I'm doing something I don't have to do very often: retracting something I said before. No, it's not the playoff thing. We're just going to have to wait and see on that. But a couple of weeks ago I said that Brandon Roy and Lamarcus Aldridge weren't going to be All-Stars this year. This was not so much an assessment of their abilities and contributions as an assessment of how the All-Star process works. A ton of people in front of them have bigger names, better teams, and/or gaudier stats. Though most of that remains true, I am changing my tune on half of the equation. Brandon Roy needs to be an All-Star this year.
Obviously there's less than zero chance he'll be voted in as a starter, which is wholly appropriate. It will come down to the coaches' votes. To me the key date is Wednesday, January 9th. If the Blazers win 3-4 of the nine games between now and then, leaving them right around .500, and Brandon is still averaging around 19, 5, and 6 then he really, really should be there.
I say this not because I'm all fired up to have a Blazer in the All-Star game again. Frankly I couldn't care less. I doubt I'll even watch the game even if he does get in. (Blogging every single day during the season makes you long for breaks when you can get them.) Nor do I think he will excel in the game. First he won't get all that much playing time. Second he won't touch the ball much when he's in, let alone start with it in his possession. Plus his game is better in the team context than in an individual showcase like that. I could give a rip about the Blazer marketing circus that would follow his election. It won't make me feel any better about being a fan or make me watch games more intensely than I do.
No...Brandon should get into the game because of what it would say about the process more than what it would mean about him, the Blazers, or the game. Yes, there will be guys with flashier stats. But the NBA is trying to get back to the idea of good, team-oriented basketball. You need a guy who's simply a good all-around player, a guy who's led his team to a large jump in wins, a guy who fills up the stat line and does so with intelligence, grace, and unflappable poise. That's a much better statement than sending a guy who scores 26 a night on a 10-24 team. And let's face it, there will be plenty of huge scorers--well-rounded and single-minded each--there already. Why not fill that 10th, 11th, or 12th spot with a real player, leader, and yes...gentleman?
Brandon is not as good as he's going to be. Neither are the Blazers. But both have done well enough right here, right now to merit him getting in. It would be nice for him and the team. It would be even better for the league.
And hey, that winning streak has got to be good for something, right?
P.S. Great minds think alike. Jason Quick gives us an article about the greatness of Brandon this morning.