NBA Big Questions: Week 13

lebron james thinking

Every Monday during the NBA season The Hoops Manifesto and its Bloguin bredren team up to answer some of the burning questions from the world of the NBA. In this edition we name our All-NBA Team after three months of play, list our All-Star snubs and decide who is the “clutchest” of them all.

Contributors: Jeff Fox from The Hoops Manifesto, Diego from Leaving It All On The Court, Philip from Orlando Magic Daily, College Wolf from TWolves Blog and brumbygg & Don from With Malice.

1) All-NBA Teams after three months of play:

derrick rose dunk

Guard – Derrick Rose – Chicago

“Having an amazing season and making the Bulls increasingly relevant as the playoff picture starts to take a little shape.” – brumbygg

“Still my frontrunner for MVP.” – Don

Guard – Kobe Bryant – Lakers

“Biased?  Perhaps, but for all the talk of “he’s slowing down”, he’s still – just quietly – having a pretty damn good season.” – Don

“The Black Mamba has had to ward of criticism about his second-seed Lakers team, but he is still having a good year. In this 15th NBA season, Bryant has reminded us all that he’s not going anywhere yet.” – Diego Quezada

Forward – LeBron James – Miami

“As much as I thought he wouldn’t sustain the numbers, LeBron James has.  And he’s the primary reason that Miami have won as many games as they have.  Often as not, he’s the sole reason.” – Don

“Say what you want about LeBron, but he’s still one of the five best players in the NBA. He just dropped 51 in the Orlando Magic’s building in a game that raised serious doubts about the Magic’s title-contending status. Perhaps that performance was James’ way of telling Otis Smith that he can still carry a team, but just wanted help to win a championship.” – Diego Quezada

Forward – Amar’e Stoudemire – New York

“Amar’e is turning out to actually be a bargain pick up for the Knicks this year. The improvement in that organisation is pretty much down to one guy.” – brumbygg

“Despite the Knicks’ recent swoon in the standings, I’m still mighty impressed with Amar’e Stoudemire’s play (without Steve Nash) and leadership.” –  
Jeff Fox

Dwight Howard

“Superman has continued his high level of play throughout the first half. Best big man in the game right now.” – brumbygg

“The manbeast.  As for the past few years, Dwight Howard’s been the best anchor in the game, bar none.” – Don

2) The reserves for the All-Star Game were announced recently – do you think any player got the shaft?  If so, who should they replace on the roster (not including players voted in by fans)?

“Surprisingly, I have no problems at all with the selections, especially once Kevin Love was named as an injury replacement.  I’m pretty disappointed at not being able to complain about the selections.” – Jeff Fox

“I think LaMarcus Aldridge really deserved to go this year. Portland has had so many injury problems and he has really done a good job carrying the team and keeping the Trail Blazers relevant. He has quietly been a great player throughout his career. Maybe not at an All Star level, but he has shown a ton of improvement. The question is: who do you take off for him? Blake Griffin and Tim Duncan are likely candidates. But you understand why they are on the team. Can we maybe take Al Horford or Joe Johnson off and stick Aldridge on the East?” – Philip 

“I think LaMarcus Aldridge is a huge snub. Both Tim Duncan and Yao Ming should be scratching their heads at their inclusions on the West roster. Plenty of love for Andrew Bynum, but he hasn’t played enough to warrant selection (see: Ming, Yao – wtf?)  Lots of posts on the ‘snub’ (and subsequent pick) of Kevin Love. I said last week that he simply wasn’t good enough to make the roster and the coaches obviously think the same thing. The Commish is oiling the squeaky wheel on this one.Joe Johnson, C-Bosh and Boston’s beloved Ray Allen are all pretty fortunate to be there.” – brumbygg

“For the ASG, it’s about as inevitable as sunrise that someone gets shafted in someone else’s opinion.  The most obvious snub for me isn’t the one that everyone’s pointing to: Carlos Boozer.  Guy’s having a great season, and is one of the main reasons Chicago look so good.  Look out once Noah returns!” – Don

“I think the East is pretty legit, despite what people may say about all the Celtics.  But who else is better?  The Celtics are legit and they deserved the four guys that made it in.  I think Josh Smith is the biggest snub in the East (again!), but I can see why he didn’t make it.  The West is more loaded, and there are several guys that have a case for not making it.  I’d say LaMarcus Aldridge and Lamar Odom were the biggest slights, with the next tier being Monta Ellis, Paul Millsap, and Steve Nash (in that order.)  KLove made it in (and deserved it) as a reserve, which I’m fine with.  I just didn’t think he deserved it over Blake Superior, which is why I originally said I didn’t think he’d make it in. P.S. How in the EFF did Duncan make it?  That was the biggest mistake of all the reserves.  It’s like a career achievement award mixed with over-reliance on the record of the Spurs.
” – College Wolf

“When David Stern announced that Kevin Love would take Yao Ming’s spot, I was satisfied with the reserve list. In the East, the coaches clearly gave the players on winning teams the opportunities; in fact, only three teams will get representation from the East reserves (Boston, Miami and Atlanta).  The West was different, with Blake Griffin given a berth in the All-Star Game despite playing on a below .500 team. If that was the case, then why didn’t Kevin Love get a chance? He leads the NBA in rebounding, is a virtual lock for a double-double every night and had the first 30-30 game in recent memory. If Griffin got in, Love should have too.” – Diego Quezada

3) There was a big debate recently over “clutch” performers.  Which current player in the NBA would you want to have the ball in his hands with the game on the line?

“If it was a last second shot, then Kobe Bryant would be my choice.  But since the question refers to more than a shot, I’m going with Steve Nash.  Nash is the greatest shooting point guard of all-time, is a master at creating good, open looks for teammates and is money from the line.  Worst case scenario with him is someone hip checks him into the scorer’s table.” – Jeff Fox

“It might have to be Dwyane Wade. Wade is the type of player, when motivated to do so, who can get to the basket when he wants but also has great basketball sense. He is smart enough to know when to attack in those late game situations, but also smart enough to dish the ball off when someone is open. He is also pretty good as a clutch defender. That is a bonus.” – Philip 

“Best guy in the clutch? Paul Pierce. Best reason that The Truth is the guy? Ray Allen. The dual threat of the Celtics (not to mention KG as a pretty decent guy to give the rock to in the dying seconds) gives Pierce more room to do his thing in the dying seconds.” – brumbygg

“Still Kobe.  Noted Laker-hater Henry Abbott can cherry pick all the stats he likes, as Ryen Russillo said: “I’ll take the guy who’s been there and hit those shots before.”” – Don

Durant.  He can shoot from anywhere on the court, has ice in his veins, and can get to the line whenever he wants to.  Granted, the refs probably won’t call a late game call, but still.  Give me the Durantula.” – College Wolf

“It depends on the situation. If there was one second left on the clock, I’d want Ray Allen with the ball in his hands, just because of his ability to get open and his quick release.  If there were about 10 seconds left, I’d want it in the hands of Rajon Rondo. Rondo wouldn’t necessarily take the shot, but he has the ability to get in the lane and make a play, whether it is him shooting or passing the ball. NBA coaches would probably say that they’d rather run a play at the close of games as opposed to a player going one-on-one.” – Diego Quezada

4) Finally, every week we’ll be picking a Game of the Week that we will predict a consensus winner of. This week’s game – Thurs, Feb 10th – Lakers @ Boston

Record so far: 5-6
Consensus: Boston (four votes to two)


About Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox is Mr. Manifesto - the Supreme Leader and evil mind behind The Hoops Manifesto, The MMA Manifesto, & A Dry Heat.