CHICAGO — There seems to always be a sort of controversy about the NBA All-Star game, regardless of the year or who’s on the team. It’s the Pearl Jam effect: you can please these people over here, but that’s going to make the people over there very angry. Starting four of five players from Los Angeles teams is one way to anger more then just the people over there. You can never make everyone happy. But sometimes there are just miffed fans upset about not being represented. The Utah Jazz can be entered here.
However, within the popularity contest that is the NBA All-Star game, players who are deserving do get snubbed. Most of the time the NBA realizes they’ve just Netflixed their fan base and turned them against them, and they fix the situation. See Kevin Love being a late addition as a reserve last season.
But the question this year, at least in Chicago, is does Luol Deng deserve an All-Star spot?
Before his injury the resounding answer was yes, and he may very well have been on his way to a revere slot. But then Deng missed two weeks with a torn ligament in his wrist and the hype around Deng really fell off around the NBA. But his impact on the Bulls isn’t unlike that of Derrick Rose’s last year.
You know, the same impact that got Rose the MVP?
Deng is the glue of the Bulls, just like Rose was the pulse last year. Because Rose was the pulse and electrified the Bulls, he won the MVP despite lacking in stats. Deng deserves the same treatment about this year’s All-Star game. Without Deng, the Bulls have been struggling. They lost two games in a three game stretch against teams they may have beaten if Deng had been in.
Its hard to argue that if Deng was in the game down the stretch against the Pacers and the Heat that the Bulls don’t win those games. Now how does that not make Deng the glue of this team? How does that not make Deng an invaluable piece of this team; Rose’s sidekick of you will.
But does that mean he deserves to be an All-Star?
Well if Rose was lacking in stats last year and won the MVP because he was the electric pulse of the team, then Deng deserves at least a reserve spot.
After all, the NBA All-Star game is meaningless. It’s a popularity contest and there is no way around that. Giving Deng a reserve spot would be of no trouble at all for the NBA. Who else are they going to fill the bench with?
Rondo will get a spot. Bosh will get a spot. Stoudemire will get a spot. Deng should get a spot.
But if he doesn’t it’s not going to be the biggest travesty to hit the NBA. Deng isn’t an All-Star in statistics, and if he was that would make him a popular NBA player, a prerequisite for being selected to the All-Star Game.
It’s basically a back handed, half hearted good job but to Deng and to the city of Chicago it’ll mean a whole lot more. It’ll be a recognition that besides Derrick Rose there is more to this team, the rabbit hole goes much deeper then the MVP.
But if Deng gets snubbed, it’ll be just another chip on his shoulder that will feel really good to get rid of when he hoists a title over his head.