Bill Simmons

NBA All-Recognition Team selectors better recognize

It took the Rookie/Sophomore Game lineups getting announced for me to remember this, but Greg Oden’s a rookie! I know, crazy right? The Curious Case of Benjamin Oden is going according to plan, with the Shar-Pei getting named to the Rookie Squad set to play on the Saturday of All-Star Weekend. I can’t wait until Oden’s a 16-year-old All-Star in five years.

In my most recent NBA Tuesday I talked First, Second and Third Team rookie squads and I had both Love and Gasol making the Second Team. Tonight we found out Gasol will represent the Rookies in what should be a defensive battle with the Sophomores, while Love is stuck watching TNT at home with the rest of us.

If you look at recent history (and by that, I mean the last 24 days or so) Love is the obvious choice over Gasol, although Big Love looked REALLY lost his first month and a half. And that comes from a UCLA fan who interviewed him before the season. Dude looked slow and scared, while Gasol was taking it to several established vets. Nowadays Memphis has pretty much given up while the Timberwolves are busy saving Kevin McHale’s post-playing days reputation and things look a lot better. The NBA’s Bill Paxton (I know, I don’t watch HBO’s Big Love either, except somehow I know that Paxton shows his ass in every episode…um, I think I read that somewhere) has been looking pretty stellar lately on the boards, and his team finishing ahead on the scoreboard more often than not.

McHale said Love’s snub was about politics, but he wasn’t talking about Love v. Gasol. He was talking about Michael Beasley. Fantasy wise, Beasley was the dude I wasn’t letting get away. Um, he got away, but it was about a month into the season when I dumped him after realizing he was going to score around 14 ppg and do nothing else.

Here’s who should have gotten Rookie team honors over The Beaser: Mario Chalmers, Love, Jason Thompson and Anthony Morrow.

That’s right, Morrow. Call it West Coast Bias, I don’t care. At least Morrow has mastered an actual NBA skill: 3-point shooting. He’s still the top dog in the league when it comes to making more threes than he misses. The only thing Beasley has mastered is having freckles.

NBA All-Star Reserves

When it comes to the NBA All-Star announcments also made public tonight, I can’t be too mad when it comes to the Eastern squad. After all, I was only one guy off when I made my own reserve picks a few weeks ago.

I can’t argue with Vinsanity getting tossed in favor of Rashard, who I guess we all have to congratulate for finally (sort-of) living up to his contract. I went back and forth on that for a while, and while I think Carter has somehow gone from horribly overrated to somewhat underrated in one year (which coincidentally coincides with a certain trade of a guy whose name rhymes with Mason Lidd), Lewis is a solid player, although I still think Hedo Turkoglu is eons better.

When it comes to the West, I’ve got problems. I love Al Jefferson, but that may be due to my increasingly fantasy-centric way of looking at sports. Jefferson gets stats, then more stats, and even more stats. When fantasy addicts look at Jefferson getting all these numbers for the worst team in the league, we automatically think: Oh man, if I put a team together around a center like that, I’d get him a point guard, and some outside shooters, and some awesome masseuses to work out his calf muscles, and…

One problem, Jefferson doesn’t really play defense. Sorry, he doesn’t. Why do you think Danny Ainge was ready to give up a top young center for a 30-year-old superstar making more than EVERY OTHER PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE? Oh yeah, Ainge had Kendrick Perkins. While Perkins doesn’t exactly enthrall me or anyone besides Bill Simmons disciples, he certainly guards the basket better than Jefferson.

Plus, I know we’re all supposed to bow down to teams that have somehow won more games than they’ve lost, which is why David West made it over Jefferson and — even worse — Tony Parker made it over Kevin Durant.

C’mon. An All-Star Game without Durant is ugly. It’s gross like an bank-shot that wasn’t called.

I know the TeamAndMascotStealers probably won their fourth game of the season a week ago, but forget LeBron, Durant’s the future. Is there one person outside of San Antonio or People/US Magazines that would rather watch Tony Parker than Durant right now? Oh well, the NBA’s just delaying the inevitable: about 10-14 straight All-Star Seasons for Mr. Durant, the guy with the most unique game in the league besides LeBron James…until Ricky Rubio comes along, that is.

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