Tag:Chris Paul
Posted on: February 14, 2011 6:15 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2011 6:53 pm

Pretenders or Contenders? The MVP candidates

As we head into the All-Star break, who's are the pretenders and contenders for the NBA MVP award?
Posted by Matt Moore

Before we get to our list of MVP contenders and pretenders, check out Adam Aizer, Greg Urbano, and Ben Golliver as they discuss the most underrated and overrated teams in the NBA and more in our weekly CBSSports.com NBA podcast:  

This season likely features the closest MVP battle we've seen since 2006. The list of worthy candidates is phenomenally long this season, and every candidate has a strong resume and clear question marks which is why this will end up as a hotly contested race down the stretch. 

To be honest, I'm loathe to write this. Anyone whose candidate is excluded will be outraged, but not as much as those listed in the pretenders category. It seems like a direct slap in the face, as if not saying a player is among the very most elite, just the generally elite, is a huge insult. It's understandable. Everyone loves their guy. Worse will be those outraged by my inclusion of certain contenders. Just as some are passionately certain that "their guy" is the MVP, there are candidates that just rub people the wrong way. Some are Chris Paul fans who can't understand all the fuss about Derrick Rose when CP3 has been around for years. Others are livid over Amar'e Stoudemire being in the conversation when Dwight Howard is a force at both  ends of the floor.

The answer to all this? If I had my way, we'd have a ten-way split for Co-MVP. It would be like that episode of "Oprah." "You get an MVP! And you get an MVP! And you get an MVP!" only instead of screaming middle-age stay-at-home moms it would be shrugging 25-30 year old basketball players who don't understand why you're giving them a car when they make over $16 million a year in most cases. The point is that all of these players deserve tremendous respect just for being included in the conversation. And it's entirely possible that some of them really do deserve to win it, or don't deserve to be considered, were there some sort of objective measure. But there isn't. It's a purposefully vague award voted on often by people who have not seen anything close to the entire body of work of all the acceptable candidates. The following is merely meant to be a roadmap based on the likelihood of the voters, featuring the common compliments and detractions for each.

To sum up: don't shoot the messenger. We're all winners in my book.


LeBron James: If there's a favorite, it's got to be LeBron.  The reigning two-time MVP is averaging 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists per game. He's the best player on the second best team in the East, and has shown the abilities that still consistently cause objective observers to label him as the best overall basketball player on the planet. His candidacy continues to improve each month, as he averaged 30 points in January, and is averaging 8.6 rebounds since the start of 2011.  Furthermore, Cleveland's horrific turn lingers in many eyes, despite the injuries to Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao wreaking havoc on Byron Scott's lineups. It's hard to argue against James when his former team went from the best regular season record in the East to arguably the worst team in the league. But there are reasons why James may not get the vote. His numbers, particularly his assists, are down, despite having his superstar teammates. We expected the scoring drop when put alongside Bosh and Wade, but he's having a harder time creating for teammates despite having far superior ones. His efficiency is also down considerably, with a 26.7 PER this season down from 31.1 last year. He may also suffer from the  "Jordan effect" where writers get tired of votiing for the same guy over and over again. But the biggest reason, sigh, is of course his image. No one wants to reward James' preseason preening, and considering the enormous expectations put on the Heat, it's hard to reward James when he hasn't blown everyone away despite the All-Star teammates he shares the floor with. 

Chris Paul: Paul has been the most efficient point guard on the planet this season. While Rajon Rondo leads in Assists, Weighted Assists, and Assist percentage, Paul isn't far behind in any of those categories, and has a lower turnover ratio. He's also better offensively. His (near) return to health has taken the Hornets from a lottery team to a team looking at homecourt advantage in the first round in a tough Western Conference, and may have single-handedly pushed the attendance where it needed to be to avoid the lease agreement issue. Paul is still strongly considered by many to be the clear-cut best point guard in the league, in an era where that position is filled to the brim with outstanding talent. The knocks on Paul seem like nit-picking. He simply hasn't been dominant in closing stretches of close games. Too often he defers, and not in the "pass to the open man off the double" way. More in the "here, David West, here's the ball, I'll be in the corner, good luck" way. He seems to be struggling to regain his explosivness that he showcased in his near-MVP season in 2008, and has not trusted his floater enough. Paul has had a phenomenal season and is definitely a contender, but the voters will need more in order for him to walk away with the trophy. 

Dwight Howard: Oh, Dwight. If Howard were to play every game on the offensive end as he did Sunday against the Lakers, the award could be thrown at his feet during All-Star Weekend. Howard is an extremely divisive figure in the conversation, arguably even moreso than LeBron. LeBron's detractors don't like him, and have good reason not to like him, but finding fault with his game is pretty tough. With Howard, finding fault with his game isn't difficult, but neither is finding evidence that he's the single most impactful player on both ends of the floor. He's still the monstrous defensive presence he has been for the past three seasons, even if Kevin Love's astronomical rebound rate has stolen the top spot statistically. Howard is still the most dominant rebounding force in the league. He's able to influence play mechanics and shot selection, he rotates, blocks shots into the ninth row, has terrific awareness and is the biggest reason why the Magic are still hovering around homecourt advantage in the first round. Howard has also featured a more expanded offensive repertoire, showing off a mid-range jumpshot to go with his array of dunks. He leads all centers who play 30 minutes a night in FG% at the rim , at 75.5%. So what's the hold back? In short, if you absolutely need a bucket in the fourth quarter of a contested game, Howard is still not the best place to go. With all the improvements made to his offensive game, he's actually shooting his second worst free throw percentage of his career. That alone wouldn't take him out of the running, but with the Magic having made several trades to improve the squad and still struggling, Howard isn't supporting them enough on his own to make him the favorite in some eyes. His footwork remains inconsistent, his offensive repertoire still the basketball equivalent of the menu at a baked potato restaurant. You can get it loaded with whatever you want, it's still a baked potato. Howard may be the candidate who suffers most from perceptions rather than facts about his game, and that's saying something with LeBron James in the conversation. 

Derrick Rose: If Howard is most often punished based on feeling rather than fact, then Rose is his mirror image. The point guard who's not an elite passer, the scorer who's not the model of efficiency, but the player who "wows" voters night in and night out. Rose has shown a phenomenal ability to take over games, particularly in the fourth quarter, and with extended injuries to both Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, the Bulls' second and third best players respectively, it's been Rose that has pushed the Bulls to be in contention not only for homecourt advantage in the Eastern Conference, but possibly a top-two seed. He's improved in nearly every aspect of his game, from defense, to scoring, to creating contact and getting to the line, which was a concern early this season. He's quite simply been a phenomenal basketball player, even though he's not necessarily dominant in any one area. Rose has found a way to make the necessary play more times than not when the Bulls have a chance to win the game, and his athleticism and explosiveness simply blows you away. All that said, he's a third-year player on a third-place team who's only shooting 45% from the field. Rose being considered a candidate is either a testament to the immeasurable impact his play has on the game, or a case of big-market bias combined with a sentimental affection for a outstanding highlights insteads of empirical evidence. 


Kobe Bryant: Kobe Bryant doesn't care about this award. Could not give a flip. He cares about the sixth ring, catching Michael, cementing his legacy, sending Phil out on top (or perhaps more importantly, not failing him), and doing it his way. Which means lots and lots and lots of shots. Whether you agree or disagree that Kobe's the source of the occasional Lakers' stalling mid-flight offensively, to argue that Bryant doesn't like to shoot is beyond reason. He leads all players in FGA per 40 minutes . All players. Even the end-of-benchers who like to toss it up so as to say they made a few buckets in an NBA game before heading off to the D-League again take fewer shots than Bryant. And that's acceptable. He's the singular best offensive talent of his time. So he'll continue doing what he wants, and scoring, and winning more often than not, in part because he had the unimitigated gall to demand to play for the Lakers before the draft, and has been rewarded with teams of unfathomable talent and a Hall of Fame coach, and in part because he may very well be the second best ball player to ever lace up shoes on an NBA floor. So for Bryant to be considered a pretender should not be taken as some sort of grand insult the way so many consider his exclusion of the award from 2005 to 2007 to be. He's older, he doesn't shoot as well, he doesn't have to try as hard, and Pau Gasol is just as much a part of what makes the Lakers great. Bryant is a phenomenal player on the West's second best team, as well as the star of the defending NBA champions who many expect to repeat. None of this makes him worthy of the NBA's Most Valuable Player Award, just as none fo the accomplishments of the contenders listed above make their legacies in any way comparable to what Bryant has accomplished. Bryant's past a silly regular season award. He's playing for points in the game of immortality. 

Dirk Nowitzki: If physically pains me to place Nowitzki here. Did you know that Nowitzki is shooting 51% from 16-23 feet ? Think about that.  As the number one offensive threat for a Western Conference contender, in the most difficult place to shoot from (three-pointers are often set, catch and shoot opportunities with reasonable space from a closing defender), Nowitzki makes more than he misses. That's incredible. What will really shock you, however, is Dirk's defense. He's allowing just 29% FG shooting in the post. He's certainly not defending top-level post players, but that's still incredible for a guy often criticized for his defense. Same with isolation, where he's allowing just 36.4% shooting. (Numbers courtesy of Synergy Sports.) All this and he's helped lead the Mavericks to the second best record in the Western Conference. So what's the knock on Dirk? Nowitzki suffers more than any other candidate from the "What have you done for me lately?"card. Nowitzki has already won the award, his team isn't blowing everyone away in their conference, and they're still not taken seriously as a title contender. It's impossible to find an argument with Dirk's play, it's that once again, he doesn't seem to "feel" like an MVP. 

Amar'e Stoudemire: Stoudemire energized New York in the first quarter of the season and was blasting his way through the Eastern Conference. It looked every bit like Stoudemire was going to be a legit MVP candidate this year. But the Knicks have fallen off, and as a result, Stoudemire's contributions no longer seem as sterling. Yet he's still averaging 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game, at or near career highs, and certainly is the most valuable player on a Knicks team that's a lock for the playoffs, even as homecourt slips further and further away. The biggest knock on Stoudemire? Defense. His defensive numbers are average in the post according to Synergy Sports, and there's a widely held perception that he's a terrible defender. It's probably an exaggeration, but without any signature wins over the top defensive teams outside Chicago (ironically the top defensive team), Stoudemire will be hard pressed to get the vote, even with the New York advantage. 

Kevin Garnett: Can a player average only 15 points and win MVP? Probably not, which is why Garnett will likely fail to get many, if any votes for MVP. But he deserves to at least be in the discussion. Garnett shoots 74% at the rim this season, and 46% from 16-23 feet . He's the unquestioned defensive leader of the most trusted defensive unit in the league, and his work has somehow been even better than usual this year. His explosiveness has returned after last year's recovery from a knee injury, and he has been dominant at both ends of the floor at times. If LeBron James is excused from statistical dips because of his teammates, how about Garnett who plays on the deepest team in the league? Not to mention, how many other candidates can hit someone in the testicles and not get suspended for it? Garnett means more to the best team in the East than any other player. That alone should get him in the room for this discussion. But he's still not individually brilliant enough to warrant the award. The Celtics without Garnett could conceivably still be a top three team in the East. Thats' how stacked they are. And much like Bryant, Garnett's presence isn't most felt in the regular season, but in April, when the toughest part of the season comes into play.
Posted on: February 12, 2011 11:30 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2011 11:32 pm

Rose tops CP3, but is he moving past him too?

Posted by Royce Young

Derrick Rose's name may be rising in the MVP conversation. He actually may be at the top of the list.

But he's still having trouble cracking the "top point guard in the league" debate. Whether it's because he doesn't routinely dish out 10 assists a night or because I'm not even sure what qualifies a real "true point guard," Rose is still trying to overcome Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo and even the blossoming Russell Westbrook in terms of the top spot of elite point guard status.

Rose made another statement Saturday though, outplaying yet another one of the league's top point guards in Chicago's 97-88 win over the Hornets. Rose had 23 points and six assists against Chris Paul, but perfectly orchestrated the Chicago offense in the second half. What's making Rose so good right now is that he's picking spots to take over. He has weapons in Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Ronnie Brewer so he doesn't have to score 35 in order for the Bulls to win.

That description though, is what was used to summarize how crafty and Chris Paul has always been. Paul is a player capable of routinely scoring 20 points a night, but instead he involves teammates wonderfully and chooses his battles. He finds the moments when he needs to score, when he needs to shoot and when he needs to create. It's the gift of a great point guard.

But with Rose's latest vanquishing of one of the league's premier point men, we've got to start asking, where exactly does he rank? I think we can all agree he's somewhere in the top five, but using this latest showing, is he better than Paul? I know, I felt a little weird asking that myself. But let's look.

There's no arguing that Rose is the better athlete. He's far more explosive. That's partly unfair to CP3 as it doesn't look like he's fully recovered from that knee injury that sidelined him for most of last season. But Rose plays above the rim and can finish over anyone. Paul has to get creative. He has to wiggle into the lane, create a little contact and finish. But just being fast, strong and able to jump high doesn't make you the best.

Because where Paul has Rose still is in the category of running a team and an offense. There's just nobody in the league that sets up his guys like CP3. Most of Rose's dishes come as a result of breaking down the defense, getting them to collapse and then kicking to an open player. Paul actually finds open men. Watch Chris Paul next time. I mean, really watch him. It's almost stunning to watch him locate an open shooter at the last second.

Paul is also the better defender at this point. Nicolas Batum called out Rose's defense after Andre Miller torched the Bulls' point man, but Batum was a little excited there. Rose is a good defender. He's just not CP3. Chris Paul is a truly elite defender. I've never been so impressed with Paul's defense as I was last season when he took the assignment of Kevin Durant for an entire fourth quarter and frustrated Durant into multiple turnovers, tough shots and basically kept the Thunder's scorer entirely out of rhythm. It was a sight.

Rose's most recent effort showcased though how far he's come. He did a fantastic job on CP3, holding the Hornet to just six assists and 3-10 shooting. He used his athleticism to keep Paul out of the paint and contested everything. Rose may not be a great defender, but he's better than average.

Is he there yet though? Is Rose really at the level of Chris Paul in terms of the very best point guard in the league? I don't think so. That's something CP3 has won because of the excellence of multiple seasons. We saw how important Paul was to this Hornet team when he went down last season. Rose has absolutely carried the Bulls through injuries this season and in terms of just a basketball player, is every bit Paul's equal. But in terms of a point man, CP3 still bears the torch.

For now.
Posted on: February 11, 2011 3:26 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 4:28 pm

Chris Paul fined for verbally abusing a referee

New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul was fined by the NBA for verbally abusing a referee. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Chris Paul's tough night just got a little worse.

The NBA announced on Friday that Paul, the All-Star point guard for the New Orleans Hornets, has been fined $15,000 for his treatment of an official following Wednesday night's overtime loss to the New Jersey Nets. Here's text of the announcement via the Times-Picayune.
New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul has been fined $15,000 for verbal abuse of a game official, it was announced Friday by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
The incident occurred following the Hornets’ 103-101 overtime loss to the New Jersey Nets at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on February 9.
Paul, who played an eye-popping 51 minutes on Wednesday, had a potential game-winning three-pointer rim out at the buzzer in overtime, and the Hornets fell to the Nets, 103-101. Paul fell to the floor during the attempt in an attempt to draw a foul.

Here's video of the potential game-winner courtesy of YouTube user NBABigThree

After the game in which he shot 4-15 from the field, Paul made comments to the Times-Picayune that expressed frustration with his play.
“As a point guard and leader, there is no way I should have let us lose that game,’’ Paul said.  “I feel like this was my loss. I made some bad decisions down the stretch. I’m frustrated with my indecisions.’’
The fine, then, is just the cherry on top.
Posted on: February 10, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: February 10, 2011 11:28 am

Chris Paul isn't out of the question for New York

Posted by Royce Young

Over the summer, it wasn't about Carmelo Anthony. It was all about Chris Paul. And the feeling was that CP3 had his eye on the Knicks.

That notion was bumped up a notched at Carmelo's wedding. Chris Paul toasted to a new Big 3 in New York. Amar'e Stoudemire had just signed there, Carmelo would be a free agent this summer and Paul one in 2012.

Most saw it as a joke, playing off Miami's brand new Big 3. Even the players involved said it was. But a source told ESPN New York, that it wasn't all kidding.

"Go back to the wedding toast," the source said. "Nothing's really changed since that night. The feeling is that Carmelo will be here this year, and Paul will be here in 2012."

While CP3 appears to be happy in New Orleans right now, that summer of 2012 certainly looms large.

The Hornets franchise is in a major state of uncertainty, you know, with the NBA owning it and all, so what happens with Paul is unknown. By all appearances, the Hornets will be faced with the same situation in 2011 that the Nuggets are going through now.

Another question mark around building this superteam is whether or not Donnie Walsh with be with the Knicks to pull it off. As Ken Berger reportd, Walsh's contract is up this season with owner James Dolan having the option to extend it one more year. But past that, it's unknown if Walsh will be in New York much longer.

But none of this happens until the Carmelo situation gets solved. You can't have a Big 3 without at least a Big 2. So getting Anthony is the priority. After that, getting CP3 would just be icing. And pretty awesome.
Posted on: February 9, 2011 11:50 am

The Rockets are certainly being active

Posted by Royce Young

The Rockets have been somewhat of a disappointment this season. As a result, general manager Daryl Morey has constantly been reassuring fans that he and the front office have been furiously working to get the team where it should be.

And according to the Houston Chronicle, they absolutely have been.

His team needs talent, size, defense and rebounding. Carmelo Anthony appears to be at the top of his wish list, and Morey would trade for him without any guarantee of signing him to a long-term contract.

He knows Anthony wants to play for the Knicks, but at this point will take his chances. Morey also has asked about Chris Paul, Josh Smith, DeAndre Jordan, Anderson Varejao and a long list of others.

Everyone on the Rockets' roster is available as the NBA's February 24th trading deadline approaches, but some are more likely to go than others.

That's interesting right there. Everyone is available on the Rockets' roster. That means Morey has been saying things like, "OK, how about Kevin Martin and Luis Scola for Chris Paul?"

And all of this starts adding up with the reports mentioning Aaron Brooks' availability. One day, the Rockets were "trying hard" to move him. The next, that was refuted. Hard to really know, but it sounds like the team is listening to any and all offers.

The Rockets certainly have a good number of pieces that other teams would love to acquire. Shane Battier is a perfect veteran to have for a playoff run. Yao Ming's contract of course is something a rebuilding team would love to have coming off the books this summer. Patrick Patterson and Chase Budinger are two young players that teams probably would go after. There assets in the cupboard right now for the Rockets.

Morey has proven he's not shy about making moves. His deal for Kevin Martin last season was an aggressive one. His dealing of Tracy McGrady for picks, Jordan Hill and Jared Jeffries was too as well as the trade that sent Trevor Ariza to New Orleans. He's definitely willing to make a deal if it's out there.

The Rockets are four games back of the eight-seed in the West. As they're currently built, they don't look ready to realistically challenge for that spot. So Morey has to decide if he's trying to improve for now, or for later. By the sounds of it, he's keeping his head in the present.
Posted on: January 28, 2011 4:42 pm

So Kobe isn't clutch but really, who is?

Posted by Royce Young

Want to start a debate? Say something about Kobe Bryant not being clutch. That's what TrueHoop's Henry Abbott did today and everyone went wild with it.

Honestly, you could probably start your own news channel centered entirely around Kobe debates. Fox News, CNN and MSNBC can argue about politics all they want. The real debate is centered around No. 24.

I know what you're saying, "Tell me more Royce. Why again is Kobe Bryant not clutch? I've seen him make so many big shots." Well, here's Henry's point:
ESPN Stats and Information's Alok Pattani dug through 15 years of NBA data (see table below) -- Bryant's entire career, regular season and playoffs -- and found that Bryant has attempted 115 shots in the final 24 seconds of a game in which the Lakers were tied or trailed by two or fewer points. He connected on 36, and missed 79 times.

One shot for all the cookies. And the NBA is nearly unanimous that this is the guy to take it, even though he has more than twice as many misses as makes?


Bryant shoots more than most, passes less, and racks up misses at an all-time rate. There is no measure, other than YouTube highlights and folklore, by which he's the best scorer in crunch time.
It's hard to argue with the numbers. Because you see, numbers and stats and facts are sort of hard to disprove. I agree with people that say, "But, but, he's Kobe and he makes so many!" because I've seen him hit big shots. It's hard to forget those. Thing is though, he's missed a lot. A whole lot.

My issue is, what the heck even is clutch? What makes a guy clutch? Just because he dropped a few game-winners? In my mind what defines "clutch" is a player that can perform his job at a high rate despite incredible stress. That might mean Bill in your office is super clutch because he got that memo finished before five on Friday afternoon so you all got to go home early.

Everyone wants to define clutch as the guy making the shot. But what about Dwight Howard? He pulls down some big-time defensive rebounds in crunch time. What about Chris Paul? He's set up David West for some big-time shots in crunch time? What about Steve Nash? He's iced some big-time games at the free throw line in crunch time. Aren't all those plays clutch, game-winning plays? Or do we only define it as "buzzer-beating game-winners?" Most do and since Kobe has a lot of those on his resume, he's Mr. Clutch, right? And that's why you want him taking that shot every time, right?

However, any basketball coach and they are telling you what they want is the correct basketball play in those moments. On top of that, you'd prefer your best player taking the biggest shots because there's a reason he's your best player. That's just not always possible.

I remember a few years ago how everyone was yelling about LeBron James passing up game-winning attempt by instead hitting Anthony Parker or Daniel Gibson for a wide openlook. Yes, you want LeBron taking that shot because he's your best player, but LeBron was making the right play. He found an open shooter who had a better look than him. That's what you want, right?

People forget, all the players on the floor are in the NBA. They are all capable of scoring (unless Adam Morrison happens to be on the floor, but that's a whole other point). Michael Jordan is famous for his big shots, but he also hit Steve Kerr for an open 3 and John Paxson for a big 3. Why? Because they were the correct plays.

At the same time, getting that clean look in crunch time isn't easy. Referees let more go, defenders play a little tigher and players' hearts start pumping a little faster and that follow-through gets a little tougher. So what you want first and foremost is a good player to get a good look. I would guess that happens about one percent of the time. What you're left with the other 99 percent of the time is relying on your players to make a great player.

That's what separates these classes of "clutch" scorers. Take Kevin Durant's game-winner against the Knicks for example. That play was horrible and the shot was bad. But that's why you want players like Kobe, Dwyane Wade, Durant, LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki -- they can make those horrible shots. They have that ability to knock it down when everything goes wrong. It's why you have the ball in their hands over Carlos Arroyo or Luke Walton.

At the same time, it's also a reason their clutch numbers aren't that wonderful. Because they are the ones taking them. You know why Tiger Woods is considered so clutch? Because he's had a lot of opportunities. (Now you've got a chicken or the egg thing. Is the reason he had the chances because he's clutch or is he clutch because he has the chances. My take: It doesn't matter. Clutch or not, maybe he's just good at what he does.)

So again, in Durant's case, because of a bad play and bad execution, he was left taking a fadeaway 3-pointer to win the game. If he clanks it, his clutch numbers take a hit. Since he drilled it, everyone is saying how wonderfully big-time he was. And when you're the designated Big Shot Taker, you're going to be stuck with a lot of those. And you're going to miss a lot of them.

Consider this: Most of the time, you get 24 seconds on your possession. That means you have the typical, normal amount of time to run your set and get your shot. What it also means is that you have time to go to a secondary option if the first is shut down. But in crunch-time situations, sometimes there's only 12 seconds on the clock when you inbound the ball. Sometimes two. So you've got to hoist the shot no matter how good a look you end up with. That's why while you can't argue with the numbers, in a lot of cases, there's a bigger story to them.

That's why I think when you start going inside these type of things, it's really hard to pin down the truth. That's why really, it makes me wonder what the heck "clutch" really is and why we're so fascinated by it. Can't Kobe just be a great basketball player?

Kobe Bryant makes some, he misses a lot. Does that make him not clutch? By what the numbers say, most definitely. But then again, who really is?
Posted on: January 27, 2011 7:24 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 12:23 am

All-Star teams announced; how do they look?

Posted by Royce Young

The starting five for the East and West All-Star teams were announced Thursday night and nothing jumped out as a huge surprise. Kobe Bryant was the top vote-getter overall, with Dwight Howard leading the East.

There weren't any major surprises since the last batch of results were releaed a few weeks ago. The East has Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Amar'e Stoudemire and Dwight Howard while the West features Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Andrew Bynum (Yao Ming was the top vote-getter, but of course is injured).

The question though that always comes with these sort of things when fans have the power is, did they get it right?


G: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

Did the fans get it right? Yes. Rajon Rondo was really the only other candidate and Rose only recently took him over for the starting spot. But with the numbers Rose has put up plus the with just how exciting he is, he's the correct choice. Rondo would've been a fine pick, but Rose is emerging as an MVP candidate and is the only player in the league averaging 24 points and eight assists a game. Rose is the game's youngest starter by a few days over Kevin Durant. 

G: Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

Did the fans get it right? Yes. Wade is one of those guys that really will be a starter for life. Some worried when he teamed up with LeBron that his numbers might dip. They haven't. Wade's still awesome. So again, a good pick by the fans.

F: LeBron James, Miami Heat

Did the fans get it right? Yes. Let me tell you, these Eastern voters are smart people. But then again, it's not hard to be when all the top players are also the biggest fan favorites. It helps in the East that there really wasn't an alternative either though. LeBron hasn't suffered any kind of drop-off in popularity or production, pulling in a huge number of votes while also making yet another All-Star team as a starter.

F: Amar'e Stoudemie, New York Knicks

Did the fans get it right? Yes. Stoudemire becomes the first Knick starter since 1997 when Patrick Ewing was named to the team. This is really the most debatable position in the Eastern Conference. Kevin Garnett was on top for a good part of the year but Amar'e overtook him in January. Tough call really and neither guy is a bad pick. But Stoudemire has helped restore basketball in New York has put up huge numbers and is establishing himself as an MVP candidate. Garnett, while excellent, was injured for a few weeks and doesn't have the same numbers as Stoudemire.

C: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

Did the fans get it right? Yes. When your other options are Shaquille O'Neal an injured Andrew Bogut and I don't know Nazr Mohammed (seriously, who else is there?) Howard is a pretty easy pick. He's got this spot locked up for a while and as his total votes showed, he's one the league's biggest names around the world.


G: Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets

Did the fans get it right? Yes. This was a close one. The Western guards is the deepest position in the league. Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Monta Ellis and on and on. But Paul has been good all season and across the board in statistical categories, Paul is at the top or very near it.

G: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Did the fans get it right? Yes. Kobe led the way in votes again and anchors the West squad. There's no question that as long as he's still bouncing a ball that he's earned a spot in this game. And with the biggest name across the world in terms of basketball, he'll have a starting spot for a long time too.

F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

Did the fans get it right? Yes. The league's leading scorer and the youngest starter for the West. At just 22, Durant is probably just now starting a very, very long run as an All-Star starter. A lot of people wondered that if in small-town Oklahoma City that he'd gain the national recognition needed to become a big-name star, but evidently that wasn't a problem. Durant was the second-leading vote-getter in the West behind Kobe.

F: Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

Did the fans get it right? No. A tough call but first of all, Melo isn't really a power forward. And since Durant beat him out in the forward vote, Carmelo is the one that's cut. No doubt Melo is having a nice season, but with Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol and Kevin Love playing the ACTUAL position, it's hard to justify Melo being a starter. One of those guys is more deserving of this spot based on what they've done this year.

C: Yao Ming, Houston Rockets

Did the fans get it right? Um, no. Yao has only played in five games and trust me, he wasn't that amazing in those five games. Yao is the poster child for what's wrong with fan voting. Other than Yao, you can really make the case that the other nine starters are justified. But because of China, Yao is voted in again while other more deserving players sit behind him. The commissioner will fill this spot and it'll likely be with the runner-up Andrew Bynum, a pick that's still not that good.

Posted on: January 27, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 7:15 pm

NBA announces 2011 East, West All-Star starters

The National Basketball Association has officially announced the starters for the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams. Posted by Ben Golliver.

The NBA officially announced the Eastern Conference and Western Conference starters for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game on Thursday.

For the Eastern Conference: Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, Miami Heat forward LeBron James, New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire, and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.

For the Western Conference: New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Houston Rockets Yao Ming.

Of the 10 names selected, there were no real surprises, as all had established themselves fairly strongly during the balloting process. The biggest snubs? For the East: probably Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, although Rose is difficult to argue. For the West: Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki should be there, as should every center that actually played more than five games this season.

Bryant was the leading vote-getter for the Western Conference; Howard was the leading vote-getter for the Eastern Conference.

Here's a look at the jerseys this year's All-Stars will be wearing. 

The 2011 All-Star game will be played in Los Angeles, California, at the Staples Center on February 20.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com