Blogtable: Big Stars With No Stage

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.

Week 22: Heat running the table? | Dream first-round matchup | Best player you won’t see in playoffs

Who’s the best player you won’t see in the playoffs but wish you would? (And, please, let’s leave the injured stars off this list.)

Steve Aschburner: The “no injured stars” qualifier to this question, in my mind, applies to Derrick Rose, Amar’e Stoudemire or Andrew Bynum but not to Kyrie Irving, whose various absences have not been as debilitating. Nor have they been the reason why Cleveland floats near the bottom of the East river; the Cavs’ 17-32 pace (.347) with him wasn’t getting them to the postseason any more than their 22-47 mark (.319) overall. As it was, this was a breakthrough season for Irving, from his All-Star weekend highlights to all the pre-21-year-old history he has achieved. With Anderson Varejao healthy and a stiffer defense, Cleveland might have gotten in and put the point guard’s transcendent talents on display for a coming-out party much like Rose’s in 2009 against Boston, when he was about Irving’s age.

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving

Fran BlineburyKobe Bryant. (I’ve always wanted to know how many expletives a Laker fan could type in 60 seconds.)

Jeff Caplan: I know my Eastern brethren will likely choose Jrue Holiday and that’s a wonderful choice. Another is John Wall, who is playing spectacularly. But, allow me to suggest Ricky Rubio. There are few magicians in this league and Rubio is one of them. He’s quietly put together a very nice second half to the season since regaining confidence in his surgically repaired left knee, and doing so with a decimated roster due to massive injury woe. Minnesota fans should again be excited for next season when we can only assume the Wolves will have a fully healthy roster and still have Rick Adelman as their coach. Rubio has improved each month and in March he is averaging 13.2 ppg and 7.8 apg. The playoffs were made for such a performer. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for next season.

Scott Howard-Cooper: Based on the last few weeks, I am tempted to say John Wall. But let’s say LaMarcus Aldridge. A playoff series, or more, would be a deserved spotlight. If it’s any consolation, he will have a lot of them with the Blazers in the years ahead.

John Schuhmann: Well, either Kobe Bryant or Dirk Nowitzki is going to miss the playoffs, and I hear they’re both pretty good. But the one guy I can’t wait to see in the postseason is Kyrie Irving, so I’m kind of rooting for the Cavs to put some pieces around him this summer (and for him to stay healthy). Irving is a 21-year-old star who plays with an electricity and embraces the big moment. He’s made to star on the big stage, and hopefully that time comes soon.

Sekou Smith: There is still an outside chance we could see him in the playoffs, depending on what happens with that eighth and final spot in the Western Conference standings, but watching the bearded Dirk Nowitzki go to work against the Clippers Tuesday night on TNT is a reminder of just how wicked the big fella can be when he’s got it going. His season got off to a rugged start with the injury and the Mavericks struggling to find their way. But I keep having flashbacks to the 2011 playoffs, when Dirk made his case as one of the game’s truly great players. You know he’d go down in a blaze of glory in a first-round series against the San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder. Crazy as it sounds, John Wall of the Wizards would be No. 2 on my list. With the way he’s playing these days, you have to wonder what might have been for the Wizards in the East had he been healthy all season …


  1. Harvey Buchbinder says:

    John Wall whose recent play eclipses what Kenny Anderson could have been like had he not come out as a freshman ( still the worst advice ever given by an agent, imnsho)

  2. emilbj says:

    Clearly the problem with the cavs in the first part of the season was they’re bench with no impact on the game, if they have had the team they have built right now from the start of the season, plus Irving, Varejao and Waiters, Cleveland would easily have a spot in the playoffs!

  3. dandan says:

    what about rondo?

  4. Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose & John Wall – Rubio, Love & pretty much anyone aside from the Mavericks who i hate to watch.

  5. George says:

    Kyrie Irving without a doubt. We’ve already seen Rose and we know what he brings to the table come playoff time. I’d love to see him this year in the playoffs, but if he has to sit out to conserve his health, I won’t have a problem with that.

    I really want to see Irving make the playoffs with the Cavs. The front office has done a fantastic job putting decent players around him. Regardless of where they pick, they select the player they want, the one that fits their sistem. Chris Grant proves doubters wrong time after time. I can’t wait to see what he does this upcoming offseason. Otto Porter is a guy I really like, though he seems to have alot of holes in his game. Shabazz would be fantastic, although he’s a bit undersized.

    We’ll have to wait and see, but I see the Cavaliers in the playoffs next season. By the way, I hope Chris Grant signs Greg Oden. I have a feeling that he’ll be able to recover from that injury and prove the doubters wrong.

    Sorry if I got a little off topic, I’m a Cav fan.

  6. chubbena says:

    kwame brown – i’d like to see how he dodges the ball in the paint

  7. NYK13 says:

    I’d love to see what Damian Lillard would do in a playoff series. Huge opportunity for the rookie and he always seems to step up his game in the spotlight.

    • El Undelador says:

      Lillard and Aldridge for years to come!

      • bigwes95 says:

        true, as a blazer fan, watching him is like watching shades of roy. not their play style, but how they can control a game while just stepping on the court and making the other team scared. look what roy did to the mavs in 2011 in the play-offs after double knee surgery ten days before playing and dragging them to a win whenever he scored 10 or more points. they just both have the instinct of when to take over and , more importantly, how to take over. that’s why they were/are so great at such a young age. and aldridge has stepped up big since roy went out and has been an all-star ever since, he could average 25ppg 11rpg and 4apg if he wanted to, really. defintely underrated player in aldridge.


    The video basically said that there is no way to guard Kobe lmaaooo


    Wizards are going to be a fun team to watch next season (if everyone is healthy)

  10. silencio says:

    derrick rose… because I really, really, really, … dislike kobe bryant, so it would be the best year of the nba if the lakers don’t make the playoffs.

  11. ism says:

    nice to see dirk mentioned up there. of course, he and kobe are the biggest no-brainers for this list. and it’s likely only one of them will miss the playoffs.
    kyrie, wall. great players. lamarcus, too.
    I’m rooting for Bryant on this list and hope Nowitzki will kick the Lakers out of playoff competition. I’d love to see him play in the playoffs. 2011 was impossible, let’s see what they can bring today! At least make it tough for the #1 spot.

  12. rem111 says:

    Definitly Kobe

  13. NHbleedsGREEN says:

    Why would you mention amare and Bynum in the same breath as d-rose and kyrie?
    Those 2 guys are weak at best esp.bynum. His last memory of the playoffs is getting swept
    by dallas and laying that cheap shot on Barea from the mavs!