The NBA will announce its All-Star Game starting lineups Thursday night. Here's hoping the last vote tabulations don't include the Denver precincts.
It's clear if given a choice, Nuggets fans would like to see Carmelo Anthony's name left off the invitation list. They've, uh, made that loud and clear at recent games.
Gotta say: I agree.
Anthony, a three-time All-Star who was second among Western Conference forwards in the mid-month count, doesn't belong this time around. He has done more harm than good to his team this season, and for that he deserves to be punished more than rewarded.
The pending free agent began the week as the league's ninth-leading scorer. That shouldn't guarantee him anything.
In recent years, the Nuggets have ranked among the elite Western teams at the break, the quality of club that deserved at least one All-Star. But thanks almost exclusively to Anthony's ongoing soap opera, they've slid to the middle of the pack this season, relegating their best player to having to make the All-Star team on his own two feet.
No longer standing tall in Denver, Anthony has been a colossal flop this season.
You need look back only one year to find someone in a similar situation who did things right. Amid 24/7 distractions, LeBron James focused all his energy on getting the Cavaliers a championship in what he had to figure would be his last season there.
Sure, James sabotaged a lot of his good intentions with his poor "Decision," but that shouldn't take away from his commendable actions during the regular season.
The only positive thing I'll say about the "Decision" is that -- despite a plethora of reports -- nobody knew it before James went global with the announcement. Heck, he'd been so dedicated to his friends and teammates in Cleveland, many thought he was coming back.
There's no such warm and fuzzy feeling in Denver. Just two numbers: 15 (the number of games before the trade deadline, by which time many believe he'll be gone) and 39 (the number of games remaining in the regular season, after which everyone knows he'll be headed elsewhere).
Bottom line: In a year when there's an even greater depth of All-Star candidates than usual, there's really no reason to consider Anthony.
In the West, there are sure things (Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin) and at least a dozen more worthy of consideration. Nine locks leave three open spots. I'm taking Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Kevin Love.
Not Anthony. Not even close.
This week's CBSSports.com NBA Power Rankings include a look at each team's All-Star candidate(s). The higher you are in the rankings, the more likely you'll get multiple invitations.