I was up last night watching NBA Tip-off on TNT when they released the All-Star starters for both conferences. I have no issues with the Western Conference. I would like to take time to congratulate Kevin Love for his selection. Well deserved. My issues with the Eastern Conference selections. I would like to start with an opinion that the NBA needs to put back the “Center” spot back on the ballot. I know that the center play for the most part had been down in the last few years. Furthermore, I realize the game has been changed to a more perimeter faster paced style of play, but that’s no excuse. That is part of the issue. Bottom line, Carmelo Anthony has no business being a frontcourt starter for the Eastern Conference. He does not deserve it. It does not matter what numbers he has put up this season. This was a name recognition pick. Couple that with the marketing machine called New York City being behind him, this was a no brainer why he got so many votes. Somebody deserves that spot that plays in Chicago. His name is Joakim Noah.
I looked at the TNT’s panel list for the Eastern Conference reserves. Only one, being Shaquille O’Neal picked him as a reserve. That, Pippen Peoples is ridiculous! Ernie Johnson asked Grant Hill, who didn’t have the full number of players on his list, did Joakim Noah deserve to be on his list. Hill flat-out said no. He did however add Joakim later on that night. Kenny Smith had Jeff Teague on his list. Jeff Teague? Ain’t that Marquis’ brother, Jeff Teague? Yeah that dude. Jeff Teague is NOT better than Joakim Noah. Jeff Teague is not as important to his team as Joakim Noah. Stop it! Even Charles Barkley, who says that Joakim Noah is his favorite player didn’t pick him. Barkley said that he wanted to reward players that are winning. Well let’s take a look at that. He picked Paul Millsap over Noah. Atlanta is one game ahead of Chicago in the loss column. Granted, the loss of Al Horford is a decided factor for the recognition, but look at Noah’s dilemma. Noah had to deal with Derrick Rose going down for the year…again. He watched Luol Deng get traded for Bulls salary cap relief. The Bulls basically run their entire half-court offense through him. Plus his team is in the 5th slot in the Leastern Conference standings. What else do you want from a guy?
I scoured the internet to see the opinions of other writers. They all basically said the same player, Roy Hibbert should be the starting center. Look, I have no problems with Roy Hibbert, but he’s not the starter. Joakim Noah has had a better season than Roy Hibbert. Let’s look at the numbers shall we? Roy Hibbert in 30 minutes averages 12.2 points, 7.9 rebounds (three offensive) and 2.6 blocks a game. These are okay numbers, but take a closer look. Hibbert has David West as his partner who is a beast defensively. He has Paul George who is among the league leaders in steals. Hibbert also is prone to get in foul trouble. Noah, on the other hand in 40 minutes averages 11.7 points, 11.4 rebounds (four offensive), four assists and 1.3 blocks per game. I think two things are going on here. One, I think everyone is getting caught up in Indiana’s rise amongst the NBA elite. Number two, Joakim’s game is NOT pretty. he has that hard hat game. The form on his jump shot is unorthodox, to be kind. People sometimes get caught up in the “SportsCenter” Top 10 highlights when it comes to watching basketball. They want to see the 25 footers and the slam dunks. Joakim goes out and plays winning basketball. He does the little things that does not get noticed every night he shows up to play.
Joakim, the coaches will probably vote you in. It’s a shame that the people who voted Carmelo Anthony in didn’t.