I logged on to Yahoo! Sports on Thursday evening and saw Vince Carter's picture with a caption that read, "Carter tops All-Star balloting for 4th time." Maybe what it should have read was "NBA fans are crazy." You people gave more votes to Vince Carter than anyone else in the league? What are you, nuts?
Don't get me wrong, I like Carter. He's an extremely talented player who is fun to watch. But he's not close to being the best player in the NBA. Tim Duncan or Kevin Garnett should be the top vote-getters if the voting were based on worthiness. But, just like in politics, it's not who deserves it, it's who is most popular.
Actually, I don't have much of a problem with the format. The All-Star game is for the fans, and they should get to vote in who they want. Still, as a former player, I want to see the players who really deserve it to be at the top of those ballots.
So with that in mind, I give you my own personal All-Star selections.
West forwards: Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. These guys are the two best players in the game. Actually I'd like to see Duncan as the starting center in the All-Star game, since that's the position he really plays. That would allow the insertion of Peja Stojakovic into the lineup as a forward, which he richly deserves.
But, I have to follow the rules. Wait a minute, this is my column! I make up the rules! So there you have it! The West team's starting front line is Stojakovic, Garnett and Duncan.
As for Shaquille O'Neal and Yao Ming? Shaq has been hurt too often to deserve the spot, and Yao is good but still has a way to go. Actually, Brad Miller has had more of an impact than either of those two guys this season, but that's a different story.
West guards: Sam Cassell and Kobe Bryant. Cassell has had the best season of any point guard in the league, and it's about time he plays in his first All-Star game. Kobe? Despite all the issues and the recent injury, he still is an amazing player. He deserves it.
East forwards: Jermaine O'Neal and Ron Artest. The two Pacers forwards both have had great seasons, and their team is winning. That's what it's about. A winning team should be rewarded, which gives Artest the edge over Carter.
East guards: Baron Davis and Jason Kidd. They're the two best point guards in the conference and deserve to be in the starting lineup. Allen Iverson, Michael Redd and Paul Pierce were strong considerations, but ultimately Davis and Kidd are having the best seasons.
East center: Ben Wallace. He may not have much offensive game, but he sure can rebound, defend and block shots. The All-Star game isn't just for scorers – it's for difference-makers. Who knows where Detroit would be without him?
- Vince Carter
- Tim Duncan
- Kevin Garnett