Life shouts out to OKC's Serge Ibaka, who will be an All-Star soon and the Clippers' Jamal Crawford.
Who made the team that shouldn't have?
Chisholm: Dwight Howard. His diva act came with him from Orlando but his All-Star production didn't. He's been a major disappointment on one of the NBA's most disappointing teams EVER. Kobe is a lifetime All-Star in my book, but Dwight is not. He shouldn't be there and the night is tainted by his presence.
Ward: Not that David Lee doesn't deserve an All-Star spot but if I had to choose one Warrior to make the team I would have gone with Curry instead. I also would have taken Marc Gasol ahead of Lee, Randolph and even LaMarcus Aldridge.
Lewenberg: LaMarcus Aldridge. His numbers and overall efficiency are down ever so slightly after his first All-Star berth a year ago. He's having another solid campaign but unlike previous seasons, he's no longer carrying his team (a .500 team!). The Blazers lead the league in scoring from their starting five (80.6 per game) thanks in large part to rookie Damian Lillard and the emergence of Nic Batum. It's no longer a one-man show.
Watson: LaMarcus Aldridge, (yawn), I'm literally falling asleep as I type this. If I had to pick an All-Star from the middle of the road Trail Blazers it would be rookie Damian Lillard. But no one said I had to pick someone from the Blazers, just the best from the conference and Aldridge's not in that group.
Strickland: On a team with five power forwards, I was vacillating with the pick of Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge until I noticed the clown makeup all over the place of Dwight Howard. He shouldn't even go near the state of Texas during All-Star Weekend... and he's knows it. D12 is the reason why fans shouldn't be allowed to vote. Dwight leads the Association in Triple Singles: 2-3 statement retractions, 1-2 promises of domination, 4-5 excuses per... you know what? Nevermind... #ShaqShrug
Which team has the better lineup?
Chisholm: Kevin Durant. Kobe Bryant. Chris Paul. One team.
LeBron James is the best player in the world, but he's leading a second-class All-Star team when compared to his Western counterparts. Heck, the West's B-team of guys that didn't make it (Curry, Crawford, Dirk Nowitzki, Marc Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Kevin Love, Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala) would provide a challenge for the non-LeBron Eastern All-Stars.
Ward: The West, hands down. In the starting lineups, Durant, Kobe, Paul, Howard and Griffin have the edge over LeBron, Wade, Anthony, Rondo and Garnett. Where the real advantage for the West is though is on the bench where their reserves have a huge advantage over the East.
Lewenberg: West by nine. Book it. The Eastern Conference roster features 5-6 legitimate candidates for defensive player of the year. Not the place for it. Let's see how they do against the likes of CP3, Kobe, KD, Blake and Dwight. Good luck!
Watson: The West. With so many pure scorers in Durant, Kobe, Westbrook and Harden, coupled with dunkers like Griffin and Howard and set-up men like Paul and Parker, the west is going to put on the better show.
Strickland: On paper, the East don't even like one another (KG and Rondo vs. The Heat, KG vs. Melo, KG vs. JoNoah... you get the picture!), so it would seem the West is best. Plus, Kevin Durant, playing like MVP on team with top record in NBA, has the most provocative commercial out today! WE ALL WIN!
The Five-Man Weave is made up of TSN.ca Raptors blogger Tim Chisholm ( @timpchisholm), TSN Radio 1050 Raptors reporter Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050), Duane Watson (@sweetswatson) and Will Strickland (@WallStrizzle1) from TSN Radio 1050's 1-on-1 with Will and Duane, and TSN.ca NBA Editor Mitch Ward (@jmitchw).