The NBA All-Star game is like the opposite of a box of chocolates; you pretty much know exactly what you’re going to get. A bevy of alley-oops, deep threes, turnovers and defensive breakdowns will always be a part of the game, no matter what the analysts always say about players getting their act together in the fourth quarter.
Luckily, basketball is the type of game that is still amusing to watch at half speed and is always the clear favorite when it comes to All-Star exhibitions in pro sports. Here were some of my thoughts on this year’s game and the state of the NBA going forward.
- Man, Kyrie Irving just glides around the court. The fact that he wasn’t picked to start over Chris Bosh made me lose some respect for Eric Spoelstra, who had no good rationale for picking a 6-11 forward to fill a vacancy left by a 6-1 guard. Kyrie ended up getting more minutes than Bosh, and he showed that he belongs in the conversation of the top 5 point guards. He reminds me of a slightly less athletic, better outside shooting version of Derrick Rose, and his development through his first two years has been very similar. The battle to rank the top four point guards (Rose, Paul, Rondo, Irving) next season is going to be extremely tough. If you put me on the spot now, my guess would be Chris Paul at number 1, then Derrick Rose, Kyrie, and Rajon Rondo.
- I’m not sure if I missed Kevin Garnett announcing that he only wanted to play six minutes as the starting power forward for the East, but during the game he seemed quite contented to sit and watch the next generation of stars do their thing. Garnett has been to 15 All Star games including this last one and is a first ballot Hall of Famer, and he voluntarily stepped down in what could be his last All Star performance on his own accord. KG has been overlooked a lot since the Boston Big 3 won the Title in 2008, but he’s continued to be one of the most consistent producers in the NBA, and I’ll miss his fiery intensity when he decides to hang up his sneakers for good.
- Carmelo Anthony- always an All-Star, usually a starter, never the main attraction. Melo dropped 26 points to go along with 12 boards but was overshadowed by established stars and trendy newcomers alike. No matter what he does this year, I doubt that Melo will shake the image of being just another “good” player.
- CP3 as ASG MVP gets my full endorsement, not only for his numbers but for the impact that he had on the game itself. Putting five Kevin Durants or five Blake Griffins on the floor might lead some people to believe that they had reached hoops nirvana, but without a glue guy like Paul to distribute the rock the game would get bogged down in repetitive semantics. CP3 really made an effort to make everyone else on the floor look like a cohesive unit instead of just five talented players who happened to don the same uniform for a night. For making the All-Star game a little more like legitimate basketball, I thank you Chris Paul. Enjoy your hardware.
- The LeBron-Kobe face off at the end of the game was, well, a bit anti-climatic. I was a bit surprised that Kobe was so willing to make himself look like Michael Jordan’s lap boy, hoping to prove MJ’s “Kobe over LeBron” comments correct. At the end of the day, however, it’s a game, and playing tight defense is fully admissible during All-Star Weekend, even if it is an extreme rarity. It was very disappointing to see that LeBron once again passed over the opportunity to dominate an All-Star game even when the opportunity was all but shoved down his throat. I fully believe that LeBron could have embarrassed Kobe 1 on 1 at this point in both of their careers, but instead LeBron decided to play it cool and avoid turning the end of the game into the playground showdown that everyone hoped it would be. LeBron may be trying to put himself on par with Michel Jordan, but time and time again LeBron shows that he is tougher to read than Michael ever was.