The NBA just released All-Star Game voting results up to this point (ballots will be accepted until January 10), and most of the vote leaders make sense. Kobe, Carmelo, LeBron, Vince – a bunch of guys who are popular for scoring and always start this game. Then there’s this atrocity: Tracy McGrady is on pace to start in the Western backcourt.
Friendly reminder that McGrady hasn’t played in 9 months, and even then was on a clear downward trajectory toward late-career ineffectiveness (16 ppg, 4 rpg, 39% FG% in 2008-09). He keeps saying he’s ready to come back to the court, but the Rockets want nothing to do with him taking minutes away from Trevor Ariza, Aaron Brooks, Shane Battier, Kyle Landry, even Chase Budinger for that matter.
So while T-Mac’s ego and Houston doing-fine-without-him are at a stalemate, China may be able to get him back into an NBA-sanctioned event. That’s because David Stern has been kissing China’s ass ever since Yao Ming was the #1 pick in 2002 so that the league can make a bunch of moolah off their 1.3 billion citizens.
As part of that smooch, China gets to vote for starters in the All-Star Game. From a logical standpoint, this makes no sense, and I think most fans who understand that the Eastern and Western Conferences are named after coasts in America where the game is played (plus Toronto, which is just across the border) agree. So apparently the Chinese vote as a block, and that block’s name is Yao Ming’s Houston Rockets.
Tracy McGrady & Yao Photo Credit: Icon SMI
T-Mac, who is sort of a Rocket, leads all Western guards not named Bryant in votes. Brooks is 7th, ahead of Brandon Roy, Deron Williams, and Chauncey Billups. Rocket big men Ariza and Luis Scola are both in the top-8 of Western Conference vote totals for forwards (thankfully behind Carmelo, Dirk, Pau, and Durant). Obviously this is ridiculous, but it’s right in line with last year’s crapfest.
Last year, Shaquille O’Neal won co-MVP honors in the game after playing just under 11 minutes. 11 minutes! Sure he had 17 points and 5 rebounds in that time, but the game honor would have made more sense going to Chris Paul (14 pts, 14 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals) or Amar’e Stoudemire (19 and 6).
Also, why the hell did the NBA cave to LeBron and add Cleveland’s Mo Williams to the Eastern roster last year? Let’s see:
A) A point guard averaging 18 ppg and 4 apg has no business being in that game.
B) The East was in desperate need of bigs who don’t hang out on the perimeter (no offense to Danny Granger and Rashard Lewis).
C) Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller made much more sense if you had to add a guard.
And oh yeah, Allen Iverson started. Hopefully it never gets this bad.
Zachariah Blott cannot recommend Rick Telander’s “Heaven Is A Playground” enough.