12/12/08

Nets And Raps With Thoughts Of All Star Weekend

All-Star Voting Is A Joke

Some may remember last year I started a campaign to get votes for T.J Ford for the All-Star Game. I thought it was a nice gesture seeing as Ford's career was in question. His goal at the beginning of the season was to become an all-star. Well I did manage to get a huge amount of people to get on board with my idea. There was even an article written about it in a San Antonio newspaper. I had no idea it had been written till months after. I feel that it was something I was doing for a good cause. Why am I making mention of this? T.J ended up fine and is healthy and playing for the Pacers. All of that is true. But I was just reviewing how one person can impact or try to impact all-star voting. Gilbert Arenas who is of far more influence than the Dino Blogger. In fact I am told he writes a blog, I am also told he still is under contract to a NBA team. I think it is the Wizards. Joking aside, Arenas appealed to fans to vote for him last year saying that he would be healthy in time to play in the game and he encouraged fans to vote for him. In the end both efforts failed and T.J and Gilbert were not voted into the All-Star Game.


But what if an entire nation of billions got behind a player. It happened with a young Yao Ming. He beat out Shaq to gain starting honours for the Western Conference back when Shaq was clearly the better player of the two. But now here in 2008 it is happening again. Yi is currently beating Chris Bosh and is trailing K.G and Lebron James for a starting spot on the All-Star roster for the East. I say with all due respect to the people of China and Yi, he has no business being in an All-Star game let alone being voted into the starting line-up. Chris Bosh until recently was having an M.V.P like season for the Raptors. But yet he stills 4th in All-Star voting. Bosh last year had some fun with his fate of losing to Lebron James and K.G. We all saw the fun Texas car salesman ad that Bosh made for You Tube and spread like wild fire. It really helped put CB4 on the map in mainstream American media.






But in the end all of this stuff makes me wonder what the heck All Star voting has become. As it suggests in the at the start it is becoming a joke. But not in the funny way that Bosh video was. In the way it can't be taken seriously anymore. Bias and numbers of people voting from all around the world as turned this into nothing more then a global popularity contest. I mean it all has a real high school like feel to it. The NBA will say that the All Star Game is for the fans and that is why they are given the ability to vote. But that is a lie too. The NBA All Star Game has become a corporate event to market the NBA. The real fans at that game are luck to be able to fine a ticket in the cheap seats for the game and the various events connected to All-Star Weekend. Which is in Phoenix if you didn't know that already.


Give me the best players and leave all the bias out of it. If that means fans don't get to vote so be it. I mean it is sad it has to come to that. But if you can't find a fair and objective way to conduct the voting what other choice are you left with? I mean no disrespect to Yi. He could turn out to be a good NBA player. If he really is fortunate and develops to an even higher level than most expect maybe even an All-Star. But that is not this year and he has no business being in a conversation with James,K.G and Bosh. It just is not even a debate to be had by anyone.

Vince Carter Plays The Role Of The Grinch That Stole A Win

Seems fitting to be talking about Vince Carter after a rant about All-Star Voting. Vince was the guy who use to cash in on the popularity contest on a yearly basis. He was always ready to perform for All Star Weekend. Some would make the claim that the All Star Game was the NBA Finals for Vince Carter in his mind. I am not going to dispute that point. I think Vince was always far to focused on what amounts to being a meaningless exhibition game. I think unless something dramatic was to happen in the late stages of Vince's career. The highlight of that career will be that dunk contest in Oakland.




But there have been a few highlights of note for Vince Carter against the Raptors. The most recent two unreal plays that gave the Nets a pretty impossible win. That win would be one of the nails in Sam Mitchell's coffin as Raptor Coach we would learn later on. At the time it was just heart breaking for Raptor fans. The guy that had quit on them and left had come back to haunt them one more time. I am shocked at how well the Nets have played to this point. I thought we would already be seeing signs of a struggling and rebuilding team. But thanks in big part to Devin Harris and the coaching of Lawrence Frank the Nets have been a surprise and as a result they have kept Vince Carter engaged in the process.

The Raptors can not take it for granted that the Nets will fade back to earth and not keep this up. These next two games could be very important. The Nets have the 1-0 lead in the season series if they win this game tonight they guarantee at least a split in the season series. That could mean something come playoff time for both the Nets and Raptors. Playoffs and Nets? Yeah it could be the case and if it is so they will need to win games like this. Raptors just need wins period at this point.

Notes On Tonight's Match-Up.

The Nets do have one thing in common with the Raptors. They are not exactly tearing it up on the home floor. Although the crowds at the IZod (they still call it that right?) and the ACC are not the same at all in numbers or volume. The Nets are just 4-6 at home and come into this game off a loss despite being 7-3 in their last 10. The Raptor on the road are a not so impressive 4-7 coming of the win on Wednesday against the Pacers. They in their last 10 are just 3-7. But the Raptors are preaching patience as Jay Triano is trying to change some aspects of the Raptor battle plan. It was refreshing to see how truly happy this team was when Triano got his first win as the head coach. Technically it was his second as he did coach one NBA game as head man while Sam Mitchell had been given a couple games off to deal with a death in his family. In fact one of the players made sure to get the ball from the win over the Pacers and it was presented to Triano.

Triano is starting to make adjustments to the line-up. Anthony Parker who is said to be dealing with an ankle injury and Andrea Bargnani were out of the starting 5. Jason Kapono and Jamario Moon were in. Parker is rumoured to be in trade talks and some wondered out loud if he could be on the move very soon. Jason Kapono and his offensive outburst sure made it seem like he could handle the role of starting. When he scores like that his lack of defensive ability tends to fade away for a lot of folks. Many NBA experts outside of Toronto figure if the Raptors are to make a major move it would have to include Andrea Bargnani. That is something that to this point Bryan Colangelo has not been willing to do. He has been on the record saying that he gets a lot of chances to do so though. He has stated he has taken many calls on the availability of Bargnani.

But the Raptors can not afford to be worried about the trade rumour mill. They need to get wins and they have few realistic opportunities to do that in a very tough December schedule. So leave the wheeling and dealing to Bryan Colangelo. It is not likely that Colangelo, if he is going to make a major move he will be able to do it prior to December 15th when NBA Rosters become opened up. All signings and players traded for become available.

I want to close with some stats on Bosh and Yi to illustrate the point of how silly this All-Star stuff is.

  • Chris Bosh 24.7 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists
  • Yi Jianlian 11.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists
Nets rookie Brook Lopez has been averaging more rebounds than Yi and only a couple less points( 9.5 Pts, 7.5 Rebs ) it just drives home the point that Yi Jianlian is no All-Star. I will make one final point on this match-up actually. The Raptors defense has been taken to task and picked a part. It is with just cause that it is. But as far as average points given up the Nets are actually worse than the Raptors. It proves that old theory the team that scores the most points will win the game. So if you can score more you win the game. But how you can get away with being a bad defensive team and have a winning record like the Nets? Simple things key rebounds and key stops. These are things that have been few and far between for the Raptors.



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Thanks for reading and I am back at my usual post for the Raptor Rewind tonight vs Nets.

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