Heading into All-Star weekend there has been a lineup change due to injury. Several days ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced that their All-Star forward Kevin Love is going to be sidelined for the following 6 weeks due to arthroscopic knee surgery. The next day, the NBA announced his replacement in the All-Star Game…Carmelo Anthony.
Out of the few candidates favored to replace Love in the All-Star Game, Carmelo Anthony was selected to receive the honor. Now, I won’t say Carmelo was not deserving of this selection because I do think he is of this privilege. Although, I believe there are other players who are more qualified this year to retain the achievement of being selected into the All-Star Game. Carmelo has been having a decent season for what he is used to achieving stat-wise on a personal level. Team-wise the New York Knicks are enduring another grim season with a 23-34 record just 4 games behind the East’s 8th seed. They still retain a chance at playoffs although the team has consistently shown why that goal will not be achieved. The team lacks chemistry immensely as it seems like every time I put a Knicks game on, everybody is playing for themselves and their upcoming contract negotiations rather than for each other. Their lack of chemistry leads to most of their failures on the court but there is also a constant cloud that is filled with drama draped above their franchise. In the midst of all this drama is Carmelo whether it is about his play, trade discussions, or his lack in leading his team. If the Knicks expect to be great again with Carmelo, the process has to begin with Carmelo. He needs to show more effort on the defensive end because he has never been the type of player to play both ends for 48 minutes a game, every game. The fact that Carmelo has been the same type of player without making any real adjustments or improvements in his game throughout this season to help his team more is why I don’t feel like Anthony is as deserving as others to be in the All-Star Game this season.
The most deserving in my opinion of those snubbed from this year’s All-Star Game is Bradley Beal. He has been a huge piece in the Wizard’s success this season. He’s finally been able to remain healthy and is currently averaging career highs in points per game (22.3ppg), field goal percentage (47.2%), and free throw percentage (81%). He is also shooting an impressive 40% from 3pt. Meanwhile, the Wizards are 3rd in the East with a record of 34-21. Since the start of 2017 they have the best team in the East going 18-5 since. Beal has been a major key to their success as of late and was the most deserving candidate left out in my opinion although I understand why he was snubbed. The East is loaded with guard play and Melo is able to play the power forward position with his size and strength. Kevin Love and Paul Millsap were the only big men selected originally and with Kevin out they chose to stick with that position. Although with as many guards as they selected for the East, one more wouldn’t have hurt them. They could have played small ball which has become more of a trend throughout the league.
Even with the logic of sticking with a big man, I still feel like there was a more deserving player in Hassan Whiteside, the center for the Miami Heat. Throughout the season prior to January 1st, the Heat started their season 10-24. Since they have been 15-8 including a 13-game winning streak. Whiteside is currently having the best season of his career averaging 16.8ppg and 14.1rpg (both career highs). He is currently 1st in the league in rebounds per game and 4th in blocks per game (2.1bpg). The 7-ft center is surging into one of the best big men in the league being able to dominate on the defensive end with his length and athleticism while improving his game on the offensive end between each season. If the NBA was going to choose another big man to replace Love, it should have been Hassan Whiteside.
The NBA clearly chose Melo over the likes of Beal and Whiteside because of his favoritism within the fan-base. But nevertheless, Im hoping for an exciting All-Star break beginning tonight with the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game with events ending Sunday night after the All-Star Game. Have a great weekend everybody!