MEHRTENS COLUMN: Close, but no NBA All-Star game for Curry
by Staff Writer
Sorry, Stephen Curry fans. He wasn’t exactly “snubbed.”
If you’re going to accept the NBA’s method of picking its all-star game rosters, some very deserving players are going to get bypassed. This season, Curry was among that pained group.
It’s easy to scream foul when we’re looking through Davidson-tinted, hometown-guy glasses. I’ve enjoyed watching Curry play since I first saw him launching silky jumpers at Charlotte Christian. And who couldn’t root for his cult-hero status when he was leading Davidson College through the NCAA tournament bracket four years ago?
Curry, in his fourth NBA season, has been splendid. He’s eighth in the league in scoring (21 points per game) and averages 6.4 assists and 3.9 rebounds. He leads the Golden State Warriors in points, assists and steals, and has helped them to a surprising 28-17 record.
But I ask you, which guard on the Western Conference team would you remove from the team in favor of Curry?
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) and Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers) were voted as starters by the fans.
The seven reserves were picked by a vote of Western Conference coaches, who couldn’t vote for players on their team. The reserves had to include two guards, two forwards, a center and two players at any position.
Three reserve guards were picked - Houston’s James Harden, San Antonio’s Tony Parker and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook.
Harden is having the best season of his career. He’s fifth in the NBA in scoring (26 points per game) and eighth in steals.
Westbrook is seventh in the league in scoring (22.5) and fifth in assists. Oklahoma City has the NBA’s second-best record (34-11) and advanced to the finals last season.
Parker is 11th in the NBA in scoring (20.1) and seventh in assists. His team has the best record (36-11).
Curry’s statistics are worthy of everyone in that trio. He’s better in some categories, and not far behind in others.
Here’s the rub. The Western Conference all-star roster’s weakest link isn’t at guard. It’s nearer the basket, where fans voted Dwight Howard (center) and Blake Griffin (forward) into the starting lineup. Neither is having their best season, but they play on glitzy Los Angeles teams. Fans (i.e. voters) recognize the names, even if they don’t analyze the stats or the standings.
It was admirable that Golden State coach Mark Jackson complained about Curry being bypassed. I’d want, and appreciate that, from my coach. Jackson’s beef is with the other Western Conference coaches, of whom not enough voted for Curry.
I’ve heard talk of expanding the all-star rosters from the current 12 to 15 or perhaps 18. Sounds good, but then the 16th- or 19th-best player would feel snubbed.
It happens every year in every professional sport. There always will be deserving players who miss by a whisker. I’ve seen TV sportscasts that announce an all-star roster and before you can digest the names, they’re rambling about who got passed over.
Curry is among the NBA’s best, without a doubt.
It’s hardly a long shot to predict he’ll make an all-star team eventually. Just not this season, much to his fans’ dismay.