Updated Feb. 9
A lot of you were beefing about my All-Star selections last week, and a lot of you are displeased with the current system. Here, then, is the voice of the people. You'll notice that toward the bottom, the people grow quite disgruntled:
From: Jason Towe
There are many coaches who believe Detroit has the potential to beat any All-Star starting lineup. Believe it or not, we have four All-Stars, excluding Tayshaun Prince. Rip should be joining Ben and Billups, and 'Sheed won't be far behind. We play basketball the way it's supposed to be played ... TEAM!
Jason, the admiration for the way the Pistons play the game is merited, but the idea of an All-Star team is to take the best of the best. You got your four All-Stars, but at the cost of some very deserving individuals. It's amusing that the Pistons have transformed from a team that supposedly failed to get respect because it had no "superstar" to a team that all of a sudden has four All-Stars. But the top team is decided in May and June, not through All-Star voting in February.
Seriously, how could you not have Chris Paul on your reserves list? If not on the list, you should have at least mentioned him in your article. He has pretty much turned an 18-win team to a playoff contender by himself. You could at least explain to everyone why he is not on your reserve list. Why? because he is a rookie? That's just an excuse. Now come on give him a little more respect.
Easy, Tim. There has been nothing but love shown to Paul by me this season. He's a phenomenal talent and the runaway Rookie of the Year, but to claim he's a sure-fire All-Star is getting a little carried away. This being his first year did play a role on why he wasn't mentioned; guys like Tony Parker and Baron Davis have better numbers and have paid their dues. What about Sam Cassell? Hasn't he helped transform the Clippers into a playoff contender, too? Don't his Clips have a better record than the Hornets? Also, to say Paul has done it by himself would be to ignore the development of David West, the steady play of P.J. Brown and the contributions of newcomers like Desmond Mason and Rasual Butler.
All I want to say is, if the 95 percent of Canada that now hates Vince (not including me, his biggest fan, although I am Canadian) didn't hate him, he would have easily gotten the starting spot over Dwyane Wade. This season, I am not afraid to say he does not deserve to, whereas in other seasons where he averaged 20 ppg, and played 58 games a season, he was in the starting lineup. Funny how things work out, huh? I know people will shove Wade's stats in my face, but I think you will agree with me that it is not very hard to average close to at least six assists a game when you have Shaq on your team. I mean, all you have to do is toss him an alley-oop and you may end up with a 3-point play because no one can pull him down. Imagine what Vince and Shaq could do together? I honestly think that if they played together, Vince would average at least 30 points, and seven assists. Why do you think everyone has gotten away from Vince now that he is on the highlight reel every day and is having a great season? I think he is not recognized NEARLY as much as he should anymore.
Tanjot, your point about Canadians costing Carter the All-Star starting nod is an interesting one, which is why I'm printing your note. But considering he came in third in the voting, it's hard to say people aren't recognizing his efforts. The fact is that Wade has reached an elite level of popularity that Carter still enjoys, and Wade happened to get more votes. As far as the O'Neal factor is concerned, of course it helps to have the big fella, but in fairness, Wade helped carry the Heat and put up monster numbers when O'Neal missed a month of the season with an ankle injury.
From: Chris Zunk
Dear Mr. Mejia, why is Yao allowed to participate in this year's All-Star Game? He has just played about half the Rockets' games. I believe you should have to play two-thirds or more to be eligible. There should be someone else from the West that should be in that spot. Thank you for your time.
Chris, Yao's worldwide popularity obviously played a key role in his selection. This game is for the fans, and they resoundingly made the choice. Is that necessarily fair? In a word, no. But Marcus Camby is the one center who was most adversely affected by the choice, and he missed a large chunk of action as well.
From: Frank Zaber
How long until the NBA wakes up and puts in a weighted media/fan voting scale, so that people who have been on the injury list all year or are providing only one dimension to their team (i.e. 50 shots, one assist) every night don't make it onto the All-Star teams? Seriously. Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady? What have they done? And Kobe Bryant? No offense to him, but if, say, Dirk Nowitzki or Rip Hamilton put the ball up every time they touched it, they could easily score 50 points a night -- and their teams wouldn't be within sniffing distance of first place. All major sports need a weighted selection system -- maybe with media members' votes counting for half, and fans votes counting for half. That would keep Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady from being selected by China every year, anyway.
Frank, a weighted system would be a strong idea, although I guarantee you Kobe Bryant would be starting for the West any way you wanted to slice it.
Alonzo Mourning is deserving as well. In fact, if I was making the decision, Alonzo has as much a right to be there than Shaq ... and I am not even an Alonzo fan.
Mourning has been phenomenal defensively, but his offense has really deteriorated over the years. As far as his value to the Heat, there's no question he's had a gigantic impact. He'll get recognition through votes for the Sixth Man Award, but as far as an All-Star spot is concerned, that's simply unrealistic.
Honestly Tony, you and I both know NO ONE really cares about the NBA. A MONTH everyone will remember? Are you kidding me? Who the hell remembers MONTHS? People remember YEARS. I like how you try so hard to pump up a league that has regressed to such pathetic standards. Think about it -- does it REALLY matter what ANY one does in the regular season? The NBA Finals are pretty much set. No one's beating the Spurs or the Pistons, so in all honestly -- who really cares? Miami and Phoenix maybe have a small shot, but in the end you know who is going. The underdogs really have no shot in the first round, so that alone really makes the sport just immensely boring. There's no talent pool, so come on now, just admit it -- the NBA blows.
Min, I think you blow. You're clearly a hater. I mean, in all honesty, you and I really know no one would take time out of their day to write a letter bitching about a sport they really hated unless they were a nasty curmudgeon. In January, Kobe Bryant dropped 81 points on Toronto, the Pistons and Mavericks (forgetting them?) won 13 of 15 games and Seattle and Phoenix combined for 300 points and 32 3-pointers in a double-overtime classic. If you don't want to remember that, then don't. As far as the Finals being set, it's still going to be interesting to see whether the Heat can knock off the Pistons, as they claimed they should have last year. It's going to be fun watching LeBron James perform in his first postseason, and see whether Dallas or Phoenix, bolstered by Amare Stoudemire, can knock off the defending champs. You want to just fast forward to June and miss all that? Be my guest. My guess is you won't, though, because then you would have one less thing to complain about. Just admit it.
From: Ken Sellars
We have fallen a long way when the player to be watched is an egomaniac like Kobe. I think I might be able to get 81 if I take 46 shots. The media needs to find some more positive people to talk about rather than Kobe and old "what's his name" who just went to Sacramento.
Like him or not, Ken, 81 points in a game is remarkable. I'll give you 460 shots and you wouldn't break that mark. As far as him and Ron Artest being in the news, well, they're newsmakers, for good or bad. There's plenty of room for them and nice stories like T.J. Ford's comeback, Mourning's impressive play and the success of the Pistons. If you and Min send me your addresses, I'll send you a smiley face in the mail so you can cheer up.