Where’s The Love?

Tonight is the NBA All-Star Game and for the sake of this article I’m kind of glad I procrastinated just a little bit.  Last night Kevin Love out shot Kevin Durant, the reigning scoring champ in the 3-pt. contest.  Kevin Love might not be the best shooting big man, but at least he can shoot.  Last year he shot nearly 42% from beyond the arc, while this year he’s shooting a modest 35%.  Love’s total field goal percentage is about 47% and mind you he’s a power forward. Right now as the season stands Love is 4th in the league in scoring with 25ppg. and 2nd in rebounding grabbing 14 per.  So where’s the love?  In my opinion and apparently Charles Barkley’s as well believe that right now Kevin Love is the best power forward on the planet.  So how is it that he isn’t a starter?  Again I’m not taking anything away from Blake Griffin, but hes not nearly as good and as complete a player as Kevin Love.  When Love was attending UCLA I constantly said he had the best footwork of a big man I’ve seen since Tim Duncan.  Tim Duncan, a guy who many regard as the best power forward ever.  The passing of the torch so to speak is happening right now before our eyes and yet Love gets no Love.

Of course their will be some snubs in the All-Star selection.  Making it should be an accomplishment in itself and it is.  The distinction of starting means a lot more though.  Imagine if Kobe didn’t start and he came off the bench in these games.  I’m not even sure if Kobe would attend because he’s that kind of competitor.  I’m confused by the NBA’s approach to how they handle the All-Star selection.  They let the fans vote in the starters and the coaches pick the reserves.  I’m not sure that much can be done to change this, but the starting 5 should be the best at their position in their respective conferences.  Then the fan favorites can be voted in as reserves.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  You ready? Jeremy Lin will be the starting point guard in next year’s All-Star game over current MVP Derrick Rose, Deron Williams who is possibly the best all around point guard, and Rajon Rondo.  Maybe next year Lin will be around the stature of Rondo, but definitely won’t be a Rose or D-Will.  If that’s making your stomach a little queasy then so should Kevin Love not getting the starting job in the Western Conference.

He should of started over Blake Griffin, hell he could of even started at the center over Andrew Bynum.  Maybe it’s because he doesn’t play in a big market team? I get that, but you have to consider his numbers.  Consider this Blake Griffin scores less points per game at 21.4 and snags less rebounds with 11.4.  He also has a lower PER(player efficiency rating) at 23.41 while Love’s is slightly better at 24.70.  I mean come on the guy is 4th in the league in scoring behind, oh I don’t know, Kobe, LeBron, and Durant respectively, 3 of the premier players in this league and yet I never hear Love’s name mentioned for any reason.  Where’s the love?

Last year the Minnesota Timberwolves had the worst record in the league, contrary to many believing the Cavs were the worst team losing LeBron and all.  The Wolves only won 17 games.  This year in the condensed schedule the Wolves at the break have……you guessed it 17 wins.  John Hollinger has them ranked 14th in his power rankings and Marc Stein has them as high as 11 on his power rankings.  They are right outside playoff contention and if they were in the Eastern Conference they’d be in 7th place right in front of the New York Knicks.  So one would have to think that the Wolves will net a wins total somewhere in the 30’s in a 66-game schedule.  For arguments sake lets say they double their first half wins total and get 34 on the year.  That’s 17 more games then they won last year and had this year been a full 82-game schedule its possible the could of at least went .500 on the year and obtained 41 wins.  That would be 24 more wins then they had last year.  They owe it to their best player and yes admittedly the help of the supporting cast, but how come Love doesn’t get mentioned in any MVP conversations?  I’m not saying he deserves it and he’s the first half MVP, but if his team does make the playoffs, they increase their win total by 17 games, and he maintains his numbers why shouldn’t he receive the award?  Everybody else in the MVP conversation has a great supporting cast, Love and the Wolves have a lot of young talent, but they don’t compare to what other teams have as a team as a whole.

Please, show the man some love.  He is Mr. Love afterall.

NBA Dunk Contest 2012

Let’s be honest here, this year’s dunk contest contestants aren’t raising any eyebrows.  In fact the man being brought in to assist Iman Shumpert is getting more attention than any of the contestants…anybody heard of Jeremy Lin?  I don’t think I need to indulge on who he is unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks and even then its possible you could feel the Lin-tensity (I promise that will be the last Lin pun).  Contestants like Derrick Williams, Chase Budinger, Paul George, and Iman Shumpert aren’t household names.  But whose to blame?

The NBA, David Stern, should find a way to invigorate what once was a fan favorite event at the All-Star Game.  The NBA has done several different things over the years to try and change the contests’ atmosphere.  Since 2008 fan voting decided the winner of the dunk contest, which I believe hinders the contest and the contestants who participate.  Although it is only the final round which fans vote for doesn’t it lose credibility?  Look I understand that this event is for the fans, the whole weekend is for the fans, but these are the same fans that vote in their favorites for the All-Star Game.  Favorites, not most deserving, its beyond me how Kevin Love is not a starter and Blake Griffin is.  I’m not taking anything away from Blake, but Love is by far the better player, which is a whole other argument.

So where was I?  Favorites.  Listen Blake Griffin (sorry I’m getting at you right now) won the dunk contest last year before it even started.  The contest was in Los Angeles where he plays and was the popular pick before the contest took off.  I get it he jumped over a car, but did anybody really see what Demar Derozan was doing.  I’ve been watching Demar Derozan dunking since his days in Compton; he should have been the hometown favorite.  The kid can fly, but he didn’t even make it to the final round of the dunk contest last year.  He didn’t use props like a car or two hoops, and if he did you would still be jumping out your seat.  Believe me.  Just go look at his highlight reel from high school…yes high school…enough said.

I have a few ideas that could possibly bring back the hype of the dunk contest.

  1. Make the “Superstars” participate.  Get LeBron on the phone and tell him he has to participate in this contest albeit he is good health.  At 6’8 250lbs. what could hurt him.  “The Decision” was highly watched so how bout the “The Decision II” LeBron decides to partake in the dunk contest festivities.  I mean everything this guy does is scrutinized and televised and talked about so what better way to get the contest publicity then LeBron James.  Get Dwayne Wade to throw him an alley-oop from the popcorn vendor and we have ourselves a show.
  2. Get more contestants.  Four people are not enough.  Back in the day eight people participated.  From 2002 and on it dropped to four people and it’s not like Nate Robinson was around then taking 20 attempts to complete his dunk.  Get some more people in there, some more household names along with some not so name brand players.  If an underdog did win wouldn’t it make it more memorable.  Just imagine if the contestants consisted of Lebron James, Blake Griffin, Demar Derozan, Carmelo Anthony, among some the other 4 already in it.  I’m sure everybody would have a different take on this years contest.
  3. No more fan voting.  Like I said before I know the contest is for the fans, but someone like Demar Derozan who is a great dunker possibly didn’t consider this year because of that.  Quite honestly if Jeremy Lin participated this year he would win with finger rolls and lay-ups.  The fans watching and being there should be enough participation.
  4. Jam Session anybody?  A lot of people watch the X-Games. They have the right idea when it comes to something like this.  Make each round “X” amount of minutes.  For the sake of argument make the first round 5 minutes.  Let everybody participating go one at a time in order attempting their dunk.  Four best scores advance.  Then have a much shorter Jam Session, let’s say 2 minutes.  Top two advance.  Then for the final round do it old school 2 attempts per person for the crown of dunk contest champion…as voted by judges not fans.

David Stern or anybody in the NBA I hope you get to read this and think about changing up the dunk contest, after all it is for the entertainment of the fans right?