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  • Jan

    Want Ellis to be an All-Star? Vote McGrady, vote often

    By Geoff Lepper

    A couple of weeks ago, I dismissed out of hand the notion of Monta Ellis making the All-Star Game, even going so far as to utilize the hoary tactic of. Single. Word. Sentences. in an attempt to drive the point home. Regardless of how glittering Ellis’ numbers are, the Western Conference’s assembled coaches won’t vote for someone who stars on a team that’s tied for 27th out of 30 NBA teams.

    Marcus Thompson II’s blog entry from earlier today posited that Ellis’ chances were dwindling because of Tracy McGrady’s continued presence in the No. 2 slot among Western Conference guards in fan balloting, trailing only Kobe Bryant. I’m sure you know the details — McGrady starting over Steve Nash means Nash will soak up one of the reserve spots selected by coaches, whereas if Nash were to beat McGrady, the latter wouldn’t get anywhere near the team.

    Upon further review, however, I have to say I’m revising my opinion; Monta Ellis CAN be an All-Star. But to get there, he can’t have Trady McGrady lose. He has to have McGrady win.

    Here’s the rationale: If Nash wins, the coaches will vote in Brandon Roy, Deron Williams and Chris Paul as reserve guards. Roy gets in for having dragged the broken-down Trail Blazers to within spitting distance of the No. 2 seed in the West (at least up until this point). Williams has played at an All-Star level since 2007-08 and has been squeezed out twice already in his career; plus this year’s game is in his hometown of Dallas. And while Paul’s numbers may be down slightly from his last two spectacular campaigns, he still is one of the handful of guys in the conversation when you discuss the league’s best guard.

    Unless the coaches take the highly unusual and unlikely step of using both their “wild card” reserve slots on guards, Ellis has no chance. It’s not by happenstance that so few All-Stars have come off teams that started the season 10-24.

    If elected, McGrady could very will sit out the game; in fact, you might go so far as to call it a probable result. As a result of his battles with injury and, later, Rick Adelman, McGrady has played only 46 minutes this entire season; the All-Star Game may be a no-defense bowdlerization of basketball, but even that you still need to be in some semblance of game shape to keep from getting embarrassed.

    And that brings us to the important point: if McGrady bows out from the game after being elected a starter, it’s David Stern’s call, not that of the coaches, on who would replace him. Stern, in the past, has shown much more of an affinity to pick guys from teams bobbing around .500 or well below. Baron Davis made his first ASG that way, in 2002 during happier times in New Orleans. Gilbert Arenas was added from a middling Washington squad in 2006. Atlanta’s Joe Johnson finally broke through in 2007 thanks to Stern’s munificence.

    I still don’t think there’s any way that the coaches vote Ellis to the All-Star roster. But if Stern gets to make the call, there is still a sliver of hope.

7 Responses to “Want Ellis to be an All-Star? Vote McGrady, vote often”

  1. I finally get to use this on Leppert’s blog…hopefully it’ll show up

  2. I frankly couldn’t care about “all-star” ballots.

    It probably helps with fan awareness of hot players and subsequently raises Ellis value.

    Maybe Ellis’ appointment as an all-star will permit Cohan to trade Ellis for salary cap relief, a promising kid and a protected lottery pick.

  3. [...] Marcus Thompson II (HERE) and Geoff Lepper (HERE] have written good pieces on why Ellis, in spite of his very high level of play this season, may [...]

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