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Should NBA Commissioner David Stern select Andrew Bynum as All-Star starter?

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With wide-eyed enthusiasm, Lakers center Andrew Bynum still maintains the boyish innocence that any 23-year-old should have.

He joyfully shares if asked what he learned from a recent book he read. He provides a detailed medical report on his latest injury or recovery effort, a protocol most athletes avoid. And his smile beams when he knows he's going to match up with an All-Star-caliber player because it gives him an adequate measure on where he stands among the league's elite.

Yet although he's still young, it was nearly six years ago when he was the Lakers' 10th pick in the 2005 NBA draft, becoming at 18 years old the youngest player ever to play in the NBA. Missing 147 regular-season games surely prolonged how long it's felt since Bynum has been with the Lakers. For those keeping score: 46 of those absences came in the 2007-08 season because of a left knee injury; 32 of the times Bynum remained on the sideline occurred in the 2008-09 season when he tore an MCL in his right knee; 13 missed games happened in the 2009-10 season when he strained his left Achilles' tendon; and sitting out 24 games took place this season as he rehabbed from off-season surgery on his right knee.

That's partially why the Lakers have yet to see the full benefits Bynum has brought, though there have been a few steps he's taken. He fought through a torn meniscus in his right knee during the 2010 NBA Finals. He's also bolstered the team's record since returning this season to the starting lineup in the past 15 games to 12-3, its defensive identity to the third-best in opponent's field-goal percentage, and with an average of 13.3 points on 59.3% shooting, 8.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots in 27.2 minutes. Bynum's injuries are also partially why he's yet to achieve what he deems to be a significant goal in making the NBA All-Star team, though going through a 23-game stretch last season without a double-double didn't help his cause, either. With the league set to announce Thursday the All-Star starters for the game that takes place Feb. 20 at Staples Center, it's conceivable Bynum will have to wait another season to fulfill that position.

With yet another sign of globalization and that China's state-controlled media also discounts injury reports, Houston Rockets center Yao Ming is the West's leading vote-getter (928,928) at the position with 928,928 despite having season-ending surgery on a stress fracture on his left ankle. The position doesn't automatically go to Bynum, who's ranked second with (660,576 votes). Instead, NBA Commissioner David Stern will select Yao's replacement, making it possible that Bynum's fate will rest on when the coaches select the reserves, including a center, two forwards, two guards and two other players at any position. Forget for a moment that it's possible Bynum could appear in his first All-Star game as a reserve, though that is a unlikely scenario. Should Stern select Bynum as Yao's replacement?

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson immediately thought of Dallas center Tyson Chandler, whom Jackson has credited for providing a defensive presence for the Mavericks front line. Most of Sports Illustrated's writers believe Denver center Nene deserves the nod for his 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game and his league-leading 64.6% field-goal percentage. And ESPN.com's John Hollinger contends that Bynum would be "horribly undeserving." And what say you? I'm sure this will spark debate within this corner of the blogosphere. No matter how much of a difference Bynum has played in the last month, however, he's simply missed too many games. But this latest debate reveals Bynum maturing in some respect, knowing his time will eventually come.

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Though Bynum remarked to AOL Fanhouse recently, "I just got to get an opportunity to kind of be a focal point on this squad," those comments spoke more to what he needs to do in fulfilling his goal in becoming the NBA's best center than lamenting his current role. After all, the Lakers' 29-point victory Tuesday over the Jazz showed Bynum taking more pride in adopting a workmanlike attitude in filling the stat sheet. He collected more rebounds (11) than shot attempts (six of nine). He recorded more blocks (three) than personal fouls (two). And he's taken pride in disrupting passing lanes and shots more than making baskets.

"We have a lot of scorers on this team, so offensively, if you get a play run for you, you better be successful with it because we've got a lot of guys who are able to score," Bynum told The Times' Broderick Turner. "But defensively, I think I can be active and challenge a lot of shots, change a lot of shots."

Usually Bynum's refrain in previous seasons entailed that early touches would be the only way that led to him having successful performances, a strategy that spoke to his single-mindedness on scoring and unrealistic approach considering Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are on the team. No longer is Bynum saying much about needing to be an All-Star, either. Most of his talk instead has surrounded how he still remains dissatisfied with his physical health. In previous seasons, Jackson may have needed to remind the young Bynum that patience is a virtue. This year? "I don't think specifically it's a conversation that's necessary," Jackson said. "This is a team that knows their roles."

Bynum's role with the Lakers so far has been this: lowering minutes for Gasol, allowing Odom to lead the bench and, of course, staying healthy. Those ingredients may not be enough for an All-Star run, but they'll surely be enough in helping the Lakers secure a third championship. Eventually, that role will be suffice in accomplishing his goal in becoming an All-Star, something that will happen soon enough for Bynum to remain boyishly wide-eyed. 

-- Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Top photo: Lakers center Andrew Bynum tries to put up a shot past Utah forward Gordon Hayward during the Lakers' 120-91 victory Tuesday. Bynum played a leading role in shutting down the Jazz's offense. Credit: Gus Ruelas / Associated Press / January 25, 201

Bottom photo: Bynum challenges the shot of Denver guard J.R. Smith in the first half Friday night at the Pepsi Center. Credit: Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

 
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Jon K,
The PSP miss Kwaminus too and wish that he would come back. The PSP think that the blog atmosphere has changed a lot due to some ... goings on. The PSP understand the banning of a douche like Eric Wright, but a lot of the others that were banned were mostly harmless and were receiving about as much as they dished out.

The PSP do not want to have a conversation with Lebron, that would end in disaster. The man has God given physical ability but lacks almost everything else.

Jon Kavulic, do you agree with this statement: The regular season games are meaningless

Thanks
PSP Intern [ Working the morning shift too :( ]

Jon Kavulic, do you agree with this statement: The regular season games are meaningless

Posted by: Practice Season Police | January 27, 2011 at 08:10 AM

Jon K. choose your next words wisely. Or feel the wrath of 888.

As much as I'd wanna see another Laker in the lineup, Bynum an allstar??? No way! Why can't Gasol get the center position. He sure did some fine work at that position earlier this season. Hell, he even had an MVP-type stretch for a short while. Yao being voted starter is of course a joke, but then we don't have many dominating centers in the West. Also, if there ever was a time for LO being an allstar it sure as sheeeet is now! He's tossed his greatest weakness, inconsistency, on the dump and been this team's most consistent player. Kudos!

ANDREW BYNUM SHOULD BE STARTING WEST CENTER!
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There are four very persuasive arguments in favor of Andrew Bynum being selected to replace Yao Ming as the starting center for the West in the upcoming All-Star Game:

(1) The fans are supposed to select the starters and the coaches the reserves. While 928,928 fans voted for Yao Ming as starter, 660,576 fans have cast votes for Andrew Bynum to start – double the count of any other center in the Western Conference. Obviously, the fans have spoken and Andrew Bynum has earned their vote to start.

(2) The game is in Los Angeles and in every sport but the NBA there is always a strong movement to reward home town fans by selecting their players to all-star games. In this case, Andrew Bynum has clearly become the second most important player on the Lakers after Kobe Bryant. The league should reward the home team by selecting Drew.

(3) The Lakers are the defending back-t0-back NBA champions and as such deserve to get more players on the team than any other team in the West. Remember when the Detroit Pistons actually had four starters in the All-Star game after winning the title? This year, with the game at Staples, the Lakers deserve to have LO and AB on the team.

(4) Take a poll of the players or coaches or general managers and I would bet that most would vote Andrew Bynum as the second best center in the NBA and, with Yao injured, the best center in the Western Conference. To penalize him for missing 24 games to start the season would be to marginalize the huge impact he had playing injured and helping his team win the championship. After all, playing through the injury is what caused him to miss those 24 games at the start of the season. Drew should start.
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TOM

@HOBBITMAGE… Yes, I did read the story. I think what we are all witnessing is the maturation of young Andrew Bynum. It started in the playoffs last year when Drew showed the kind of heart reminiscent of the Black Mamba and it has continued this year as Drew has focused his efforts at dominating the paint and anchoring the defense. The way Drew is playing right now is exactly what the Lakers need him to do to three-peat.

Ironically, I think Drew’s focus on defense and rebounding is going to get him more touches as the team looks to reward him on the other end of the court. Bottom line, what we are watching right now in my opinion is the evolution of the next great Lakers center. Not saying he is anywhere near that goal (which is thankfully still several more great Kobe years away), but that this is the route Drew has to take to reach that goal.

Finally, I still get frustrated at comments by Lakers fans that Drew does not deserve to be selected to the All-Star Game. I understand where they are coming from but this has never been about fairness. It’s a popularity contest that has been dominated by Yao and Amare the last few years, even though neither was really deserving of the honor. To me, I would like to see Kobe and Drew start and LO and Pau come off the bench. 4 Lakers.
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TOM

I don't want Bynum to be an All Star because he is freak injury accident prone. One more game increases that risk.

I've always been a Drew backer but the truth is it doesn't matter if he makes the ASG this year or not. If Drew lives up to his potential he'll make a lot of ASGs, maybe even the HOF, but that's down the road.

Here's the deal, this headline is nothing more than a clever ruse. A cynical ploy by MM to avoid the real issue by distracting us with this red herring of a headline. Everybody on this blog knows what I'm talking about, but no one want's to say it. It is the 800 lb gorilla sitting in the room, it's our grassy knoll.

MM, why isn't Justa going to the ASG?

That's right I said it.

On a totally unrelated music post: Los Lobos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tao8rbrnfbc

Bynum's time will come if he can keep healthy. Let someone else do it this time around.

When AC Green was voted the starter in the ASG over Karl Malone, I was ecstatic (and was laughing my arse off), but I knew that AC Green had no business starting over Malone. The same goes for Bynum. Four Lakers in the ASG would be nice, but a center averaging 24 minute a game after missing a month and a half (after delaying his surgery) has no business making the all-star team. This might actually be a blessing in disguise. We all know one of Bynum's main goals is to make the all-star team, and NOT making the team will keep him motivated for next season. Let's hope that Bynum makes the all-star team next season, but more importantly, that he will actually be deserving of it.

No, Drew should not be selected to play in the all-star game. His selection would leave off another more deserving player. Drew knew when he delayed his surgery it could cause him to miss some games at the beginning of the season. Like Kevin Bacon's character said in the movie "Murder in the First"...cause...effect. However, I am impressed that Drew is starting to focus on the impact he can have on defense instead of focusing on his touches. If he keeps this focus and stays healthy he'll be an all-star soon.

@SCOTTIE PIMPIN... “drew is playing well but he's no all star. I'd rather they let another power forward in over drew, namely Lamar Odom.”
...
If the Lakers only have three all-stars, then definitely Lamar Odom is more deserving. In fact, I think he is more deserving than Pau Gasol. My issue with Drew is that he should get a start because NBA fans have voted him as the top center in the West since Yao obviously cannot play. Why should the commissioner be able to overrule the fans? That is not fair. The fans are supposed to select the starters and they have selected Drew clearly as the #2 center. Not to mention that the damn game is at Staples.
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TOM


Posted by: LakerTom | January 26, 2011 at 12:13 PM


I totally agree, I would think that LO deserves to be an all star over Gasol. I think he has played more consistent (ironic) than Gasol, he has been instrumental in the second half of games that led to Laker wins. The Lakers do have the third best record in the league and are the defending champions playing the ASG in their home court. Saying that I also think that Bynum should be selected because he has been voted #2 as starter for the western conference (not to mention the whole Yao thing is a fraud). If C. Anthony gets traded, the #3 spot gets to start; how is that different than replacing an injured player? Based on skill alone who would you rather have as your starting center in the league not named Dwight Howard?

hobbit,

No, I wouldn't consider Pau's play in December as inspiring or all-star worthy. But in the totality of the season thus far I would select him as an all-star. If I'm selecting 7 forwards/centers to play he would definitely be one of them (see post at 10:44pm).

Many criticize Pau’s game for its deficiencies like not being a physical player, failing in some instances to attack the basket stronger and fight for position, and not giving more hard fouls at the basket and protecting the paint better. Yet, the same people don’t give Pau props for his many positive attributes like being an excellent face up shooter, exceptional passer, very good with both hands in the paint, a good shot blocker and having a high bball IQ. I understand his strengths and weaknesses and just try to present a balanced picture instead of harping on the negatives.

Kareem was another player that took a lot of criticism for being more of a “finesse” player….of course, Pau is not in his league. Others criticize Shaq for being just a “power” player and not having enough “finesse”. There are no perfect players. I get frustrated with Pau at times just like you. But I also get frustrated with Kobe, LO and every other Laker player. I just try to accept them for their strengths and weaknesses…just like one would accept the good and bad with their spouse, children, etc.

BTW, I hardly ever see you criticize Kobe (except when specifically asked about it).

For this years sake, Bynum doesn't deserve it because he hasn't played enough games. Being good enough and deserving enough are 2 different things. Now, if Stern wants to make up for last years snub then I'm all for it. Fact of the matter is though, when Yao went down, he should have come off the ballots ASAP so that someone else could garner those votes. They really need to change that process.

I also think that the NBA needs to stop letting the fan vote carry so much weight. I think the fan vote needs to carry a certain weight and maybe split it with a media vote or players vote as well. Something like that.

660,000 plus votes says he is an all-star, WEST BEST MOST POPULAR CENTER. Starters are all about POPULARITY isn't it? Wether he deserves it or not is not the point, the FANS HAVE SPOKEN!

On a totally unrelated music post: Los Lobos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tao8rbrnfbc
Posted by: Mark G | January 27, 2011 at 08:57 AM
-------------------------

I love that remake. So I'll comeback with another tune by Lobos. It's what I'd tell Drew about being selected to the all-star game...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxf-IqdjOG4

------------------------

FYI...I'm with you 100%....hook Justa up with ASG tickets or at least to the Saturday festivities.


The campaign focus should be getting LO and All Star shot.

He's playing the best ball of his career.

He's got the "star" part covered with his off court interests and his window of opportunity is closing.

I love Andrew's attitude, he's arrived but

VOTE LO!

Yeah, good point: Stern should assign Justa to the ASG; not only is she deserving of the fans' votes, she was PROMISED!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yz9hHjtWsu8

(3) The Lakers are the defending back-t0-back NBA champions and as such deserve to get more players on the team than any other team in the West. Remember when the Detroit Pistons actually had four starters in the All-Star game after winning the title? This year, with the game at Staples, the Lakers deserve to have LO and AB on the team.

Posted by: LakerTom | January 27, 2011 at 08:25 AM
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LT - The Pistons had four reserved selected to the ASG in 2006. None of them were starters.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2325082

LRob,

Nice one, great tune, and very apropos.

BTW, I couldn't agree with you more about the Lakers all having their faults and their strengths-even Luke. There isn't one of them that hasn't deserved criticism this year and there isn't one that hasn't helped win a game this year.

Andrew Bynum has evolved into good center with a couple of injury plagued seasons but this should not take away from the fact he is second in fan voting and has helped the Lakers to their recent 12-3 record since his return. To help calm the critics and fans around the league, perhaps gaining an All Star second team would be appropriate. Andrew Bynum definitely, without a doubt, deserves All Star recognition regardless if it's first or second team.

I guess it all depends on San Antonio's coach, Gregg "Pop" Popovich and his choices for All Star selection. Earning first or second team is still a great honor.

Oh boy MM - you know how to get this crowd going. This should be a fun one for banter if anything.

I say no, not this year. Yes, it's a popularity and yes, it's at Staples so yest those would be two factors in his favor. However, he is only a good month back from his injury and missed so many games.

I voted for him to get in but in my heart right now, I would rather he focus on being the premier center in the WCF and prove to NBA nation in the finals that he is "the guy" to be reckoned with going forward.

I see that Laker Tom has conceded he would rather LO get in there - and that's who I would rather see for this year. Pau has fallen off a bit and could definitely use the rest, so I can't really push for him.

LO (even though he could use the break too) is far more deserving behind Kobe.

Lastly, while I'd love to see 4 Lakers get the nod this year because it's in LA - I am sure Stern will be pushing for some Clipper representation because they also pay some of the rent. But Stern being the politician and suck up, won't let the Lakers get ALL the attention - even though they should and because they built the darn place AND are defending B2B champions!!!!

Cheers - PLG.

I just listened to the Jerry West interview from the Dan Patrick show yesterday. It’s a must listen. He clarifies his statement on the Lakers, plus talks about his thoughts on contraction, Phil Jackson, Kobe vs. Blake, Kevin Love, Kevin Durant and more. Excellent. Attached is a link if it works.


http://www.am570radio.com/common/podcast/single_page.html?podcast=danpatrick

"660,000 plus votes says he is an all-star, WEST BEST MOST POPULAR CENTER. Starters are all about POPULARITY isn't it? Wether he deserves it or not is not the point, the FANS HAVE SPOKEN!

Posted by: Staples 24 | January 27, 2011 at 09:29 AM "

The fans have spoken and said they would rather see Yao Ming play the game on crutches than any of the other centers in the west.

Seriously though, missing those early games really hurts Bynum in this. If he had eye popping numbers in the games he has played, I wouldn't hold it against him but Al Jefferson and Nene have played the whole year and have better numbers. It's hard to argue Bynum over those guys.

What I am hoping for is the possibility that the PF's like Gasol, Dirk, Love, Aldridge, or Blake get the playing time at center since the allstar game isn't a defensive game anyway and there isn't as much need for a true center. I'd prefer one of those PF's make it before Jefferson, Nene, or Bynum.


No Justa at the ASG no Peace...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d8C4AIFgUg


63,

Excellent Big Star track, great hook there.

I can't tie it in to the ASG, but another great guitar hook. Brinsley Shwartz I'm guessing. Great player.

Local Girls

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-9A2O6CwW4

Pau should be moved to the center position, freeing up a space for one of many deserving Western Conference forwards like Love or LO. No way AB deserves to be an all star this year...he will need to "earn" it next year like everyone else.

"He's also bolstered the team's record since returning this season to the starting lineup in the past 15 games to 12-3, its defensive identity to the third-best in opponent's field-goal percentage, and with an average of 13.3 points on 59.3% shooting, 8.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots in 27.2 minutes. "
=====

That says enough right there, IMHO. During this stretch he has dominated the likes of Al Jefferson, Nene and Amare Stoudemire. He's also a champion whose presence was essential for the Lakers success in June and I wouldn't even mention that if the game wasn't at Staples Center.

But I agree with those who are campaigning for LO, who has finally played consistent basketball day in and day out. He's always been an "all-star" caliber player who can play with anyone in the league, but now he's done it for Team USA, has a couple of shiny rings and has played consistently. This is an exhibition game in LA. Let the fans have some fun! What a luxury, right? Pau-Bynum-LO all legitimately right there in this discussion.

The Reserves are pretty easy to pick; Guard: Monta Ellis, Manu Ginobli
Forwards; Dirk Nowitzki, Blake Griffin Center; Pau Gasol.

Why do you keep acting as if I have said the Lakers can't win this year? I can't be asked to defend claims I have never made.

What I think you fail to realize is that when you see the Lakers lose a regular season game and assume they just weren't trying or didn't care about that particular game, it's purely speculative. The Lakers don't shrug those games off the same way you do. The comments they make after those games closely resemble the "doom and gloom" that I'm saying.

I think they are still the favorite to win this year but they will need to play well and play consistently to do so. I thought they were a huge favorite coming into the season but that has decreased with the play of San Antonio, Dallas, and Boston, all of whom I thought were going to be showing their age much more this year.

Posted by: Bay to LA | January 26, 2011 at 10:21 PM
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1) Even when the Lakers are playing well, rather than accentuate the positive, you seem to dwell on the negative. Hence, you leave me .. the average reader with an average mind .. with the impression that you don't think the Lakers can win this year. Conversely, I probably leave you and most others with the impression that I don't think the Lakers can lose this year, which is equally untrue. I have always insisted that good HEALTH is essential to three-peating. Therefore, we are probably both guilty of the same thing, so I apologize if that is not the intent of your persistent criticisms to question this team's ability to three-peat.

2) There are certain games when it is clear that they don't feel like playing. The prime example was the Memphis blowout at home. For whatever reason, they simply didn't even try that game. Other games are predictable losses and even Jeanie Buss mentions in her book how Phil Jackson circles these games before the season starts. Usually the first game in Utah and the first game in Denver are among those circled. Other games, the Lakers are outworked and outplayed. It's the NBA.

However, I disagree with you that the Lakers comments after losses more closely resemble your "doom and gloom" comments than what I am saying. It has definitely been a combination of the two.

3) After last season's championship following a VERY similar regular season to this one, I am no longer convinced that "they will need to play well and play consistently" the rest of the regular season to three-peat. They didn't play well and consistently AT ALL last season and even slacked DURING the playoffs against the Thunder and the Suns, but won it. I know this is a different season, but as long as we are HEALTHY, prepared and focused, only the Lakers can beat the Lakers.

If Stern is going to select the best Center in the Western Conference, it should be Bynum (when healthy). Not Nene. Not Tyson Chandler. However, other bigs who can fill in at center, like Lamar Odom or LaMarcus Aldridge, are more deserving of a spot on the team. But who deserves to start at Center, Gasol?

Tim Duncan should be left off to make room for Blake Griffin and/or Kevin Love. Players shouldn't be rewarded for career achievements unless the fans vote them in as starters. Let the best players play, regardless of position, to a certain extent.

Starters:

C - Gasol
PF - Durant
SF - Melo
SG - Kobe
PG - CP3

Reserves:

Guards - D Will, Ginobili, Russell Westbrook, Steve Nash, Tony Parker (Spurs Record)
Forwards - Dirk Nowitzki, Blake Griffin
Odom (Backup Center - Break In Case of Emergency)

Snubs:

Kevin Love (T Wolves Suck)
LaMarcus Aldridge (No Fan Support)
Luis Scola (Dude Can Play - Did You Watch the Worlds?)
Monta Ellis - (Fun to Watch - Rather See Stephen Curry Play)

Not enough bigs? Not compromising the best players play argument...


Mark G - one of my fave Graham Parker tracks (though he has so many). Never thought he was quite the same when he stopped using Brinsley; not quite as hard and cutting.

And now I shall let Brinsley & Nick explain why I would prefer we got a little HCA, as the bench tends to get a little:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=in_KTASbk7U

Sean Rooks in 54th place among centers at 14 votes.


DBDH!

While it won't happen, I would love to see the West start Bynum, Gasol, Odom and Kobe with D Will or Westbrook.
It would be fun to watch , even if just for however many minutes they all get together.

DeAndre Jordan has played better than Bynum in Los Angeles alone...

Guards - D Will, Ginobili, Russell Westbrook, Steve Nash, Tony Parker (Spurs Record)

Posted by: Bert | January 27, 2011 at 10:41 AM

D Will- great player, almost all his numbers are slightly lower than his career average except ppg. Team isn't doing so well.

Russell Westbrook, Steve Nash and Tony Parker are all fine players. Westbrook's never been there before, that being said, none of these guys can put the ball in the basket in the myriad of ways like Ellis (I don't count Ginobli, he's already an All-star). The game is about guys who can score and entertain the fans, which you basically said is what Ellis is good at.

For simply following the rules of the All-Star selection, 'Drew should be on the team. Stern coming in and selecting someone else just diminishes what the fans want (which we all know isn't always in Stern's interest). Yao can't play, 'Drew is next. Rules state that. So what's the problem? Oh yeah, Bynum isn't the media darling right now. It's bad enough that Yao has enjoyed the top spot with China bolstering his votes when at times other were more deserving, but now you want to change the rules when you don't like the top pick? C'mon, gimme a break. I bet if it was Greg Oden, folks would be screaming for him to be selected because "Look what injuries he's battled through, and every time he gained some steam, an injury took right out of it, yadda yadda yadda." Then the violins would start playing and so forth and everyone goes "awwwwwww".

Or heck, let's keep it close to home. You think they'd pick someone else if it was Kobe and/or Pau? Hell naw. Remember when Kobe was injured a few years ago, right up until the deadline, they waited to see if he felt like playing.

The way I see it, The Lakers are a completely different team when 'Drew is in the lineup and he got those votes for a reason. Tyson Chandler and Nene got votes as well, but guess what? They didn't get more than Drew.

If Stern picks someone else, he'll just further cement his rep as being someone who cares little to what the fans want and all about whats good for business, 'cept in this case, it won't be but he thinks it is.

The PSP,

No games are meaningless.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

"horribly undeserving."

Really? Bynum "horribly undeserving?"

Give me a break.

You got to hand it to ESPN they never give up reasons to make themselves look like hacks. You'd think that they'd take a break from their hackasaurusness, but they don't. They just keep at it.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

"1) Even when the Lakers are playing well, rather than accentuate the positive, you seem to dwell on the negative. Hence, you leave me .. the average reader with an average mind .. with the impression that you don't think the Lakers can win this year. Conversely, I probably leave you and most others with the impression that I don't think the Lakers can lose this year, which is equally untrue. I have always insisted that good HEALTH is essential to three-peating. Therefore, we are probably both guilty of the same thing, so I apologize if that is not the intent of your persistent criticisms to question this team's ability to three-peat.

2) There are certain games when it is clear that they don't feel like playing. The prime example was the Memphis blowout at home. For whatever reason, they simply didn't even try that game. Other games are predictable losses and even Jeanie Buss mentions in her book how Phil Jackson circles these games before the season starts. Usually the first game in Utah and the first game in Denver are among those circled. Other games, the Lakers are outworked and outplayed. It's the NBA.

However, I disagree with you that the Lakers comments after losses more closely resemble your "doom and gloom" comments than what I am saying. It has definitely been a combination of the two.

3) After last season's championship following a VERY similar regular season to this one, I am no longer convinced that "they will need to play well and play consistently" the rest of the regular season to three-peat. They didn't play well and consistently AT ALL last season and even slacked DURING the playoffs against the Thunder and the Suns, but won it. I know this is a different season, but as long as we are HEALTHY, prepared and focused, only the Lakers can beat the Lakers.

Posted by: KobeMVP888 | January 27, 2011 at 10:40 AM "

1. I think that's only natural as they are the team coming in as the heavy favorite. They really have nowhere to go but down. In 2007-2008, playing well against a playoff team like Utah is a huge boost because it shows that the Lakers can beat playoff competition. Now, they're SUPPOSED to beat a team like Utah. Strong play against those teams would only reaffirm predictions if it was happening consistently and so far it hasn't been.

You brought up Hollinger yesterday and how even he has the Lakers as a heavy favorite to win, which he does. The 25% chance he has at them winning greatly exceeds any other team. On the flip side, that is also saying that there is a 75% chance that a team other than the Lakers will win. I don't put much weight in those percentages, but just pointing out that Hollinger's analysis doesn't exactly eliminate the need for skepticism.

2. I know they can't expect to win every game and I don't expect them to. If they shoot poorly in a loss every once in a while, big deal. When I see them getting burned by being slow to rotate on defense, failing to stick to the offensive plan, and failing to close games late, I do see those as potential concerns against a top tier playoff opponent.

3. They came within minutes of not winning last year. It's not like there was never a reason for concern last year. And I wouldn't count on being healthy in the playoffs. By the time April comes around, every team is banged up. It's something every team has to overcome.

The Lakers can play sloppy and probably be fine this year against the Thunder, Blazers, Jazz, and Nuggets. Against the Spurs, Mavs, Heat, and Celtics, I don't think there is much room for error.

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I agree with LakerTom. The fans vote the starters and Drew got the second most votes - they should make this the rule and not leave it up to Stern. I also agree that Kobe, Pau, and Lamar deserve it more. Answer:

Kobe, Pau, Lamar, and Drew in 2011!

LRob,

re: not criticizing Kobe.

These are the reasons why I almost never criticize Kobe.

1. *NOBODY* in the NBA works harder.
2. Nobody in the NBA has as many offensive & defensive all star tickets as Kobe.
3. Nobody in the NBA has suffered more criticizism [sp?] for as many years
for as many reasons while continuing to play at such a ridiculously high level
and continued to win.
4. Nobody in the NBA has been robbed of as many MVP awards.
5. Nobody has crippled themselves for life for any team while continuing to
win.
6. Nobody has actually won as both the sidekick and "The Man".
7. Nobody has the encylopedic [sp?] knowledge of the game or gives as much
props to those who have come before him.

What am I going to say about the man who went to the finals with a fractured
pinky & won a championship with a fractured index finger on his shooting hand
while having an arthritic middle finger on the same hand?

Who has changed their shot over the course of a season due to injuries, and
continued to win?

Name the Center who went to study with MJ. Name another guard who
went to study with a Center.

This sentence sums up Kobe Bean Bryant: LET'S PLAY!

He may make a multitude of mistakes, but he *ALWAYS* gives it all he has.
He never makes excuses. You can't say those things about anyone else,
because no one else has the accolades to back it up.

"...a good motivating chip if Odom, Gasol and Bynum are all snubbed by the coaches. Combine that with Jerry West's comments and you can pretty much guarantee the 3-peat."
Posted by: scottie pimpin | January 26, 2011 at 08:24 PM

______

Yes, I agree and furthermore, why risk the injury or compromise the energy? I really wish Kobe wasn't playing either and Pop will probably allow Kobe to play all he wants!

Nah, LO needs to finish the year with a 'chip and have another solid start next season before becoming an All Star. He was complacent for too many years to be granted all star status just because he decided to "dedicate" himself this season. Consistency is key, so if he finishes on top this season and comes out focused again for next, then he will have earned a starting spot on the All Star roster.

Pau? Are you kidding me? That young fella needs to rest and hit the gym a bit. We definitely don't need to sacrifice his energy for an All Star appearance. He needs to stay home, lie in bed, plug into an IV and hydrate!

As for Bynum, does it really require discussion? He's the key to the Lakers' success this season and the major reason why we will win a championship if, IF he can remain healthy. Let's hope Stern will give him a pass this season because this team will need every break to get back into the Finals, healthy, energized and poised to win.

Too much on the line to be over confident about winning it all. It's going to take a lot of work for this team to remain in contention as the season progresses. This is Phil's last year and he DESERVES this championship so this team needs to dedicate itself to the cause.

Kobe needs no motivation. It's obvious he operates on a different plane. In his competitive mind, he has much larger fish to fry - M. Jordan. Don't think for a moment that he's not looking to cement his own legacy and leave a huge footprint on this game. He has a few more years to climb the mountain top, so believe you me, this warrior is always motivated and we're all fortunate to be "witnesses!" The "King with no Ring" will have to wait - just as many others - for #24 to leave the game, just as players before him had to wait for Jordan to exit the arena. I LOVE THIS GAME!!

GO LAKERS & IN BUSS WE TRUST!!

LRob,

you also wrote:
Kareem was another player that took a lot of criticism for being more of a “finesse” player….of course, Pau is not in his league. Others criticize Shaq for being just a “power” player and not having enough “finesse”. There are no perfect players. I get frustrated with Pau at times just like you. But I also get frustrated with Kobe, LO and every other Laker player. I just try to accept them for their strengths and weaknesses…just like one would accept the good and bad with their spouse, children, etc.

my response:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/a/abdulka01.html

After Pau has earned 1 MVP & 2 all defense all star tickets, I'll stop talking
talking about his "finesse".

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/g/gasolpa01.html

I dislike the use of the phrase "accept their weaknesses". The reason why is:
We should *ALL* work to address our weaknesses. When I look at how Pau
played in 2008-2009 and compare it to the beginning of this season or
the tail end of last season it was clear that he was *choosing* to be weak.
That is not acceptable for me. Give it your best. If you win great. If you lose,
ok. However, give it your best. He was playing squishy soft & that's why
PJ introduced him to Oakley.

FYI, this is the first season I have not been frustrated with LO. I'm never
frustrated with Kobe. It's not that he doesn't make mistakes, because he
does. It's that you can *ALWAYS* tell that he's giving it everything he's
got.

WHAT!!!?!??!?!!!!

How can you argue the merits of whether Lamar should make the game or Drew should make the game when you're neglecting the most deserving of all...

LUKE WALTON FOR THE ALL STARS!!!!

LRob,

re: not criticizing Kobe.

These are the reasons why I almost never criticize Kobe.
Posted by: hobbitmage | January 27, 2011 at 12:04 PM

NICE!!!

Andrew Bynum's stats for the year...

22 gms. 24:18 mins/game. 57.8% FG 66.7% FT 7.5 Rebs./gm. 11.4 pts/ gm.

Hardly All Star caliber. No one can deny the positive effect that Drew has had on the team's fortunes, which at the end of the day is the most important thing. But, I say let him earn his way to the ASG. He'll be better for it in the long run.

And..BTW, I love Drew and what he brings to the team. I don't think the Lakers threepeat without him. I just don't think he's an All Star. Not yet.

bronxlakerfan,

Tim Duncan's stats for the year:

13.6 pts & 9.5 rebounds in 5 more minutes per game than Bynum. And on 48.3% shooting (LESS THAN 50% for a CENTER??!?! Are you kidding me? ) Yet Duncan will almost certainly make the game.

Tyson Chandler's stats:

9.6 pts & 9 rebounds on 3 more minutes per game than Bynum. (and less blocks than Bynum as well). And he's being hyped as a potential All-Star center.

The guy who's being most hyped as someone who's on the ballot as a center who would take Yao Ming's starting spot is Nene.

15.2 pts & 7.5 rebounds in 5 more minutes per game than Bynum (but half as many blocks as Bynum).

Of these 3, only Nene has a clear argument over Bynum from a stats point of view (unless you consider guys like Pau, who's listed as a F on the ballot but sometimes play C).

And I might point out...

Lamar's stats:

15.6 pts, 9.5 rebounds per, shooting 57.5%, and he played center for the Olympic team. Better stats than Nene.

Stats alone aren't everything.

Both Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom are waaaaay better defenders than either Kevin Love or Must See BG (Blake Griffin) at this point.

The reason for the conflict is that there is no clear criterion for how the All Stars should be chosen. The starters are chosen by popular vote. The commissioner chooses injury replacements and the coaches vote for bench players, but there aren't a hard and fast set of rules.

So do you pick the guys who would be most exciting to watch? (and thus Blake Griffin)

Do you pick the guys with the highest offensive stats (and thus Kevin Love)?

Or do you pick the best players on the best teams (which would rule out Love and Griffin, but still leave Nowitzki, Chandler, Duncan, Durant, Aldridge, Nene, and Al Jefferson in the mix with Gasol, Bynum and Odom for west conference bigs).

Pundits talk about "Why are we penalizing Griffin and Love because their teams aren't good enough to win more games?"

I'd turn that around - "Why are we penalizing Odom and Bynum because they're on deep teams where they don't get to play 40 minutes a game like Griffin and Love, and don't get as many touches because there are other talented players on the team?"

If you put Bynum on the T-Wolves, they'd be putting him in the post and dumping the ball in to him EVERY SINGLE TIME DOWN THE FLOOR.

Or if Odom was on the Timberwolves, it would be nearly the same thing. They don't have any really great PG, so they'd frequently use Odom as a point forward. And thus he'd get a lot more points and assists.

Players on deep teams have to share the ball a lot more.

Pundits talk about "Why are we penalizing Griffin and Love because their teams aren't good enough to win more games?"

I'd turn that around - "Why are we penalizing Odom and Bynum because they're on deep teams where they don't get to play 40 minutes a game like Griffin and Love, and don't get as many touches because there are other talented players on the team?"

If you put Bynum on the T-Wolves, they'd be putting him in the post and dumping the ball in to him EVERY SINGLE TIME DOWN THE FLOOR.

Or if Odom was on the Timberwolves, it would be nearly the same thing. They don't have any really great PG, so they'd frequently use Odom as a point forward. And thus he'd get a lot more points and assists.

Players on deep teams have to share the ball a lot more.

LTLF....

My personal take is that Chandler, Duncan, Bynum are all lacking All Star credentials this year. The only the debate is ongoing is because the center is so weak in the West. I've watched historically great centers for too long to be impressed or awed by the credentials of any of the Western candidates at center this year.

And one more thing about Bynum...he's only played in 22 games. Doesn't durability and availability count for anything? Let's say he came back from his injury and only played in ten games, but averaged 20 and 10. Would he still be an All Star?

I'm sick of the ASG, anyway. My only hope is that any Laker that participates in it doesn't get hurt. This is King David's baby. He's moved the game back from the true midpoint of the season in order not to compete with the Super Bowl. And then, the game itself is on so late that most children can't watch it in its entirety. Much like Major League Baseball, with its late night World Series games, the NBA neglects its youngest fans, who will one day make or break the league.

Nice one Hobbit re:not criticizing KObe.

Does anybody really care what "Sports Illustrated" cares??? They are like the "Life" magazine for sports...only us really old guys get that....

Gasol should be selected, to be the starting center, Bynum his backup, and LO picked as well. Yes, that's 4 Lakers, but keep in mind, they have won the last 2 championships. Bynum when healthy (now) dominates over the other choices. Gasol has played quite a bit of the center position since he's been a Laker, and LO deserves it. And the game is in LA, LO, may never get this close again...it would be good publicity for the youth (Bynum) and the brainless (Kardashian fans/Hollywood for LO). Nene does not deserve to go by only one name, he's not that good.


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