By Ben Golliver
• Hickory-High.com has a huge All-Star reserves roundtable.
2. Which All-Star selection fills you with vengeful wrath?
Kyle Soppe - Kevin Garnett. “Vengeful wrath” may be a bit strong, but I’m not looking forward to the storylines about he and Carmelo Anthony sharing a frontcourt. The All-Star game is meant to highlight the good in our game and what happened a few weeks ago was anything but. Garnett is an all-time great, but he doesn’t deserve to be starting this game. In fact, it is possible that (at this point in his career) he should be the last person off the bench for the East.
Matt Cianfrone - Luol Deng. Do the Bulls really deserve two All-Stars? I don’t think so and the one rightful Bulls’ All-Star was Joakim Noah. It just makes no sense at all to me for Deng to have made this team over someone like Brook Lopez. If you needed another wing then there was Paul Pierce, whose PER is almost 4 points higher and has missed less games, or even Joe Johnson. I just don’t think Deng did enough to merit it.
• More snub talk from Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.
David West, Indiana Pacers: Paul George earned his first All-Star appearance, and rightfully so, but versus some other teams whose contributions were not as evenly spread but who garnered mutliple selections, the Pacers deserve two.
George may be the spark that ignites the Pacers, but it's West who is the steady engine to make the team go. He's a fourth-quarter assassin, leading the Pacers in scoring in the final frame. He's a tough-minded player who will make the plays he needs to. It's difficult to see how the Pacers would be in the position they are if it weren't for West.
Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks: I don't think that just because a team wins games that it needs an All-Star. But I think it's difficult to justify leaving all the Hawks off the team. Josh Smith would be a lock if he stopped with the damn mid-range jumpshots. Jeff Teague is getting there but hasn't made the jump.
And then there's Horford. Smartest player, biggest cog in the offense, excellent passer, terrific defender, and maybe the most versatile center in the East. The Hawks haven't just randomly landed six games over. 500. And Horford deserves the most credit for it.
You put 15 guys on the roster and we will argue about who was No. 16. Guaranteed. I see your picks and I wonder how you could leave Serge Ibaka out of the West? Look at the NCAA Tournament, 68 teams get in and we argue about who was 69, who got snubbed and left out. It’s sports, we will always argue about it.
• Zach Lowe at Grantland unleashed a rant on the snubbing subject.
Which brings me to my next proposal: the Stop Useless Noise (SUN) movement. The days leading up to the All-Star selections are always filled with shouting about how this or that player ABSOLUTELY DESERVES TO BE ON THE ALL-STAR TEAM, or at least “considered” for the All-Star team, whatever that means. WHY ISN’T ANYONE TALKING ABOUT J.R. SMITH????!!! PAUL GEORGE HAS TO BE THERE! HAS TO! SHOULDN’T WE AT LEAST MENTION O.J. MAYO!!!?? HEY, BRANDON JENNINGS IS PLAYING BETTER UNDER JIM BOYLAN!!!! CONSIDER HIM!!!
The SUN movement centers on this principle: Before anyone (writer, fan, talking head) declares that any player should be in the All-Star conversation, that person has to spend at least five minutes going through the exercise of picking the All-Star team using the actual rules. You get 12 roster spots, which you can give to four guards, six frontcourt players and two wild cards. That’s it. You don’t get 20 or 25 spots. You get 12.
• Ben Swanson has a joking look at other snubs at SB Nation.
Daniel Orton - The young Oklahoma City Thunder center is averaging 48 points per 48 minutes this season. Sure, he's only played a couple minutes this season, but with that kind of production, he has to be an automatic selection.
DeSagana Diop - The All-Star Game is a time when no one gives a crap and NBA stars can live out their on-court fantasies. Dwight Howard will play point guard. But we've already seen that. I want to see Diop try to dribble. I want to see Diop try to take a player in isolation. Now THAT would be entertainment.
Nick Young - Most swag in the NBA, hands down. It's his nickname, for crying out loud. If that's not worth anything in an All-Star game consideration, I don't know what is.
Faried calls Copeland "Oomie," the Arabic word for mother, because that's the way he views her — not only as his mother's wife or partner, but as a second guiding, loving, maternal force in his own life. As he says in the video above, there's nobody on this planet who can tell him he doesn't have two mothers, and that their love isn't real or valid, and that they and others shouldn't have the same opportunity and means to express that love as heterosexual couples. If you'd like to try dissuading the 6-foot-8, 230-pound, carved-from-granite perpetual motion machine of that belief, by all means, go for it; I'd much rather agree with him and applaud his willingness to publicly speak out in favor of equal rights for all people. Seems like a way better way to live, and a much better thing to do.
• Chris Broussard of ESPN.com is wasting no time calling for Mike D'Antoni's job in Los Angeles.
So while it has been only 32 games and the Lakers still owe D'Antoni nearly $12 million in guaranteed money, it is time for a divorce. The Lakers should fire D'Antoni and let assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff coach the rest of the season.
I know it sounds drastic, but it needs to be done. This is simply not working, and you know what? It's not going to work because D'Antoni's perimeter-oriented, point-guard-do-it-all, defense-be-damned system does not fit this team. And there are not enough trades out there to be made to make it fit, especially when it's built around a soon-to-be 39-year-old point guard.
Part of this is just expediting the inevitable. D'Antoni is going to be fired sooner or later. It might be at the end of this season, it may be midway through next season or even after next season -- but it's coming. There is no reason to believe things are going to improve significantly, at least not enough to make the Lakers the title contender they definitely should be. So why delay it?
• Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register reports that D'Antoni is safe.
There’s plenty of heat and speculation -- and plenty for Mike D’Antoni to hash out as far as better utilizing his players, including 2013 free agent Dwight Howard -- but I was told Thursday the Lakers are not considering a buyout or firing of D’Antoni as head coach.
"He's a 17-year NBA veteran player. He's been around the business, roughly, about 20 years. He's worked in front offices, he worked for us scouting for little to nothing. He's a workaholic. He gets in the office at 6 in the morning, easy. He's up late at night with the guys getting shots up. …There is a precedent for (this sort of hiring). We've seen other teams recently who have hired young guys who have played who can relate to the players well and who are willing to develop them and challenge them and make them as good as they can be. It just made sense."
Sarver: Everybody in the organization is evaluated on an annual basis and on a regular basis. And that's something we do with everybody in the company. Lance has a very good eye for talent, and one of his main jobs right now is going to be in the draft to get the best talent we can. We do a draft rating before every draft. We list the top 20 players in order that we would pick them in. I get a chance to go back and look at that a year or two later, see the results, check the list. He's been very good with the draft. I think that's a real strength of his. The biggest weakness of Lance Blanks, he's not good at public relations.tend to start shooting significantly worse on three-point attempts
B&G: Yeah, he has the personality of a thumb tack.
Sarver: He's not good at public relations. But that's not his job. Yes, I'd like him to do a little better. I'd wish he'd spend some time with some of you guys, so you can give him a fair shake. But his job is to put together a basketball team, that's his job, and I think he knows how to do that and I think he'll do a good job.