He’s the leading scorer (18.4 ppg) on a Memphis Grizzlies team that is at .500 despite being without its heart and soul Zach Randolph for most of the season. His leadership and embracing of the team concept has been huge for coach Lionel Hollins. Yes, Marc Gasol will be in Orlando representing Memphis…but after last year’s transformation and unpredictable run, I think this team deserves two representatives in the game. Coincidentally, the Phoenix Suns don’t even deserve one player (see Steve Nash). Rudy could easily be averaging 25 ppg but he’s stuck to the Grizz gameplan and allowed a guy like Gasol to shine. He should be rewarded for his ‘team play’ not punished.
Smooth came into the season 25 lbs lighter than last year. While his frame on Media Day reminded people of the high-schooler who was drafted back in 2004 his attitude and maturity level did not. He’s been the glue that’s held the Atlanta Hawks together despite losing All-Star Al Horford to a shoulder injury early on. He’s giving coach Larry Drew 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. Joe Johnson got into the game based on his ‘rep’ and scoring ability, but it’s really Josh who holds this team together. While he may not be blocking as many shots as say a Serge Ibaka he’s the heart & soul of the Hawks defense. The past few years Atlanta has had 2 All-Stars (Johnson & Horford) and this year they’re arguably a better team. The coaches are too concerned with voting by position. Forget adding a center, Smith should be on instead. All-Star selections are notoriously always a year overdue and Josh was snubbed last season. Center Roy Hibbert can wait a year.
Ty Lawson & Kyle Lowry
These are two young lightning quick point guards leading overachieving teams to winning records (Denver Nuggets 15-12, Houston Rockets 16-11). There is a chance that their teams may even get homecourt in the first round of the playoffs. So why isn’t at least one of them getting in to the All-Star game? Easy…Steve Nash. The former MVP has gotten the nod based on reputation as well as stats…but when your team is 11-15 the stats lose their luster a bit. Plus, even in his best years, Steve was always a defensive liability. You can catch Ty and Kyle blowing by him regularly on NBA League Pass. Nash should fake an injury and bow out…he’s made for the skills challenge anyways.
For Rajon Rondo, well, that deserves an entirely separate blog…
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