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Thursday, November 27, 2014

All Star “Snubs” – An Exercise in Intellectual Laziness

With the starters being named, and the reserves all set to be named Thursday, there has been a lot of discussion (as there is every year) about who should make the team, and when the rosters are announced, you will of course hear about players being “snubbed.”

The problem is that, with the notable exception of a few journalists (Hollinger, for one, does a very nice job in this area), they never acknowledge the fact that to be “snubbed,” someone must have been picked over you that you deserved a spot over. Instead, they just pick the most prominent player not to be on the team, and say that those players were “snubbed.”

To wit, Josh Howard will most likely not make the team, and as a result, many people will say that he was “snubbed.” And heck, you could even make an argument that he deserves to be there over the other Western forwards, but that won’t be the argument that will be made come All-Star time, it will be “Josh Howard didn’t make the team? But he’s having a great year! What a snub!”

Steve Kerr has already developed this argument last week, in a column where he stated, conclusively, that Howard “deserves to go,” but besides MENTIONING the other star forwards in the West (Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony, Shawn Marion, Elton Brand, Carlos Boozer and Zach Randolph), Kerr does not even bother to argue why Howard should beat out four of those six players.

And that is just intellectual laziness.

And we get it every year.

21 comments on “All Star “Snubs” – An Exercise in Intellectual Laziness

  1. dave crockett

    Intellectual laziness presumes intellect, so you may be giving some of these folks a bit more credit than they deserve. The late Ralph Wiley used to say, “the paper comes out every day.”

    The other derivative of this that drives me batty is the insinuation that fan choices are bogus but player/manager choices are somehow much more objective. Mike Breen is a good one for this.

    I’m not saying fans don’t make some goofball choices but their biases tend to be simple. It’s a popularity contest for them. Often with coaches and players there’s a whole other layer of complexity involving personal friendships, rivalries, common agents, contract incentives, etc.

    By comparison, far too much ink is spilled over All-Star consideration and not nearly enough over post-season awards given by the media. I think the media do a far worse job with post-season awards (i.e., MVP, All-NBA, Def. POY, etc.) than the fans do with the All-Star game–once you consider the wide availability of data and the fact that these people are supposed to have detailed knowledge of all the players in the league.

  2. Matthew

    I hate the sports media as much as the next person, but they absolutely do not do worse than the fans. The fans vote in guys who barely play. Shaq this year. Vince Carter and Grant Hill in the past. Fans have absolutely no regard for a player’s current performance.

    Not that the media is much better. They dream of reasons why a certain player on a winning team is better than a certain player on a .500 team, all divorced from reality of course. But I think individual awards are given far too much screen time in this sport anyways. I couldn’t care less who makes the all-star game or wins the mvp award. Just so my team wins the trophy (hasn’t happened yet).

  3. Kevin

    Before we criticize either group I think we need to understand what they are expected to do. I think that the fans vote for who they want to see play. The coaches then vote for deserving players. So before we start calling selections “goofy” we should determine what we expect the fans to vote on. Is it popularity or current performance.

    Starting from my position its hard to say the fans could ever pick the wrong player. If every fan just wants to watch Nate careen around the court dribble away the clock and bounce passing to himself – they should vote that way. (they should also stop following the NBA and devote their lives to following the Globetrotters and the And 1 League (Or what ever it is)).

    The coaches should reward the players who are performing well – the question is what do you do with the Josh Howards and their 3 good months compared to Elton Brand’s established level of play. League promotional politics will play here in the new star over an established star.

    Part of the laziness has been noted, the other part is more elementary – what criteria should we use.

  4. Dan

    Here’s a question for discussion…Will Eddy Curry make the all-star team or will he be “snubbed?”

    I think the 2 centers for the east should be Howard and Curry but Shaq will probably bump Curry out…why must he ruin everything? He doesn’t even play!

  5. jon abbey

    Curry won’t make it, and he shouldn’t (although he’s not far off). he’s a fantastic post scorer, but terrible at D, rebounding and passing, as we’re all well aware.

    on a related note, if Shaq doesn’t show marked improvement by then, he should be embarrassed to go.

  6. Dan Panorama

    The All-NBA First Team, Second Team, etc. is designed to reward the actual best players in the league.

    The All-Star game is just fun. Shaq is entertaining every year.

  7. TDM

    Just read that Kobe has been suspended for tonight’s game. He apparently “unintentionally” smacked Ginobili in the face the other night. Hopefully, the Knicks will come out swinging and take advantage of this opportunity and get another home win.

  8. confucius

    The All-star is a big deal for the NBA. The fans vote for the players they want to see in the playing in All-Star game. These games are such a financial winfall for the players(bonuses),NBA and the cities they are held in, I do not anticipate the NBA making any changes to the format.

  9. dave crockett

    “Part of the laziness has been noted, the other part is more elementary – what criteria should we use.”

    Fan voting always has been and will be about popularity. I get that you’re saying that fan voting shouldn’t necessarily be judged by whether the player is deserving. I agree but I also don’t see anything wrong with being critical of fans who crown one player as more popular than another. The fans certainly have the right to express themselves but, for example, I hate it when fans vote in a player of dubious qualification because of injury or age knowing full well the guy won’t play, thus taking a spot from a more deserving player who would have.

    As a baseball guy this has become a much bigger deal to me now that home field in the World Series rides on the All-Star game.

  10. Hudson River

    Honestly with the exception of Shaq the fans do not make any decisions. That is the basis of the all-star system, make the fans think they vote players in when they really don’t. All the players voted to start would surely be on the team anyways 90% of the time, although Shaq probably wouldn’t, but hes hilarious so its worth it.

    By the way, the fans should surely have some say in who gets to compete in the skills, 3 point, and slam dunk competitions. They are 100% popularity.

  11. nesta

    I agree completely. The whining over “snubs” drives me crazy, in baseball as well. Just cause a player is having a great season, or putting up great numbers, does not not mean he is worthy of being an All-Star. They act like this is 5th grade and everyone deserves an award. No. You can have a fine season without deserving recognition as an All-Star. Instead, they keep expanding the rosters in baseball, and now Clyde says they should expand the NBA All-Star rosters to 15. Don’t these people realize as they lower the bar, there are now even MORE players who appear have a legitimate gripe at being left off? Expand rosters to 15, there’s another 10 who can say “Why not me?”

  12. villainx

    “I hate the sports media as much as the next person, but they absolutely do not do worse than the fans. The fans vote in guys who barely play.”

    Palmeiro’s ’99 gold glove, ahem.

    I am willing to say that the media aren’t better.

  13. Owen

    I’ll tell you who is being snubbed. David Lee. Here is what the Wages of Wins had to say about him recently.

    Those would be the starters if we only considered players who finished in the top ten in voting. If we consider all NBA players, then David Lee of the New York Knicks would edge out Okafor. Lee, who appears on a quest to save the job of Isiah Thomas, had produced 9.8 wins and posted a WP48 of 0.386 through the first 41 games. In other word, Lee is currently one of the ten most productive players in the game. And Isiah doesn?t even start him.

    Amen.

  14. muchsarcasm

    This isn’t just a sports thing. Anytime there’s a list people always want to overstock it. If Rolling Stone, or Billboard, or the American Film Institute throws out a top 100, everyone’s going to chime in on songs or films that got snubbed (without saying what needs to go) until eventually the top 100 list has 250 entries.

  15. RKade32

    “Palmeiro?s ?99 gold glove, ahem. I am willing to say that the media aren?t better.”

    I know this is a basketball site, but I just wanted to point out that the Gold Glove is voted on by managers and coaches, not the media…

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