Blake Griffin — the rookie highlight package of the Clippers — is in the All-Star Game.
Kevin Love and his video game stats are out. LaMarcus Aldridge in Portland is out as well.
Andre Miller, the Trail Blazers point guard, thinks that’s a travesty, as Jason Quick reported in the Oregonian.
“It’s all publicity and hype,’’ Miller said (of Griffin). “The league don’t appreciate the blue collar workers. They don’t appreciate that. They make their money off the high-flyers … That’s a slap in the face to (Aldridge).’’
What particularly irked Miller, who is in his 12th NBA season, is the selection of Griffin, the Clippers rookie. Griffin is averaging 23.0 points and 12.7 rebounds.
“They are putting this guy on every ESPN highlight. Yeah, it’s cool because fans want to see that, but you isolate him from his team,’’ Miller said. “Especially … he ain’t made nobody better. It’s basically his rookie year, as an All-Star? LeBron James didn’t make an All-Star team as a rookie.’’
Remember that Miller was suspended for a game — ending his 632 consecutive games played streak – when Miller intentionally ran into Griffin when the two teams played earlier this season. Miller said he was standing up for himself after Griffin had twice pushed him in the back.
You know why Griffin is in and Aldridge is out? Because Griffin is having a better season. And he is making guys better.
Griffin is shooting 51.7 percent this season, Aldridge is at 48.7 percent, which is why Griffin is scoring a couple more points per game. Griffin is also grabbing a higher percentage of rebounds when he is on the floor. More to Miller’s point Griffin is also a better passer and nearly double the percentage of his possessions end up in an assist as compared to Aldridge. Summed up — Aldridge has a good (borderline All-Star) PER of 20,8, but Griffin is at a much higher at 23.3.
Griffin is more than highlight dunks. He has the quickest spin move out of the post in the league. His midrange jumper has become good enough that you have to respect it. He plays physical defense. Rookie or no, he’s a legit All-Star.
Last week the All-Star Game starters were announced, and a few players felt burned by the selections.
Now the reserves have been announced, and the real snubs happen.
As a reminder, the NBA is trying to inject some life into this staid event by having LeBron James and Stephen Curry — the top vote-getters in each conference by the fans — named captains who will pick the All-Star teams. Playground style. Just one after the other, whoever they want from either conference (but not televised… boo), first from the pool of other starters selected by fans, media, and current players, then from the list of reserves selected by the coaches (those coaches had to choose two backcourt players, three frontcourt players and two wild-cards for each conference). Curry and LeBron can pick anyone — if Lebron wants to choose James Harden, he can.
Here are who the coaches chose to round out the rosters:
The Warriors become the first team to have four All-Stars in consecutive years.
There are four first-time All-Stars in there: Towns, Beal, Oladipo, and Porzingis.
So who got snubbed? The West was so deep there was just no way to get all the deserving guys in, but the biggest snubs are the Clippers’ Lou Williams (he has carried that team), Chris Paul of the Rockets (probably due to missed time), and the Thunder’s Paul George. Out East Andre Drummond was just off the board, as were Goran Dragic and Ben Simmons.
Just as a reminder, the starters are, from the West, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins; and from the East Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid.
The All-Star Game is Feb. 18 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Does Kobe Bryant need another trophy? He might get one – at the Oscars.
Bryant, the retired Los Angeles Lakers star, was nominated in the animated short category for “Dear Basketball,” based on a poem he wrote in 2015 announcing his impending retirement from basketball. He was nominated along with veteran Disney animator Glen Keane.
Bryant’s poem begins: “Dear Basketball, from the moment I started rolling my dad’s tube socks, and shooting imaginary game-winning shots in the Great Western Forum, I knew one thing was real: I fell in love with you.”
It reflects on how time is running out. “I can’t love you obsessively for much longer,” it says. “This season is all I have left to give. My heart can take the pounding, my mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”
It ends by counting down the final five seconds on a game clock:
Bryant, 39, a five-time NBA champion, played 20 seasons with the Lakers before retiring last year.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to make moves at the deadline — they have surveyed the landscape and realize they may need help just to get out of the East this season, forget about the Warriors (or even Rockets).
It’s been reported before that Sacramento guard George Hill is of interest to Cleveland. The Cavs could use guard help — they have Isaiah Thomas at the point, and a combination of Dwyane Wade (really a three), Iman Shumpert (injured) and the starter J.R. Smith at the two. Hill is a defensive upgrade, can play some backup point guard, and generally give them solid minutes when healthy.
Which is why the sides are still talking, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Channing Frye and Shumpert straight up for Hill works as a legal trade. It also works for the Cavaliers, as Frye and Shumpert are not part of the rotation. But adding another older player (31) who has an injury history (he hasn’t played even 50 games the past two seasons) to this roster comes with a lot of risks. Is it really worth that for Cleveland? This is not a deal that changes things much, it’s just a better fit for the Cavs.
It’s less of a good deal for the Kings, who want a deal that is about how it helps them two or three years from now as they rebuild. The only advantage Shumpert and Frye give the Kings is their contracts are shorter — Frye is a free agent next summer, Shumpert has a player option at $11 million for next season, while Hill has two more years after this one on his contract. However, neither player would be part of the Kings’ long-term plans, so the Kings likely want a pick or something else in this deal to make it work for them.
The Cavaliers are going to do something at the deadline. What remains to be seen. While there may be trades that help them get out of the East, there isn’t anyone available who solves their Warriors problems, and if they can’t get that it’s hard to imagine them throwing in the Brooklyn pick in a trade (their biggest chip). The moves will be smaller, not grand ones.
J.J. Barea got hit with a technical foul for jawing with John Wall during the Mavericks’ win over the Wizards yesterday.
The trash talk only intensified after the game.
Wall, via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington:
“It was cool. It was funny. It was just a little midget trying to get mad. So, I paid him no mind.”
Barea, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
“Now I have somebody in the NBA that I don’t like,” Barea said. “That’s my first. I don’t like him at all now. But I don’t think his teammates like him, either. So it’s nothing new for him.”
Barea is short, listed at 6-foot.
Do Wall’s teammates dislike him? A lot of that perception stems from his relationship with Bradley Beal, and it seems their biggest troubles are behind them. But the chemistry in Washington isn’t quite right. The latest evidence:
The Wizards got outscored by a whopping 20 points while diminutive J.J. Barea was on the court last night.
And that’s how you burn the burners.