Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Starry Eyes

I like to spend a lot of time here yapping on and on about those fringe guys that could help you out short term. Like how Malik Rose could give you 17/10 for a few games if Duncan sits out, or how Trevor Ariza should be a good source of steals if Jamal Crawford is to miss some time. This is all very important, because every little bit counts, but let’s face it: Studs win championships. These are the real difference makers. You can play the free agent list perfectly, but if you aren’t getting big numbers from your big players you aren’t going to win. I mean, look at Kevin Garnett. It’s easy to take him for granted, but you just have to look at the player rater to see what a beast he is. He is TWICE AS GOOD (slightly more, actually) as the 10th best player. This doesn’t mean you should necessarily trade Stephon Marbury and Paul Pierce for him, but it does stand to show that you can grab all the little guys at all the right times, but if you’re first and second rounders aren’t getting it done, you’re just going to be fighting for 3rd or 4th place.

So is it a good strategy to load up on superstars and keep the rest of your roster in a more or less constant state of limbo? That’s one way of going about things. Make some two-for-one trades, eliminate all of those middling 70-100 ranked players and have a handful of studs and handful of rotating spots. To make this work you really need to stay injury free, though. One team in my league has gone for this strategy, and it’s sort of working. He’s got Dirk, Amare, Kobe and Webber, who are all top 16 players as far as averages go on the rater. But with Kobe missing a bunch of time and Webber starting to miss some time, it’s catching up with him. Besides Chauncey Billups, who just misses being considered a stud, and Bobby Simmons, whose unprobable run has continued, his roster is full of disposable players. Right now he’s got Brevin Knight, Ruben Patterson, Tony Battie, Melvin Ely, Rodney Rogers, Eddie Griffin and Rick Brusnon. I’m all about rotating guys in and out, but it’s best if you can leave it to two spots on your roster. Anything more than that and you are likely in trouble.

Anyway, in honor of studs and the all-star rosters being announced, I’ll indulge myself and tell you how I would have made the all-star rosters. And this isn’t fantasy all-stars, but real-life, not just based on stats, in other words.

East Starters
Guards – LeBron James and Allen Iverson
I think these are pretty obvious choices. LeBron is already one of the top 10 players in the league, and you have to love how he makes everyone around him better. He’s such a fun player to watch. And AI deserves it because of how he’s adapted his game this year.

Forwards – Jermaine O’Neal and Grant Hill
How can you not give some love to Grant Hill? All that stuff about him being a good guy and one of the league’s role models and how more players should be like him – I buy into it all. And he’s still silky smooth if not as explosive as he was back in his heyday with the Pistons. On the other hand, how can you not love Jermaine O’Neal for totally nailing that guy right in the face? I’ve never been a big fan of Jermaine’s game, but he’s been playing inspired ball since his return.

Center – Shaquille O’Neal
Who’d you think it was going to be, Mark Blount?

Gilbert Arenas
, Vince Carter, Kirk Hinrich, Jason Kidd, Paul Pierce, Dwyane Wade, Ben Wallace
Yes, there are lots of guards here, but they deserve to make it. I don’t think anyone will argue with Gilbert at this point. Out of all the FBB favorites, he’s easily #1. Dwyane, like LeBron will be on these teams for a long, long time, although until AI retires, it will be hard for him to crack the starting lineup. I don’t like how pouty Pierce and Carter can be, and out West neither of them make it. But Carter has shown that he can still be a star when he wants, and Pierce has been a slight disappointment but still has the Celts in first place. We need another big man, so we’ll go with Ben Wallace over Ilgauskas and Bosh. Big Z isn’t the best defensive player and Bosh is close but he still can’t take over a game on offense the way Big Ben can on D. Hinrich and Kidd are the two most “controversial” picks, I suppose. Yeah, Kidd’s been hurt, but I don’t care. He’s still one of the biggest game-changers in the league. And the Bulls deserve a representative, and Hinrich has stepped up his defense and has taken a leadership role in just his second year, so he gets the nod.

West Starters
Guards – Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady
Not the greatest years for either of them, but they are two of the true superstars in the league, and they deserve to start.

Forwards – Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan
And it should be this way for about another five or six years or so.

Center – Amare Stoudemire
He’s been playing center most of the year, so I’m putting him here. My pick for all-star MVP. It’s his first one, and you know he wants to make an impression.

Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Mike Bibby, Brad Miller, Ray Allen, Manu Ginobili, Andrei Kirilenko
The easiest ones for me to pick were Nash and Nowitzki. I may not think Nash is the MVP, but he’s obviously one of the top PGs, and he belongs out there. Dirk keeps getting a little bit better every year. He and Brendan Haywood are basically the same size, give or take about 15 pounds. Think about that next time you watch Dirk do everything he does. I’m putting both Bibby and Brad Miller on there, because the Kings haven’t missed a beat even though Webber’s missed some games, Peja’s having a down year and their bench is thinner than it’s ever been. They are two of the most underappreciated players, although fantasy players sure have been appreciating them the past couple weeks. That leaves three spots. Ray Allen gets one because of the Sonics great play and he’s been their best player. Really, he’s not the main reason for their success, as they’ve just played great team ball with their bench of Vladimir Radmanovic, Antonio Daniels and Danny Fortson being top-notch. Manu has long been a favorite of mine and he gets the nod. The Spurs deserve two spots, and anyone who saw his 48-point game against the Suns knows that there are only a few players in the league who can take over a game the way he can. I’ll go controversial with my final spot: Elton Brand, Pau Gasol, Rashard Lewis, Jason Richardson, Yao Ming and especially Shawn Marion all deserve serious consideration, but I’ll go with Andrei Kirilenko. Like with Jason Kidd, I won’t hold his injury against him. I don’t like to think of this as the “best first half” team. It’s the all-star team, and AK47 is a star.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

the fba coverage by espn is terrible. i don't know who you are but i enjoy reading your articles better. it must be tough coming up with multiple articles in one week.

1:54 AM  

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