Corporate Knowledge: January 18, 2013

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The All-Star starters were announced this week and as expected not a single Spurs player was among those named, though Tim Duncan and Tony Parker undoubtedly will be reserves.

Fan voting has always confused me. Not the fact that fans are given a vote for a fans’ game, but their process. If their thought process was about gathering the best ten players, they’ve failed a number of times throughout the years.

If the game is about entertainment, and votes cast on that premise, that’s something I can completely get behind.

Vince Carter was deservedly the leading vote getter until he lost the half-amazing parts of his repertoire, just as Blake Griffin deserves to be entrenched at his forward spot so long as he’s terrorizing big men on SportsCenter.

In my early blogging days I advocated and voted for Jason Williams if only because his presence would have made the game infinitely more exciting. For the same reason, but different purposes, I also wrote-in Shawn Bradley on my ballot with the caveat that he was to play two minutes each half, one half on each team.

Fans voting for the All-Star game rarely give thought to who is having the best season or even roster composition. Just get the biggest names you can find. Kobe Bryant will be the starting shooting guard until he retires unless Michael Jordan comes back.

I had Duncan listed as my starting big man this year, both for purposes of being the best man for the job and most entertaining. The arguments for Duncan’s All-Star credentials will be listed in the links below. But I wanted to touch on the entertainment aspect.

The Western Conference already has its designated dunker in Griffith. Duncan may not be able to produce the same highlight plays, but his presence would give the game a much better flow than a not 100 percent Dwight Howard via his spacing and passing. Not that Duncan minds or it matters. On to the links.

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Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated’s blog The Point Forward writes though Dwight Howard is a qualified All-Star candidate, he’s the wrong choice to start:

Howard isn’t the wrong pick because he hasn’t met extremely high expectations during his first season in Los Angeles; he’s the wrong pick because his name isn’t Tim Duncan.

At 36, Duncan ranks No. 6 in PER among players logging at least 30 minutes per game, trailing only James, Durant, Paul, Anthony and Bryant. His team, despite dealing with injuries to Stephen Jackson, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard, sits atop the Southwest Division at 30-11, third best in the West. He’s averaging 17.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 2.7 assists while shooting 50.1 percent. Those numbers compare very well with Howard’s, and are better nearly across the board on a per-minute basis. Meanwhile, the Spurs rank No. 5 in offensive efficiency and No. 3 in defensive efficiency, beating Howard’s Lakers, who rank No. 6 and No. 17, respectively.

While Howard’s persona is a perfect fit in the overindulgent All-Star Weekend, Duncan remains the standard by which big men should be measured. His best season since at least 2009-10 is worthy of a starting spot.

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Kobe Bryant is having a spectacular season, especially for a man his age. Considering that the game of basketball is played on two ends of the court, Tim Duncan is having a better one. Yet Bryant is the league’s leading vote getter and Duncan remains largely overlooked for reasons expanded upon by J. Gomez over at Pounding the Rock:

He’s doing all of that on a team that has the third best record in the league and the third best defense, according to defensive rating. There are very, very few big men in the league right now with as complete a game, on both sides of the ball, as Duncan and he’s the biggest reason for the Spurs’ success. After two good but not dominant seasons, Duncan is having a monster year and there’s a very, very strong case to be made that at age 36, he is the best big man in the league right now.

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Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo Sports blog Ball Don’t Lie on Tim Duncan:

Duncan and Gasol are probably the two best big men in the West, right now. Duncan’s ability to dominate on both ends isn’t merely impressive because of his age or his play over the last two seasons, it’s impressive full stop.

And Tony Parker:

Parker is in his prime, and playing like it. He’s working up a career year, he’s slashed his turnovers, and have you noticed that he takes a three-pointer once every other game? And makes one once every five or six games? The guy can dominate games offensively without having to utilize what has turned into the NBA’s most important shot.

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Let Matt Bonner shoot. Or any Spurs player for that matter. Follow the link to the Express-News blog Spurs Nation and Dan McCarney’s tale of Luke Bonner, Matt’s younger brother, pulling for him to participate in the three-point shootout during All-Star weekend. You would a think a team with as much potency behind the line would have a representative at some point.

You can support this on Twitter by using #LetBonnerShoot.

  • DorieStreet

    I always considered the All-NBA designation for a player just as meaningful as being an All-Star –the award that gets the most attention because a game (and now events) are attached to it and fans get to vote on the players.
    Duncan has been getting a few accolades this season, but his and Parker’s play is overshadowed by the sports media attention to marquee teams and their stars.