Blog Entry

All-Star Debate: How much does legacy matter?

Posted on: February 2, 2011 9:02 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2011 9:08 pm
How much should legacy or prior career achievements factor into a player's All-Star selection? Our NBA crew debates that question. Posted by Ben Golliver.

All-Star reserves will be announced on Thursday, and par for the course, the coaches have some tough decisions. We'll be debating the merits of each choice the coaches will have to make. These debates don't necessarily reflect the actual opinions of the writers. Think of it as opposition research, only if we opposed everyone. Our third debate? How much does a player's legacy influence his potential selection and how much should legacy influence the selections? Should guys get in on past accomplishments or should the coaches reward the younger guns?

Legacy isn't that big of a deal, and that's a good thing

by Royce Young

The All-Star Game rewards players for having fantastic individual seasons. For having excellent statistics and playing terrific basketball. I think players like Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal have indeed earned something over their careers. They've worked their way into immediate Hall of Fame induction and greatest ever discussions. So in a game that awards that sort of excellence, a player's legacy certainly has something to do with it. If nothing else, it's a pretty good trump card to have.

Overall, I don't think either things should matter all that much. If you're good and you're having a great season, you deserve All-Star consideration. If your team stinks and you've got no legacy, it shouldn't matter if you're an All-Star. That distinction should be earned over the first half of the season, not over 15 years prior. 

Legacy matters a lot, but it shouldn't

by Matt Moore

I think it's pretty clear that legacy is the overriding factor in a lot of coach's decisions. This sport revolves around respect for those who have consistently been great, and is tough on accepting those who have not gone out and obtained such success this season. I think when you look back at so many of the decisions being made out of respect for previous accomplishment, Allen Iverson, for example, versus current role, abilities, and performance, that's pretty clear. But is it right?  I tend to think it's a silly waste of a mark of recognition that could go to someone else. It's one thing if it's someone like Tim Duncan, who's team is the best in the league right now, and while his production doesn't mirror that of his past All-Star seasons, he's still a huge focal point and able to put in a great night's work. But someone like Shaq, or Vince Carter in year's past, where his performance really doesn't have that much of an impact on the game? To include those players over someone younger, who's carried his team this season and performed at a star level I think misses a great opportunity to expose the fans to guys they may not have heard of. 

We've got enough opportunities to lavish over historic legacies. But younger, hungrier players are trying to make a name for themselves now, and in ignoring their efforts, you're downplaying what matters most: what's happened on the court. I look at a guy like LaMarcus Aldridge, or even a less obvious pick in Rudy Gay, whose contributions have meant as much to his team as many of the reserves, and I see a wasted opportunity to really shine a light on guys having a phenomenal season. Oddly, the East seems much more ready to simply accept the work done, with guys like Al Horford and Gerald Wallace selected last year. The typical response is "Those guys are All-Stars?" They are, and they should be. It's time we stop treating the game like an annual repetition of a lifetime achievement award. 

Legacy matters a lot, deal with it

by Ben Golliver

Pardon me for always playing the role of the cynic, but we can agree that the NBA All-Star game is a popularity contest. The easiest way to win a popularity contest? Have an established track record of being popular, of course. Name recognition and star power count a lot; That's just life in a league where the super-duper stars that cross over into "household name" status are 10-100 times more well-known than up-and-comers that haven't tasted true national popularity yet, even if they're better players over the first half of the NBA season.

Does it bother me that young guns occasionally get left out of the All-Star game to pay homage to an elder statesman? Sure, it does. But I tend to look at the cream of the crop NBA talent as a giant warehouse, with new models being introduced to an existing inventory and old models eventually becoming obsolete. There's an assembly line process feel of it, and the coaches do a solid job of making sure deserving players get a crack at some national publicity while the truly deserving players come back year after year. 

To boil it down: I'm cool with the current "you have to really, really prove it" system for young guys to make it. Every year, someone (Kevin Durant, etc.) rises to that standard and it makes the accomplishment that much more special. And, every year, we get a final look at some oldie classics (Tim Duncan, perhaps). I just don't see any perennial, big-time losers in the current set-up.


Since: Feb 3, 2011
Posted on: February 3, 2011 2:15 pm

All-Star Debate: How much does legacy matter?

What makes the above comment ridiculous about the NBA being there to "entertain the fans" is that the all star game is often filled with some of the; sloppiest, fundamentally unsound, error prone, most boring type of basketball there is.

So sorry if I people are confusing infusing the game with talent that is actually having good seasons as opposed to tired retreads who are on their last legs. 

Not to mention, how in the world are you going to educate the public on talent they may NOT be familiar with if they're not showcased??  

Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: February 3, 2011 5:15 am

All-Star Debate: How much does legacy matter?

So, should Duncan get the spot because of legacy? No. The idea of depriving a more worthy player his 1st all-star appearance so that some old timer adds to his cume is silly.
Does that mean Duncan should not get named all star? No. I'd pick him. Point to other players bigger stats all you want, but the Spurs are running an ensemble cast here where none of Ginobili, Parker, or Duncan is putting up big volume numbers. We know who these guys are. Do people seriously believe that Pop could do more swapping any of them out for borderline all stars on mediocre or worse teams? C'mon now.
While we're at it, Steve Nash should also get the wild card all-star nod over the Aldridge/Griffin/Loves of the world, and not because of legacy. At least as good box score numbers, far more responsibility than Aldridge, far more proven +/- impact than Griffin or Love in addition to running a better team.

Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: February 3, 2011 2:43 am

All-Star Debate: How much does legacy matter?

To me, the point of the all-star game is to give recognition to the players who are having a great year THIS year. A player could have a great year, get injured, and never have the opportunity to play in an all-star game again. Also, it enhances the game to have the players playing who are at the top of their games NOW.

Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: February 2, 2011 11:39 pm

All-Star Debate: How much does legacy matter?

Legacy shouldn't matter very, if at all.  Its the All STAR game; it should feature the top players in the prime of their careers'.  Shaq hasn't been an 'All Star' caliber player for at least 5 years, but he's been an all star in all but 1 of those years.  He's well past his prime and shouldn't be included any more.   I would say have a second game.  Veterans vs. Up and comers.  Either in place of, or in addition to, the Rookie game.  Have former All Stars who are still pretty good, but not top level players, play the guys who aren't quite good enough to be All Stars yet.

Since: Feb 2, 2011
Posted on: February 2, 2011 9:59 pm

All-Star Debate: How much does legacy matter?

The point of the nba is to entertain the fans, the fans vote who they want to see play if they vote for someone because of their legacy like iverson then who cares, itll still be entertaining for the fans.

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