Tag:All-Star Weekend
Posted on: February 1, 2011 6:33 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2011 7:11 pm

NBA announces Rookie / Sophomore All-Star rosters

The NBA has announced the rosters for it's annual rookie vs. sophomore challenge game during All-Star weekend. Posted by Ben Golliver. griffin-evans

It seems like we say this every year, but, on paper, the Sophomores are going to absolutely destroy the Rookies in this year's Rookie Challenge. The NBA released the rosters for the two teams on Tuesday, and the Sophomores tout reigning Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, along with his stiff competition for that award: Brandon Jenning and Stephen Curry

The Rookies pair up the lock for 2011 Rookie of the Year, Blake Griffin, and John Wall, which is a match made in highlight heaven. Past those two, and perhaps DeMarcus Cousins and glue guy Landry Fields, the talent level tails off pretty hard, pretty fast. 

Here's the full list of names, via the NBA. 
Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans, the reigning T-Mobile  Rookie of the Year, and Los Angeles Clippers rookie forward Blake Griffin, the only  player  in  the  NBA  averaging at least 20 points, 12 rebounds and three assists, lead a list of 18 players selected for the 2011 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam to be held on Friday, Feb. 18, in Los Angeles during NBA All-Star 2011.
The participants in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam were selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches, with each team submitting one ballot. 

Joining  Evans  on  the Sophomore team are: San Antonio Spurs center DeJuan Blair, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday, Oklahoma City Thunder forward/center Serge Ibaka, Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings, and Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews.

Washington Wizards guard John Wall, the top selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, joins Griffin on the Rookie team, which also includes: Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, New Jersey Nets forward Derrick Favors, New York Knicks guard Landry Fields, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Wesley Johnson, Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe, and San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal.
While this is barely worth noting because we're talking about an exhibition game, Blair, Gibson, Ibaka and Matthews all boast post-season experience and combine to possess a fair bit of basketball intelligence. And by that I mean: they'll play harder than most, but when Blake Griffin is about to make one of his posters they'll be savvy enough to get out of the way. 

One other footnote: DeRozan, Ibaka and Griffin will all be in the Slam Dunk contest as well. 

I can't wait for this game. There's a distinct possibility that Wall could throw Griffin an alley-oop from the far baseline, setting a Guiness record in the process.
Posted on: February 1, 2011 5:36 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2011 5:39 pm

Justin Bieber to play in All-Star celebrity game

Pop star Justin Bieber will play in the NBA All-Star celebrity game. Posted by Ben Golliver. justin-bieber

Back in October, we noted that drawers-dropping pop singer Justin Bieber got the chance to hold Phil Jackson's NBA championship ring. Little did we know that this would be just the beginning of an influential year of hoops for Bieber.

As it turns out, the adolescent crooner will be headlining the 2011 NBA All-Star Celebrity game, according to the Associated Press.
The newest name to play Showtime: Justin Bieber. The 16-year-old pop singer will join Magic Johnson, WNBA hoopsters and stars from film, music and television Feb. 18 in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at Staples Center in Los Angeles. 
Former NBA stars Scottie Pippen and Bill Walton, actors Ty Burrell and Jason Alexander and rapper Common will be among those also taking part.
NBA.com has posted the full list of participants.
  • ESPN Analyst Magic Johnson (NBA legend and Hall of Famer)
  • Grammy-nominated artist Justin Bieber (pop artist)
  • Scottie Pippen (NBA legend and Hall of Famer)
  • Bill Walton (NBA legend and Hall of Famer)
  • AC Green (NBA legend)
  • B.J. Armstrong (NBA legend)
  • Chris Mullin (ESPN Analyst and NBA legend)
  • Jalen Rose (ESPN Analyst and NBA legend)
  • Jimmy Kimmel ("Jimmy Kimmel Live!")
  • Ty Burrell ("Modern Family")
  • Rob Kardashian ("Keeping Up with the Kardashians")
  • Zach Levi ("Chuck")
  • Jason Alexander ("Curb Your Enthusiasm")
  • Common (Just Wright)
  • Bill Simmons (ESPN.com columnist)

The two GMs charged with selecting the teams will be late-night host Jimmy Kimmel and writer Bill Simmons, who already joked on Twitter, "Who gets Bieber?" Presumably, a draft-day trade involving cash and conditional future picks will be required to obtain the top overall pick and the right to obtain Bieber's basketball skillz.

Following typical blog format, this is the portion of the post where I am supposed to make a basketball-related pun based off of one of Bieber's song titles. Unfortunately, I don't know a single one of his songs and I don't want our IT guys to start wondering why I'm googling his name.

So we'll just wrap this up here.
Posted on: January 31, 2011 8:16 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2011 6:26 am

All-Star Debate: Love vs. Griffin vs. Aldridge

Who deserves the reserve forward spot for the West? Our NBA crew debates LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, and Blake Griffin for a spot.
Posted by Matt Moore

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 first debate? LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Blake Griffin vs. Kevin Love. 

LaMarcus Aldridge: The professional's choice

by Ben Golliver

Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan has spearheaded the All-Star campaign for his power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, and that's no accident. Aldridge's play this year has been a coach's dream and, as coaches happen to vote on these things, who better than his coach to lay out the credentials? In the face of another disastrous injury-plagued season, Aldridge has been a rock. He's No. 7 in the minute in minute's played and No. 1 overall for big men. Despite playing on one of the league's slowest-paced teams, playing next to one of the league's premier rebounders, and shifting from "B" option to "A" option on offense, Aldridge has posted 21 points per game and nine rebounds per game averages, career-high marks in both categories. 

In addition to his consistency and production, Aldridge has done what his All-Star competitors haven't been able to do: keep Portland above .500. The Blazers, despite losing two of their three franchise building blocks along with multiple other players to season-ending knee surgeries, are 25-21 and firmly in the Western Conference playoff picture. Coaches love winning and they love winning players. Aldridge has improved as a passer and offense facilitator, and he's also focused more of his attention on banging in the paint, working the boards and finishing at the rim, evidenced by his high dunk numbers. This turn of play has been a long-awaited revelation in the Rose City, and coaches love development and hard work. 

They also love winning. When Aldridge needed tests done on a sore hip recently, Portland fans were forced to confront a Blazers unit without Aldridge, and the mental image wasn't pretty. The poor-shooting, inconsistent group that would be left if Aldridge missed time would be on par with the dregs of the league, like the Cleveland Cavaliers or, you know, the Minnesota Timberwolves with Kevin Love. Numbers without Ws are just numbers, and hopefully the coaches get this one right.

Blake Griffin: Putting the "star" in "exploding star of dunk violence that could destroy the universe"

by Royce Young

Blake Griffin doesn't have the big rebounding numbers like Kevin Love. His team isn't a winner like LaMarcus Aldridge's. 

And yet, I'm about to tell you why Griffin is the no-brainer choice. 

It all comes back to his 47-point explosion against the Pacers. Griffin, who has set the league on fire with his high-flying dunks, his ridiculous putbacks and wild alley-oops, had just one dunk in his best game of the season. One. This is the guy that leads the league in dunks and scores more than 25 percent of his points on crams. Except in his very best game, he only stuffed it once. 

The reason? Because he's maybe the most uniquely skilled power forward in the league. He runs the floor like a small forward, jumps like shooting guard and handles and passes like a point. Blake Griffin, is seriously one of the most physically gifted players in the league. 

And not to say he doesn't have big-time numbers. He's fourth in the league in rebounding (12.8 per game), averages 22.6 points a game and even dishes out 3.5 assists a night. All while capturing our imaginations every night while we wait for the next super highlight. The All-Star Game is looking for supreme talent, big numbers and a superstar entity that won't let us take our eyes off him. If Griffin isn't the guy that fits all of that and more, then we've seriously got to re-evaluate what we want.

Kevin Love: Simply exceptional

by Matt Moore

Kevin Love is the best rebounder in the league. That's pretty much it. If you have a guy who's the best in the NBA at something as valuable and necessary as rebounding to the game of basketball, that person deserves to be in the All-Star game. He leads the league in offensive, defensive, and total rebounds per game and per 40 minutes. He's second behind Marcus Camby in percentage of available rebounds snagged while playing nine fewer minutes. He's the primary concern from an opposing rebounder's perspective, and yet he's been dominant. This in a league that features quite a few great rebounders, most notably Dwight Howard who is a monster among boys most of the time, physically.

But that's just the rebounding. It would be one thing were he Dennis Rodman whose only trick in the bag offensively was rebounding. But Love is averaging 21 points per game, on 47% shooting, and hitting 45% from three. Is there a more well-rounded offensive weapon outside the truly elite forwards in this league? Sure, the team is woeful and Love gets a fair number of rebounds off his own miss and by snagging his teammates' boards. But he's still fighting for each and every one while carrying a huge load of the Wolves' offense, and outside of Beasley, is the only real threat on that team. 

To punish Love for the fact that his teammates are well, chosen by David Kahn is to miss the point of the All-Star game: to represent the best players in the league.  Kevin Love is unquestionably one of those.  He's got the huge games (30 rebounds, are you serious?) to his credit, the consistency, the offensive ability, the name recognition, and the superb elitism at his position. To exempt Love from the All-Star game is to become too far removed from the very word: star. Just because he's anchored by his franchise and he doesn't dominate with a fadeaway jumper does not mean that he's not worthy of the honor. Kevin Love should be an All-Star. 

Posted on: January 28, 2011 7:50 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 8:01 pm

LeBron James, labor leader?

Miami Heat forward LeBron James plans to attend All-Star weekend labor meetings. Posted by Ben Golliver. business-lebron

There was some back-and-forth about whether the All-Star weekend labor meetings would take place between the NBA's owners and the Players Association, but word came down last week that they would be officially on, which is great news for anyone that hopes to watch professional basketball next season.

The latest twist to the All-Star labor meeting, which is seen as a crucial step in the ongoing talk: Miami Heat forward LeBron James plans to attend, according to the Associated Press.
James said Thursday he will probably attend next month's collective bargaining session between the NBA and its players' association in Los Angeles, where he hopes there will be some progress after a year of almost none.
"I think it's definitely something that's going to be a huge focus of All-Star weekend," James said before his Miami Heat played the New York Knicks. "Even though the game is huge, I think the labor agreement will be one of the biggest meetings that we have that weekend, so hopefully we can get some things across."
Only two questions here. 

1. Will James dress up like "Business LeBron" -- one of the four cartoon characters he's crafted for himself -- during the negotiations? (Business LeBron is pictured via NikeBasketball.com.)

2. When the issue of contraction comes up, will he pick up his stuff and move across the table to sit with the owners, or will he play it cool and remain on the players' side?

All jokes aside, the NBPA executive committee has worked hard to clarify James' stance on contraction and bring him back into the fold, and his presence at the negotiating table is important symbolically. Just like the owners have hurt their position publicly by separating into rich teams and poor teams on issues like contraction, the players are much better off presenting a unified stance -- from superstars to scrubs -- if they hope to avoid a work stoppage. Employee solidarity can be a scary thing, even to owners who haven't seemed to take much interest or give much thought to the player's positions yet.

Just as we applauded Kobe Bryant for standing up for his union, we do the same here for James. It's certainly possible that their eventual proposals won't be in the best interests of super-wealthy players like himself. But engaging in the process is always better than ignoring or standing off to the side, especially in a copycat league where a superstar's word goes so far, both in the press and behind locker room doors.
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.
Posted on: January 27, 2011 6:58 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 12:23 am

Numb#rs: Kevin Love's all-star campaign video

Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love has debuted a new All-Star campaign video. Posted by Ben Golliver.

A few weeks back, we noted Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay's All-Star campaign video, a twist on the Dos Equis commercials starring the "Most Interesting Man In The World." At the time, we praised the ad's comedy and self-aware styling. On Thursday, NBA fans were treated to another All-Star campaign video done right. This time, Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love riffs on melodramatic cologne commercials in a spot called "NUMB#RS by Kevin Love." 

The minute-long spot is shot in black and white, with a piano background, and opens with Love walking past adoring fans wearing a suit, sunglasses and a scarf.  Love then enters a club, where he sees a mascot wearing a suit and a dress hat, drinking with beautiful women. The mascot shows Love some love by raising his glass, and Love takes it in stride, with a slight smirk and look of confusion. The shot then cuts to a face-on look at Love, as his voice delivers his pitch in classically man-sultry voice. "Who has the numbers? You tell me."

A narrator's voice then intones: "Numbers. A fragrance by Kevin Love. Part of the 612 All Star Collection." The spot then pushes a link to 612allstar.com , a site that references Minneapolis's area code and further expounds on Love's All-Star credentials.

Have a look at the video.

Love's pitch obviously center around his stats, which are ridiculous. The 10-35 Timberwolves are terrible, so there wasn't much choice in the matter, but the handling of the numbers angle is quite deft. Love is currently averaging 21.6 points and a league-best 15.7 rebounds per game.

Like Gay's spot, Love's video is self-aware and tongue-in-cheek, a must for a self-promotional ad of this nature. Love comes off as funny and personable, even though he's bigging up his own stats on a terrible team, which would usually be looked upon with skepticism and possibly derision.

Posted on: January 27, 2011 3:03 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 3:04 pm

Fans to vote on Skills Competition participants

Fans to vote on Skills Contest participants. Derek Fisher one of the candidates. We're not sure why.
Posted by Matt Moore

Did you know that this year, you, yes, you get to choose the participants of the most random, boring competition in the All-Star Saturday Night festivities?

Taco-Bell is giving fans a vote on which players they want to see in the Skills Competition. Chris Paul is the "spokesman" and therefore automatically in, but the rest will be chosen by vote. The list of candidates includes:  and...
  • Derek Fisher?

Let's take a look at the candidates, and what we think their odds are. 

Derrick Rose (-150):  He's got youth, speed, experience as a former winner, and oh, yeah, he did this. Rose is a massive favorite in our opinion, considering he's arguably the best point guard in the league, and the best point athlete of this bunch. He's got the competitive streak to want to win, and the skills involved are specifically suited to his game. Hence the previous pwnage. Being a huge star this league in a major market, he'll have no problems securing selection.

Chris Paul (-140): Nearly the favorite Rose is. Paul's a more accurate passer, more precise with this movements, nearly as fast, and the best overall point guard in this competition. The only reason he's behind Paul at all is injury questions and Paul being in the competition for the fourth time.  

Tony Parker (+150): Parker's a sexy dark horse pick here.  Solid in all areas of competition, healthier than he's been in years, a former Finals MVP, and he's a Spur. Toppling more flashy competition is what they do. His odds of getting voted in aren't as strong, considering the flash and shine of the other candidates, but he might make it off international recognition and veteran respect. 

Russell Westbrook (+250): Westbrook isn't the pure passer a lot of these players are but his handle and speed could be enough to put on a show. When in the zone he's as precise as any player in the league, and he's got a killer instinct rarely found in this league.  He could also go for the dunk approach Derrick Rose did when he won the event, only Westbrook can leap from the free throw line to cut down on time. Even playing in OKC, likely to be selected based off of star power and name recognition alongside Kevin Durant

Tyreke Evans (+450): The dribbling and passing could give him issues, and that's before the three-point shot. Reke's chances aren't great here as he excels based on athleticism. He's simply not the pure skill competitor that some of the other players are. Playing in Sacramento who's having a terrible year and having been forgotten about in a slump following a historic rookie season, Reke's chances at election aren't great. Small market, disappointing season, and bad team. Not a great combo for election, but he's still more likely to make it than some.

Stephen Curry (+200): Curry's a nice, sleek moneymaker to take here. He's an underdog based on name recognition and not being a top level point guard, but in terms of skill, he's got it to win this thing. A terrific passer with excellent control, fast and light to get through the cones, and range for miles, Curry could wind up shocking everyone with this thing, as long as he can make it in. With five of the eight expected to make it, he's got good odds. This is smart money.

John Wall (+500): Wall has been injury-prone this season, has been turnover prone, is a rookie on the big stage for the first time, and isn't a great shooter. BIG GIGANTIC RED FLAGS. Wall could get in based off of popularity, market, and name recognition. But his odds of stepping up and beating the rest of the competition are low. 

Baron Davis (+600): Injury prone? Check. Older? Yup. Inconsistent? Uh-huh. Not a great point? Surely. Biggest star on his team? Third, if we're being generous. Davis is very unlikely to make the vote, and should he somehow get in through the Clipper faithful, it's not likely he'll walk away with the trophy with so many faster guards he's up against. 

Derek Fisher (+7,858): No. Not at all. Not in any situation. Not a great passer. Aged like a German cheese. Not awesome on the dribble, either. I mean, there's no way this guy gets voted in, right? That would be like voting in Andrew Bynum to the All-Star game when he missed 3/4 of the season so far...oh. Never underestimate the power of the Lakers to get in to these things, but Fisher will not win, unless there's some sort of horrific banana peel accident. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com