The LeBron James Rule. In the LeBron James 15 years of greatness career there has been one rookie to play in the All-Star game and it wasn’t James and technically it wasn’t even a rookie. In 2011 Blake Griffin made the All-Star team but it was really Griffin’s second year. He busted his knee before his rookie season started so it is accurate to say no rookie non red-shirt made the All-Star team in the LeBron James era. And that is exactly how it should be.
The All-Star game should be about the veterans who have distinguished themselves and the veterans who are popular because of performance. The rookies are still learning, still unpolished and don’t have All-Star games. Really it is a joke that Lonzo Ball who can’t shoot or Ben Simmons who runs away from the ball or Kyle Kuzma, a steal of the draft but not strong enough at the power forward position, have finished in the top-10 of fan voting. It has nothing to do with their game and everything to do with the market they play in. There are things you earn from experience and the All-Star game should be one of them.
Lou Williams Has Changed My Mind. Lou Williams is doing magical things for the Clippers and is the only reason the Clips aren’t in the cellar. The book on Lou is he plays lights out for bad teams but when it comes time for the games to really count he’s so-so. That’s not entirely what is going on with Lou. The reason he excels on bad teams is because Sweet Lou needs a lot of shots to be effective. He needs to be the scorer on the perimeter, the one the team is counting on to get buckets which is why it is important that he come off the bench and be a Jamal Crawford wannabe.
When his number is called to lead a bad team he does it and his latest feat of excellence, his 50 points in Oracle, made me rethink that only starters should be All-Stars. Yes I know Kobe in 1998 was an All-Star but not a starter, but mostly the nods go to starters. But regardless of if Williams deserves recognition because a player on a bad team shouldn’t be rewarded, Sweet Lou will have a hard time in a Western Conference All-Star scrum that is deep at the guard position. He is unlikely to make the team because of the competiton. And yet. The game being in L.A. and no other L.A. starter to represent the local teams makes Lou an exception.
Will James Harden Ever Be Popular? James Harden is having the best season of his life. He is taking it as a personal challenge to win the MVP. He has sick numbers so far. 32 points. 9 assists. But he’s third in All-Star West voting behind Steph Curry, duh, and Kevin Durant.
The Dubs are a more popular team than the Rockets with a rabid fan base. They almost have 100,000 subscribers on Reddit while the Rockets have 20,000 so the Warriors fans are going to ballet stuff. But it just feels like Harden is always going to be that bridesmaid. He was strong in the MVP chase until his injury put LeBron in the driver’s seat. Harden will make the game but if this was baseball he’d be the leading vote getter.
Let’s Not Hurt Anyone’s Feelings. What is this, 2nd grade? Adam Silver is refusing to televise the team selection part of the All-Star game. Unlike years past, the two captains who will be the conference leading vote getters, more than likely Steph and LBJ, will choose teams from the pool of already selected All-Stars. So it’s going to be teams of BFF’s and I can’t stand you so go play for them. That’s what made it a brilliant concept. This twist puts it into reality television soap opera drama talk with more following on social media.
The NHL does it and the last player selected heals his bruised ego with a new car. So the NBA had an opportunity for an endorsement and mad ratings. But Adam Silver nixed it even as LeBron is on board. Silver doesn’t want anyone’s feelings hurt, like if Steph didn’t choose KD but chose Giannis or if (when) LeBron ignored Kyrie Irving just sitting there. Instead the final teams are going to be issued per press release. So what is exactly the point?
Knowing how we roll in 2018, we’ll just make up the drama because the real event has been denied us. We’ll write the story of what we think happened and create a TMZ soap opera around it and dare anyone to deny it. Usually the NBA doesn’t miss out on marketing opportunities because someone may cry into their pillow. Charles Barkley is right. The NBA is getting soft.