Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
The All-Stars are coming. Who’s the most underrated, no chance at going to Orlando but should have a shot, player in the league today?
Steve Aschburner: Paul Millsap. Millsap has been Utah’s cornerstone, providing clutch scoring and stalwart defense in a series of highly efficient performances. His prowess in matchups with some of the rivals for a West All-Star spot – Kevin Love, Blake Griffin – could get lost in the crowded forward field. Love, Griffin, Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki will wind up with more votes and surely have higher profiles, and LaMarcus Aldridge has been an overdue All-Star for a couple of years. Millsap won’t see daylight through that group.
Fran Blinebury: At 37 years old in his 16th NBA season, Marcus Camby has never gotten the All-Star recognition he deserves because he simply doesn’t score enough points. For all that LaMarcus Aldridge has done for the Trail Blazers this season, Camby is the old man at his back getting rebounds and blocking shots.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Monta Ellis. I wouldn’t call him underrated, but he has little chance as long as the Warriors keep stringing losses together and the West backcourt remains crowded.
Shaun Powell: Paul Millsap is thriving in Utah despite the logjam at his position on the Jazz and also around the league. The guy consistently gets close to a double-double nightly, is grabbing rebounds at a career-high rate, shoots a decent percentage from the floor and the line and Utah is doing well. Not bad for someone who’s somewhat undersized (6-foot-8), rarely dunks and therefore doesn’t get the Blake Griffin treatment on the highlight shows. You wouldn’t want to see him in an All-Star Game, but you’d want him on your team.
John Schuhmann: I don’t know if there’s anybody that deserves it, but has “no shot.” There will obviously be a very good Western Conference player or three that become victims to the numbers game. The most likely candidates there are James Harden, Kyle Lowry and Paul Millsap, who are all deserving. In the East, it’s possible that Andre Iguodala gets snubbed in favor of starter Carmelo Anthony and mainstays Chris Bosh, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce at the forward position.
Sekou Smith: Monta Ellis has the strongest case year after year in a crowded guard race in the Western Conference, yet always finds himself watching All-Star Weekend from afar. The Warriors haven’t been good enough at the break in recent years to push him over the top in a field that this season includes the likes of Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook at the top. It’s a travesty that Ellis won’t be in Orlando and could possibly miss out playing in the All-Star Game during the prime of his career.