Apparently, Yao Ming hasn't played very much this year. But fans (or mostly, Chinese fans) voted him to start at Center.
And so did I, repeatedly. The primary reason? None of the Western choices for the center position were worthy All-Star candidates. They would be taking a spot away from a far better power forward, where the West is perennially loaded. So I don't care that Al Jefferson (the best "Center" in the West, and also not listed as a center on the ballot) didn't get in or that Andrew Bynum missed out which, like Yao, would have been a ridiculous pick had he been healthy because of time missed to injuries. This is because Tim Duncan and Pau Gasol can take care of the Center spot and should have been so listed on the ballot as they are both excellent low post players.
The best actual "center" listed on the ballot was probably Okafor. And he would be about 13th on the power forward list out West. That list goes something like this
1) Blake Griffin (will get in, and it's in LA, but might not have without this silliness)
2) Kevin Love (the two guys who would be jockeying for that last spot if there wasn't one created by injuries, also happen to be the best two power forwards in the league, both on crappy teams)
3) Pau Gasol (will get in, it's in LA and he's awesome)
4) Lamarcus Aldridge (may get in, Portland is at least decent)
5) Zack Randolph (team sucks, might get in, but doubtful)
6) David West (probably not getting in, Paul's already there)
7) Tim Duncan (will get in, San Antonio is killing everyone)
8) Dirk Nowitzki (will get in as Dallas' rep)
9) Lamar Odom (may get in, again LA, and this is about the dividing line of even potential all-star seasons)
10) Al Jefferson
11) Paul Millsap
12) Luis Scola
13) Emeka Okafor
Plus there's the small forwards Durant and Melo who were voted on as the "forwards", and the guard spots. 1) Kobe, 2) Westbrook, 3) Williams, 4) Paul, 5) Manu, 6) Parker, 7) Ellis, 8) Nash, 9) Gordon, probably the first 5, or one of Manu and Parker makes it, with two already voted in, and Ellis, Nash, and Gordon are all on crappy teams anyway.
Anyway it's a deep position and a deep team. But Western Conference Center was not. So who cares that Chinese nationalism voted on a dud who cannot play at all this year because of injury. Three cheers for it says the statistics.
East is pretty straightforward and the starting five looks right. Garnett's probably better than Amare in reality, but New York is decent this year and Boston has no defined "star", so Amare gets in. The main question mark to me is whether or not Rondo makes it despite the injuries. Should be a bench of Horford at center, Rondo at point, Bosh, Garnett and Pierce at the forwards, and then some combination of Granger, Felton, and Josh Smith, and maybe Ray Allen as well. Shooting guard is pretty weak in both conferences, and Boston is loaded, much like San Antonio could get three out West.
And yes, that would mean all three Miami players too. They do not have a Rondo type player to be the fourth option like the Celtics had a couple years ago however, so LeBron hatred may get at least a year of celebration (plus the possible lockout, and then it's probably due).
Sunday assorted links
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