Posts Tagged ‘All-Star Debate’

All-Star Debate: Gallinari Vs Gay

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — As NBA veterans like Monta Ellis, Josh Smith and LaMarcus Aldridge can attest, big numbers during a stellar individual season guarantee nothing when All-Star reserve bids are announced.

All three of those players have been left at the All-Star altar in recent seasons, missing out on trips to All-Star Weekend while players with similar “numbers” enjoy the spoils of the designation of being the best of the NBA’s very best.

Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari and Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay are going to get educations in that process in the next week. Both players are having standout seasons, but the numbers are tight for reserves in both the Eastern and Western conferences. A solid case for inclusion doesn’t always result in your name being called.

That said, it’s hard to ignore what they have done.

Gallinari is the leading scorer for a surprising Nuggets team that has maintained its position among the best teams in the Western Conference all season. Career numbers across the board — 17.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.4 steals and .446 percent shooting — for a 14-7 team that is third in the conference standings this morning speaks volumes about what Gallinari is doing.

He’s had signature moments as well, Knicks will have a hard time erasing the memory of his career-high 37 points scored against his former team, from their memory banks. He’ll have the chance to make more, starting tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT).

After flashing All-Star potential in both New York and Denver, might this be the time for the 6-foot-10 Gallinari to cash?

“I think you could see Gallo playing in an All-Star Game someday,” Nuggets coach George Karl told the Denver Post recently.

Gay has had to shoulder a completely different load for the Grizzlies this season with Zach Randolph going down with a torn ligament in his knee and missing the last month of action.

Sure, Marc Gasol is still there and putting All-Star numbers of his own. But Gay has had to assume an increased role on both ends of the floor for (guarding Blake Griffin the other night against the Clippers was a stretch) a Grizzlies team that has endured its share of ups and down over the course of the season. Still, Gay has been stellar, averaging 17.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.6 steals and shooting .449 from the floor for a 11-10 Grizzlies team.

If head-to-head matchups count for anything, Gay did outplay Gallinari Tuesday night in the Grizzlies’ 100-97 win over the Nuggets, a much-needed win that snapped a four-game losing streak. Gay finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals while Gallinari struggled, shooting just 1-for-10 from the floor and finishing with eight points and seven rebounds.

Weighing the numbers on both sides would make this a tough choice for anyone …


All-Star Debate: Parker vs. Lowry

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — With just a week to go before the starters for the 2012 All-Star Game are announced, it’s time to turn our attention to the rest of the team.

There are seven other spots on each team that have to be filled. And that’s where we begin with the first Hang Time All-Star Debate of this season.

With Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul all but locks for the starting nods in the Western Conference and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook an absolute lock for one of the coach’s picks, we’ve got an old school vs. new school dilemma for the other reserve spot.

Tony Parker of the Spurs or Kyle Lowry of the Rockets?

Parker has assumed even more responsibility than usual for the Spurs while Manu Ginobili remains sidelined with a broken hand. But it’s nothing new for the still, cat-quick Parker, who has cranked it up recently, averaging 21.6 points, 10.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds in the last five games for a crew that is almost invincible (10-1) on its home floor but a shell of itself away from the AT&T Center (2-6).

Serving as the Spurs’ catalyst without Ginobili in the lineup and Tim Duncan operating at a diminished capacity, Parker has been forced into a more prominent role in the past few seasons. The Spurs remain a factor in the Western Conference race this season behind the work of Parker (and the usual deep crop of worker bees that always populate the roster).


“LA” States His Case For L.A.

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The polls are closed, but we have to wonder if the Western Conference coaches charged with coming up with the reserves for the All-Star team have done the right thing where LaMarcus Aldridge is concerned.

We’d touched on this topic last week with our All-Star Debate between Aldridge and David West of the Hornets. But it might need to be reiterated again this morning, in light of what happened last night in Portland. LA’s career-high 40 points and 11 rebounds in a blowout win over the league-leading San Antonio Spurs would have probably had a much greater impact two weeks ago.

To his credit, he’s been playing lights out for weeks now. And whether he makes the All-Star team or not, he knows he’s just as deserving as any of the other big men that will make that trip to Los Angeles for All-Star Weekend.

We’re not advocating Aldridge make the team on one shining performance, of course. It certainly can’t hurt to put this one in the bag the day before the announcements are made.

All-Star Debate: Aldridge v. West

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — All this chatter about Blake Griffin and Kevin Love deserving spots on the Western Conference All-Star team has overshadowed two other power forwards playing All-Star caliber basketball on teams with winning records.

Trail Blazers’ big man LaMarcus Aldridge and Hornets’ ace David West have both waged All-Star campaigns without the aid of outsiders, opting for the on-the-court grind that isn’t always appreciated the way it should be. Neither Aldridge nor West is piling up the flashy metrics that Griffin and Love are this season. But shouldn’t there be some weight given for being a major factor on a playoff team?

A fifth-year pro, Aldridge has been forced to carry the Blazers with All-Star guard Brandon Roy sidelined after surgery on both knees. He’s averaging career highs in points (21.1) and rebounds (8.8) while keeping the Blazers afloat (25-21 and 8th in the Western Conference standings) during yet another tumultuous, injury-plagued season. Even Aldridge is playing with a bruised hip. And as more than a few Portland fans have mentioned, Aldridge has more than held his own against both Griffin and Love in head-to-head matchups this season. In fact, he’s been dominant at times against both.

The Blazers are 6-0 against the Clippers and Timberwolves this season and Aldridge has record double doubles in all but two of those games. He had 28 points and eight rebounds to Griffin’s 20 and 18 in a 108-93 defeat of the Clippers last Saturday and fouled out with just four points and five rebounds in a 100-91 win over the Clippers on Dec. 5.