Bryant’s Legacy Trumps MVP Candidate in All-Star Voting

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Keith Allison

NBA All-Star Weekend is one of the most highly anticipated events of the season, largely due to the fact that it spans over three days with festivities that awe fans and provide a stage unlike any other throughout the NBA season. Prior to the weekend itself, hype is built up by fan voting for the All-Star game starters in both the Eastern and Western conferences.

Stars around the league have been showcasing their skills and talents to represent their respective teams and conferences. Quite frankly, this is an event where the personal stats of players matter more than anything else because fans vote to see their favorite stars and most exciting players on the court.

Over the years, there have been plenty of all-star surprises and snubs, but this year’s has to be one of the biggest head scratchers.

First, let’s talk about the starting lineup for the Western Conference All-Stars. In the frontcourt you have Anthony Davis, power forward for the New Orleans Pelicans, Marc Gasol, center for the Memphis Grizzlies and Blake Griffin, power forward for the Los Angeles Clippers.

With just two years of experience under his belt, Davis has been an absolute beast in every aspect of the game. This season, the 21-year-old Chicago product is averaging 24.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks. He is a future all-time great in the making and is well ahead of his time.

Gasol’s Grizzlies have the third best record in the West and their big man is leading the charge averaging 19.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Over on the West Coast, averaging 23.0 points and 7.6 rebounds, Blake Griffin is the modern day human highlight reel and a part of some high expectations with the talented Clippers.

In the backcourt the West has Stephen Curry, point guard for the Golden State Warriors and Kobe Bryant, shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. Curry has been lights out all season long averaging 23.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 8 assists per game and is a well-deserved start.

Bryant’s selection, on the other hand is, quite baffling. He is averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game, however it is because of his legacy that he is starting. The second backcourt starter should really be James Harden, shooting guard for the Houston Rockets. The gunslinging lefty is averaging 27.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game and, with Curry, is atop the list of potential MVP’s come season’s end.

In the East, the frontcourt is LeBron James, forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Carmelo Anthony, forward for the New York Knicks and Pau Gasol, forward for the Chicago Bulls.

James is averaging 26.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 7.4 assists and was the leading vote getter in the East. Another All-Star start surprise is Anthony due to injuries and the train wreck that the Knicks have become.

Gasol has rejuvenated his career in Chicago and is averaging 18.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game and was only second to James in fan voting. During the first six weeks of the season, Gasol was arguably the best player in basketball and has sustained his success.

In the backcourt, the East will be starting John Wall, guard for the Washington Wizards and Kyle Lowry, guard for the Toronto Raptors. Wall averages 17.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 10 assists per game and was first among guards in fan voting.

Lowry averages 19.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game and, like Wall with his Wizards, has Toronto playing contender style basketball.

Averaging 20.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler was definitely a potential starter. However, he has yet to become a household name in the league, which will soon change. Despite his recent statistical drop off, the coaches will likely select him as an All-Star reserve.

Fan voting is great for the experience but should soon be reduced to limited votes even though it’s an event for the fans that attend.