It’s a virtual certainty that the Rockets are going to get two players on the All-Star team this year in Dwight Howard and James Harden. But that apparently isn’t good enough for Rockets GM Daryl Morey.
The All-Star starters were revealed on Thursday, and in a bit of a surprise, Howard was overtaken by Kevin Love in fan votes, which means that Love will be a starter and Howard will need to be selected as a reserve by Western Conference coaches.
This is not a reflection of Howard’s play this season, which has obviously been at a level deserving of an All-Star spot. It’s more a matter of the elimination of the center position on the ballot that cost Howard his starting spot, and Morey took to Twitter to publicly rip the process.
It’s an extremely silly thing to whine about, because it’s not like the voting process is going to prevent Harden and Howard from making the team altogether. The league has it set up so the fans vote in who they want to see play as starters, and in previous years that meant centers were on the floor for tip-off over players who were far more deserving.
Howard is a force on both ends of the floor, as is Roy Hibbert of the Pacers in the Eastern Conference who will also be a reserve in the midseason exhibition. But All-Star games are typically high-speed affairs that often feature the game’s more dynamic open court players, and the league did the right thing in changing the process to make all frontcourt players eligible, without requiring a true center to be present in the game’s starting lineup.
Minnesota is going to be entertaining to watch this season. A healthy Ricky Rubio (hopefully) dishing at the point, Karl-Anthony Towns is already a high-IQ passer, and bench players such as Shabazz Muhammad and Adreian Payne have shown some skills.
Then there’s Andrew Wiggins. The reigning Rookie of the Year developed quickly last season — particularly his jump shot — and he should make a big leap this season. He’s going to dunk on people and end up in a lot of highlight packages while putting up a lot of points.
Enough to set the Minnesota Timberwolves single game scoring record, currently held at 52 by Mo Williams? That’s the question for this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.
The Bulls have said Derrick Rose is about a week away from returning after suffering a facial fracture this preseason.
The start of the NBA season is two weeks from today (Oct. 27).
So Rose will be ready to go when the Bulls start their season that first night against Cleveland, right? Don’t bet on it, says Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com, quoting coach Fred Hoiberg.
The opening night projection for a Derrick Rose return is a bit murky at this point, as the Bulls are taking a cautious approach to his recovery with Fred Hoiberg essentially ruling him out for the rest of the preseason.
“Most likely (out for the preseason),” Hoiberg said….
In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose sit out the first handful of games, as the Bulls start the season with a three-game in four-night stretch starting Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is in two weeks.
“That will be in consideration, sure,” Hoiberg said. “We gotta make sure, he really hasn’t done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity, so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with his speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, chances, where it could be a lingering issue.”
Just what TNT and the NBA hoped for with an opening night Bulls vs. Cavaliers showcase: Kirk Hinrich vs. Mo Williams. (Don’t forget Kyrie Irving will miss the start of the season recovering from his knee surgery.)
Of course, this is the smart play for the Bulls who need to be thinking about getting Rose fully healthy and focusing on what condition he will be come April 27, not Oct. 27.
And of course, a lot of Bulls fans who are down on Rose will slam him for this. Even though the injury was a freak accident and the team is right to be patient.
Rose could play opening night, if he gets back to practice next week and can get closer to basketball shape. But I wouldn’t bet on it.