The halfway point of the season is quickly approaching and there is one minor fact I would like to point out. It’s because I feel obligated and have the privilege to do so when others had doubts.
Let me start by refreshing your memory on my prediction that the Lakers would be a playoff team without the Diesel clogging the paint this season.
As of Feb.10, the Lake Show had gone 6-7 in its last 13 games. Sidelined with an ankle injury, Kobe Bryant sat out those games, but will play in the All-Star game. With a 25-22 record, the Lakers are in eighth place in the Western Conference, which would be good enough to secure a playoff spot if the season ended now.
February in the NBA is most synonymous with the All-Star game. You can push team achievements out the door because the All-Star game is a personal stage for the players who have put it down for self. Every year, the brightest players from each conference gather in the winter classic and put on a show for fans and fellow players alike.
Well, at least most of the best players are there. The topic is always up for debate as to who should or should not be named. Each team is only allowed to dress 12 players, but there are usually more than 24 players worthy of calling themselves All-Stars.
This year is no different.
I don’t really have an issue with the Western Conference selections other than I might slide San Antonio Spur Tony Parker into Phoenix Sun Shawn Marion’s spot and replace Seattle Supersonic Rashard Lewis with Sacramento King Chris Webber. The Sacramento Kings are not represented in the game. Yet, they have the fourth best record in the West.
The East, on the other hand, further proves that the NBA is encountering an emergence of new stars, with four East players making their All-Star game debut.
Seven-time All-Star Jason Kidd, who missed the first couple months of the season because of an injury, was left off the roster. Kidd has stepped his game up by averaging 22.6 ppg and 11 rebounds in the month of February and had a triple-double in two consecutive games against the Philadelphia 76ers and Lakers Feb. 7 and 9.
Should he be on the team? Probably not.
Would he make the game more exciting? Absolutely.
The biggest injustice was done to three-time All-Star Steve Francis. Here’s a guy who was involved in a blockbuster trade in the offseason and is showing the people of Orlando that they didn’t make a mistake in acquiring him.
The Magic have already surpassed the 21 total wins of last season and you have to think that Francis is the primary reason for the turnaround with 21.7 ppg and 7 assists a game.
Whose spot could he easily have taken?
What All-Star game needs Big Shaq, Ben Wallace, Jermaine O’Neal and Ilgauskas at the same time? The game should be fast and energetic, not slow with an overload of big men.
With the bad feet Ilgauskas has, he should take the weekend off and try to make sure they’re healthy for the second half of the season so all those LeBron-lovers can finally see the Cavaliers make the playoffs.
With the game being played in Colorado, I highly doubt Bryant will take home his second All-Star game MVP award. Instead, I am anticipating greatness from Dwayne Wade, Steve Nash and AmarÃ© Stoudemire. The game will be about flashiness and Nash has the talent to set up the next guy with the perfect pass. He can easily have 20 assists, so he is getting my pre-vote for All-Star MVP.
LeMont Calloway is a junior newspaper journalism student from Chicago. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org