Our basketball panel discusses the 2016 NBA All-Star Game to be played in Toronto on February, 14th.
When the Warriors were in the midst of their 24 game win streak Steph Curry made a comment that all five Warriors starters should be an All-Star because of their record. That’s not going to happen but how many All-Stars do the Warriors deserve? They are 31-2.
C.J. Hampshire: Obviously Kobe makes a mess of things- and I like the word deserve, not the word earn. Kobe’s in his last All-Star game because he deserves it, not because he has earned it. But what that does, unintentionally, is screw some people who have earned it. But Kobe is in as a front court player, not a guard. The fan voting has always been a litmus test on who is popular. So to answer the question, Steph, Klay and Draymond will be there. It’s hard to make an argument for anyone else.
Mallory Stith-Wheat: Three. But you are going to see how the coaches feel about Klay. Even if Kobe didn’t take up that guard spot, it was always going to be dicey in the West when it comes down to the coaches vote. Damian Lillard is having a monster year as the face of the franchise. Are you going to leave James Harden off? There’s an argument for Rondo but not after what he did to Bill Kennedy. I’ll throw J.J. Redick out there. He makes 49% of his threes and is shooting 48%, career highs. And what about Chris Paul. I don’t think he has had an All-Star year but coaches just love him.
Julian Billick: Steph and Draymond, then its a coin toss. When the coaches vote, how many guards make it? 6? Two more point guards, Lillard and Paul, and two shooting guards, Klay and Harden. But then you cut down on your front court with 6 players. Kobe takes someone’s spot so it’s Durant, Blake, Draymond, Anthony Davis, Kawhi and Kobe.
Brendan Gillespie: Klay is going to make it because the Warriors deserve all of their key players in. The Warriors have a Big-3. Even if Harrison Barnes hadn’t gotten hurt, he still wouldn’t have made it. He’s replaceable; those other three are not.
We agree that Kobe takes away from someone in the front court? Name a player who is going to get jammed?
Julian: DeAndre. At this point, it looks like he’ll never make an All-Star roster.
Mallory: Dirk Nowitzki. He’s having a good year and the Mavs are doing what Mark Cuban predicted, as good as the Clippers without DeAndre.
C.J.: DeMarcus. I think it comes down to DeMarcus or Davis. Davis is the nicer dude. He can slide in as the center. Coaches like him and like his game.DeMarcus, once again, is an outsider.
Brendan: LaMarcus Aldridge but not because of Kobe. If Kobe wasn’t on the team Aldridge still wasn’t going to make it. I think that’s the consequence of signing with San Antonio and being an ensemble piece. He’s going to have to wait for Duncan to retire.
The Curry-Westbrook backcourt: most exciting All-Star backcourt in history?
Mallory: Yes. I’m glad Chris Paul isn’t in. He slows things down.
Julian: The fastest backcourt, to be sure. The most entertaining. But I’ll take Magic Johnson over any of those dudes. Steve Nash-Kobe was pretty good but nothing on the scale of what we are going to see in Toronto with Steph’s shooting and dribbling and Westbrook’s hell on wheels getting to the rim. Probably will be highest rated, most watched All-Star game in history.
C.J.: I want to see how they play together because, you know, Westbrook will be a free agent in two years. You can always move Klay up to the three. Westbrook is from Cali….I’m just saying..
Brendan: Most. Exciting. Backcourt. Ever. Most of these exhibition games are straight up yawns. Not this one. Better not blink or you’ll miss something.
In Kobe’s last All-Star Game he has Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin. In Jordan’s last All-Star Game he had Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Allen Iverson and Ben Wallace. Which is the better 5?
Mallory: I usually take Iverson in anything but in this case Ben Wallace drags down all the metrics. This year’s team would lob and beat them off the dribble. They are just too athletic.
C.J.: I’d take Iverson in the post over Curry. He was too physically demanding. But Iverson was, first and foremost, a volume shooter. Steph drains bucket after bucket. This team would kill that team. Team Kobe in a landslide.
Julian: You could put Durant on McGrady. Vince, when he was a star, couldn’t guard anybody. Ben Wallace ruins it. Kobe’s team is better. Faster. Stronger.
Brendan: It’s too bad you had Wallace in there. He’d rebound but how many missed shots are there in the All-Star game anyway? Kobe’s crew. He’s going out with an All-Star win. And Steph should get the MVP.
photo via llananba