View Full Version : NBA Insider Feb 4

02-04-2004, 01:16 PM
LeBron, Carmelo aren't quite all-star worthy

It's close, but statistically speaking, LeBron James is better than Carmelo Anthony.

But by going by the standings, and there are those who say those numbers are even more important, then, well, Anthony is far and away better than James.

But, and this is a big but if we are to believe all the ensuing talk of all-star snubs, by combining the two criteria, both players are lacking in Feb. 15 credentials because adding them to the team means taking someone else off of it.

2003-2004 SEASON STATS
50 19.0 6.1 2.7 .417 .748

"I was like, 'Oh, man, I should have been on there,' " Anthony said in N.Y. Times after learning he had not made the Western Conference squad. "But it's my first year and I still have a long way ahead of me. Even though it's just the All-Star Game, it's much deeper than that. We'll take it as motivation. I probably deserved to make it, but things happen for a reason."

Ditto for James.

"I think I played well enough to make that team," LeBron said in Lorraine Morning Journal after learning that he had not made the Eastern Conference squad. "By not making it, that will make me work harder. It's just another thing I have to earn, to be part of that elite group. I don't have anything to prove."

But instead of focusing on those two players who did not make it, perhaps it might be better if we looked at those players who beat them out.

Anthony, a forward, lost out to Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Andrei Kirilenko and Peja Stojakovic.

2003-2004 SEASON STATS
45 20.6 5.8 5.9 .411 .759

James, a guard, lost out to Allen Iverson, Baron Davis, Jason Kidd, Paul Pierce and Michael Redd.

"I'm old school," Cavs coach Paul Silas said in the Detroit News when he learned that his player had not made the All-Star team. "I always like players to pay their dues and to earn it, but it is what it is. He's earned it. It's just one of those things."

Ditto for Anthony's representative.

"I love our guys and I think they've played well enough (to be all-stars)," Nugget GM Kiki Vandeweghe said in the Rocky Mountain News when he learned his player had not made it. "But every year there are deserving players who don't get picked. Hopefully, this will inspire our guys."

Both Silas and Vandeweghe were careful not point out any players they believed should not have made it and they were smart. They've both played in the league, made their own all-star teams and are now back in the league in different capacities. They not only understand the game but they also understand the NBA.

And this is the simple truth. These are the facts. These are the numbers.

James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have a 19-29 record.

The players selected ahead of James with losing records were Iverson, McGrady and Pierce, and here's how they stack up individually.

LeBron James
2004 Stats: 20.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 5.9 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.7 bpg, 41.4 FG%, 27.3 3P%, 75.7 FT%

Allen Iverson
2004 Stats: 27.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 6.2 apg, 2.5 spg, 0.09 bpg, 39.3 FG%, 29.4 3P%, 74.9 FT%

Tracy McGrady
2004 Stats: 27 ppg, 6 rpg, 5.6 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.7 bpg, 42.2 FG%, 35.1 3P%, 81.4 FT%

Paul Pierce
2004 Stats: 22.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 5.5 apg, 1.6 spg, 0.7 bpg, 40.2 FG%, 33.1 3P%, 83.2 FT%

As you can see, James is good, even great. Brilliant if you've only seen him through highlights. But these guys are, statistically speaking, better. They score more points and excel in other categories as well. And as far as the standings go, Kidd, Redd and Davis, as the leaders of their respective teams, are seven games better than James in the win column.

Here's how Carmelo stacks up.

Carmelo Anthony
2004 Stats: 19 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.6 bpg, 41.7 FG%, 32.4 3P%, 74.8 FT%

But instead of listing the numbers for Duncan, Garnett, Nowitzki and Stojakovic and embarrassing the rookie, I'll put it in his own words . . . "but Kirilenko, man," he said in the Rocky Mountain News.

So let's see.

Andrei Kirilenko
2004 Stats: 16.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2 spg, 2.8 bpg, 46.9 FG%, 39.3 3P%, 79.2 FT%

Anthony scores a few more points than Kirilenko, but is outclassed in every other statistical category from rebounding to assists to shooting to being in a completely different league in terms of defensive prowess.

Andrei Kirilenko
Utah Jazz
2003-2004 SEASON STATS
44 16.3 7.9 3.3 .469 .792

Don't get me wrong. Anthony is having a great season. The simple fact that the Nuggets are 29-21 should make him the Rookie of the Year at this point ahead of James. But there isn't a coach in the league who would take a 41 percent shooter scoring 19 a game over what Kirilenko is doing night in and night out for the Jazz.

To argue otherwise would be to include Shawn Marion, Rashard Lewis, Larry Hughes and Michael Finley in this argument of snubs. How about Corey Maggette, averaging 19.9 a game on 46 percent shooting?

There are 27 players in the NBA averaging 18 or more points a game.

Try to find another player who has 124 blocks at this point to go along with 42 3-pointers while ranking third in his team in assists and fifth in the entire league in steals for a team with a winning record whose second-leading scorer on the court this month is Carlos Arroyo.

Sure, James and Anthony sell more jerseys, sneakers and seats in the stadiums. And there is an argument to be made of this as columnist Bernie Lincicome writes in the Rocky Mountain News :

"Either Anthony and James are what they are or they are not. They are the lead item on the nightly basketball news, whenever Kobe Bryant is not in Eagle County. They are forgiven flaws that veterans must apologize for.

"If James and Anthony are all of this, then they should be authenticated as such, and Anthony certainly was, finishing in fan voting just behind Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan and ahead of even perennial Karl Malone, not to mention Nowitzki and Peja Stojakovic.

"We, the public, have been assured that, in Anthony and James, we are seeing the future and should be making notes for later.

"What the coaches are saying is that the future is fine, but it is just not Feb. 15 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles."

But the fact is, to add Anthony or James means that you've to subtract one of these other players or simply base the game on Jersey sales and make room for Memphis point guard Jason Williams on the roster.

And perhaps the biggest indictment comes from the two, themselves. After saying the right things and doing the right things under such extreme media scrutiny all year, they wait for this moment to put their foots in their mouths.

"I wasn't part of their team they picked first," James said after being asked if he would be an injury replacement on the All-Star team. "I wouldn't like to be part of the team . . I'm an only child. I never want to be picked second. I don't come second. Don't even put me on that. That's how I feel."

Ditto for his partner.

"I'm not going to play if somebody gets hurt," Anthony said. "I don't want to be picked if somebody gets hurt."

Which only proves, more than anything, that perhaps they are a bit too young, still, to be on the All-Star team in the first place.

Injured starters haven't hurt T-Wolves

On Monday night, point guard Baron Davis and shooting guard Kobe Bryant sat out injured while forwards Karl Malone and Jermaine O'Neal joined them in the trainer's room as center Shaquille O'Neal served a one-game suspension to wash his mouth out with soap.

And that was after we decided to see which starting lineups in the NBA had played the most games and which ones missed the most games due to injury or suspension or Super Bowl tickets almost one week away from the All-Star break.

We went through each team, counted games missed for each member of its starting five and ranked them top to bottom.

We just thought that while the Kings have compiled the best record in the league without franchise player Chris Webber, you'd be interested to know that one team (Minnesota) has had it even worse but is only a half game behind them in the standings while the Lakers, despite injuries to Kobe, Shaq and Malone, are still better off than at least seven teams at this point of the season.

Most Able Starting 5s

1. Detroit Pistons
Missed Games: 2 of 48
Maybe they've found a cure for cancer. Or the common cold. Either way, the Pistons' starting five is the model of fitness in the NBA. Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince have played and started in every game so far this season while Ben Wallace and Richard Hamilton have missed only one. Meanwhile, at center, where they are, at times, three deep, have Mehmet Okur, who has not missed a game all year while working his way into the starting lineup while his veteran backup, Elden Campbell, has missed only seven. Last year, the Pistons lost a total of only 22 starter games, which isn't bad at all considering that 14 of 29 NBA teams this year have already lost more. But this year, at this rate, they will miss a total of only 3.4 games.

2. Houston Rockets
Missed Games: 2 of 46
Of course, we tabulated these numbers prior to Steve Francis being suspended for attending to urgent family matters during the Super Bowl, but that would have boosted this number to only three missed starter games in 47. They seem to have solved injury problems to starter Maurice Taylor by simply taking him out of the starting lineup. In his place down low have been Yao Ming, Kelvin Cato and Jimmy Jackson combining for a total of two missed games after Taylor missed 110 games at power forward over his first three seasons in Houston. To his credit he has now played in 41 of 47 of the teams games so far and is on pace to play more games than he ever has before in his career.

3. Indiana Pacers
Missed Games: 4 of 48
The good news is that Ron Artest plays injured. The bad news is that Ron Artest still misses games despite playing injured because of his inability, at times, to get along with his coach, opponents' coaches and/or cameramen. He missed 13 games last year, only one of them to injury the other 12 to suspension. But not his year. The league's premier perimeter defender has played in 47 of the team's 48 games to match the team's best player, Jermaine O'Neal, who missed only his second game all season on Monday. Credit 17-year veteran Reggie Miller for setting the pace. He's missed only one game all season while still logging 29 minutes per.

4. Atlanta Hawks
Missed Games: 5 of 48
Well, they're not very good at all. They're not particularly young, either. But at last the Hawks are healthy. And let's not take that lightly. It's no secret that this team is going to move players in order to create cap space and a new beginning. And what better way to do it than by showing that Theo Ratliff, one of the best post defenders in the game today, has played in 130 of the teams last 131 games after missing 79 games during the 2002 season. Ratliff is on pace to set a career high for minutes after setting it last year. His stock has never been higher since the team traded for Terrell Brandon last summer who retired long ago.

5. Toronto Raptors
Missed Games: 7 of 45
Vince Carter played a total of 43 games last year. He's already played 42 this year. So it only follows that after winning a total of only 24 games last year, the Raptors have already won 21 this year. Neither statistic is particularly great, but with the team in roster and coaching flux, it's nice to know your franchise player can still walk after almost thinking he could nearly fly only two seasons ago.

Least Able Starting 5s

29. Minnesota Timberwolves
Missed Games: 77 of 46
Who would have thunk that the team with the third-best record in the league, better than the Spurs and the Lakers and only 0.018 of a percentage point from having the best record in the league, would also be the same team with the most missed games to starters? Sacramento Kings fans can talk all they want about Chris Webber, but all-star forward Wally Szczerbiak has yet to log his first minute this season, too, while last year's starting point guard, Troy Hudson, has played in only only games so far this season, and we didn't even factor in those 38 missed game into this list. But remember Michael Olowokandi? He was the starting center for this team before getting injured 31 games ago. And there's your 77 missed games between two players as Kevin Garnett, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell have gone the full stretch so far without missing a step.

28. Washington Wizards
Missed Games: 74 of 46
On Sunday, February 1, Jerry Stackhouse played his first game of the season. He was last year's leading scorer. On Friday, January 9, Gilbert Arenas played his last game of the season and hasn't been heard from since after being injured. He was this year's leading scorer. Can the ghost of Michael Jordan actually find the time to haunt two franchises?

27. Philadelphia 76ers
Missed Games: 57 of 48
The question isn't whether Allen Iverson is injured. The question is whether Allen Iverson's numerous injuries will prevent him from playing on any particular day. And the question isn't whether the Sixers have anyone else on injured reserve. The question is how many. Only one member of their starting five has played in every game. And only one other player on the entire roster can claim that. Iverson has missed 14 games. Second-leading scorer Glenn Robinson has missed 18. Derrick Coleman, the team's low-post threat, has missed 18, while the team's other low-post threat, Marc Jackson, has missed 29, and we didn't even count his numbers.

26. Orlando Magic
Missed Games: 58 of 49
Grant Hill's coming back next week, next month, next year. Until then, he's made up 49 of the team's 58 missed games so far this season all by himself while missing 248 of the team's last 295 games spanning four seasons. And the longer he drags this on, the more this becomes his legacy rather than the six glorious seasons he spent in Detroit.

25. New Orleans Hornets
Missed Games: 56 of 47
P.J. Brown has missed only 10 games over the last six seasons while Jamaal Magloire hasn't missed one in his last three. The Hornets only wish they could say the same for Jamal Mashburn, Baron Davis and David Wesley, who have combined for the 56 missed games this year and counting, 41 games last year and 57 games the year before that. And it's feast or famine for these guys. Two years ago, Davis played a full 82 games while Mashburn missed 42. The following year, Mashburn played a full 82 while Davis missed 32. This year, it's Davis having played 43 games while Mashburn has made only four. You'd almost hate to be Baron Davis come October of next year.

Peep Show

Phoenix Suns: It seems that everyone believes the doctor when he says that Amare Stoudemire's ankle and toe are OK to play except, well, Amare Stoudemire. "I've never questioned his heart," Suns chairman Jerry Colangelo said in the Arizona Central. "Personally, I think he has the heart of a warrior. That's not in question. I think once the player is cleared with any injury, ultimately it's still up to the player to feel comfortable. Coming back from an injury is as much emotional as it is physical." Of course, what, exactly, do the Suns have to gain by having him come back now anyways? "Obviously, if we're in the stretch drive or the playoffs, players cast that kind of thing to the wind," Colangelo said. "But he's a young player who has already established himself with a tremendous rookie year. There's no reason to put him in jeopardy."

Washington Wizards: Don't worry. Gilbert Arenas says be happy. "I'm just going to wait until after All-Star, get 100 percent and come back and play," said Arenas in the Washington Times. "No one is going to be happy if I come back too soon, so I'm just going to make everyone happy and come back after All-Star." The point guard has missed 26 games so far this season with a strained abdomen and Wizard fans are hoping they get to see him paired up with Stackhouse, who recently returned from injury, in the backcourt before too long.

Detroit Pistons: Not naming Richard Hamilton to the all-star squad, he believes, was bad. "It's kind of disappointing," he said in the Detroit News. "I didn't want to get my hopes up too high because the last couple of years I thought I should've made it and I was devastated. I was like, 'Man, what do I gotta do? But this year, after playing in the playoffs, that was such a great thing, and having a chance to play for a championship, that's more gratifying. But, once they put that team out there and you see some of those names, it always get frustrating." But not naming him AND Chauncey Billups is even worse. "If you don't take one, take the other," Hamilton said. "We can't be considered one of the best backcourts in the league and not have at least one of us go. If he would've made it, I would have been happy. To not take either of us, it's tough."

Cleveland Cavaliers: Tony Battie is down but not out after being placed on the injured reserve list. "It's a strategical move," Battie said in the Lorraine Morning Journal. "They know I'm not 100 percent. I know I'm not 100 percent. I could play through it. I'm going to get healthy through the All-Star break. The hefty knee brace slows me down a lot. Some of my quickness is taken away. It affects my running. I'll see how I feel after the All-Star break." He will be replaced by 3-point specialist Jason Kapono on the active roster.

Los Angeles Lakers: Who knew Phil Jackson was such a baseball fan? "The league has a problem with the officiating," he said in the Orange County Register. "The other day (at Toronto), a player put the ball on the floor, picked it up and resumed his dribble, and nothing was called. You can't advance a fumble in this game. Against Indiana last night, they fouled us three times at the end of a quarter. They were trying to give a foul. Nothing was called . . . Baseball brought in people and attacked the issue. Instead of protecting the people involved and using an official to oversee them, they recognized they had a problem. Young players are being allowed to carry the ball, to travel. I tell the officials that we can't teach the players the things they're letting them get away with."

02-04-2004, 01:30 PM
LeBron and Carmelo said some really dumb things. Saying that they thought they should be all-stars is a little presumptous already, but saying they wouldn't want to be on the all-star team as an injury replacement? WTF?

Also, Carmelo calling out Kirilenko? What was he thinking?

I'm quite "savoviced" by what they said, especially b/c they seemed to say mostly the right things since entering the NBA.

(And how in the heck did Rip Hamilton get the idea that he should've made it this year or in years past?)

And please, no more Kings fans whining about injuries.

02-04-2004, 02:05 PM
thebac, I completely agree with you. I think it was pretty immature of 'melo and Lebron to somehow they "deserve" to be all-stars over the people who made it over them - how about some humility, people?

02-04-2004, 02:11 PM
The difference is...Lebron didnt call anyone out...i was shocked to see Carmelo call out AK

also...im tired of saying James isnt a winner...theyve already won 2 more games than last year and eversince the davis and miles trades they have been outstanding...Melo has 3 times the team around him that james does

02-04-2004, 02:52 PM
Agreed with the assessment about James' belief that he deserves to be at the all-star. Who do these rookies think they are? "Oh we'll just get into the NBA and make the All-Star." Cassell is 34 and only now has he been selected for the All-Star game. Please, play your game and the time will come, IF you deserve it. I just hate this type of attitude. I really do. And I wasn't expecting it from James either. Carmelo called out another player? That's even worse. Especially Kirilenko, who definitely deserves it more than him, any and every way you look at it. Does anyone think Carmelo deserved a spot over Kirilenko? I'm sorry but AK is just this much better right now. He leads Carmelo on every category stat wise except PPG, and even then AK is only 3 points off while shooting 47% over Carmelo's 42%.

02-04-2004, 03:36 PM
Los Angeles Lakers: Who knew Phil Jackson was such a baseball fan? "The league has a problem with the officiating," he said in the Orange County Register. "The other day (at Toronto), a player put the ball on the floor, picked it up and resumed his dribble, and nothing was called. You can't advance a fumble in this game. Against Indiana last night, they fouled us three times at the end of a quarter. They were trying to give a foul. Nothing was called . . . Baseball brought in people and attacked the issue. Instead of protecting the people involved and using an official to oversee them, they recognized they had a problem. Young players are being allowed to carry the ball, to travel. I tell the officials that we can't teach the players the things they're letting them get away with."

It seems as though Phil Jackson and Shaq are both whining about two different things. Phil is agruing that the referees are not strict enough whereas Shaq has been arguing that they are too strict and are taking over the game.

Max Power
02-04-2004, 07:47 PM
2. Houston Rockets
Missed Games: 2 of 46

This is why the Rockets charged out of the game so well (that and playing mostly an East coast schedule). But they are quickly coming back to reality.