I’m a few weeks late to the dance here, but when the NBA’s All Star ballots were released a lot was made of the omission of the Utah Jazz’s Paul Millsap, who had emerged as a star in the first few weeks of the season. The All-Star ballots are set before the season starts and the rules are fairly rigid. 24 guards, 24 forwards and 12 centers are chosen from each conference and at least three players from each team must be included. This process is completed early to allow for the printing and distribution of paper ballots.
Each year it seems there is a questionable omission and Millsap is this year’s poster boy. But are there are other deserving players who have been left off?
For this examination we will be turning to Wins Produced and Wins Produced per 48 minutes. Below is a list of all the players appearing on the Eastern Conference’s All Star Ballot, showing the minutes they have played this season, their WP48 and their total Wins Produced.
Keep in mind that when looking at WP48, 0.300 is considered super-star performance, 0.200 is considered star performance, 0.100 is considered average performance and anything in the negative is considered atrocious and embarassing.
You may have already identified a few players who’s performance so far this season doesn’t justify their appearance on the All-Star Ballot, but I promise I won’t make you do all the analysis here all by yourself.
With the players on the Eastern Conference All-Star Ballot and a semi-rigid adherence to traditional position assignments here’s the most productive lineup I could come up with:
Point Guard – Rajon Rondo – WP48 0.354
Shooting Guard – Dwyane Wade – WP48 0.284
Small Forward – LeBron James – WP48 0.316
Power Forward – Kevin Garnett – WP48 0.350
Center – Al Horford – WP48 0.345
*Horford beats out Howard by a nose!
And here’s the least productive lineup I could come up with:
Point Guard – Gilbert Arenas – WP48 0.001
Shooting Guard – DeMar DeRozan – WP48 0.004
Small Forward – Linas Kleiza – WP48 -0.011
Power Forward – J.J. Hickson – WP48 -0.108
Center – Andrea Bargnani – WP48 -0.073
*Toronto, well represented on the Anti-All Stars.
I was also able to create this lineup, entirely with players who were left off the Eastern Conference’s All-Star Ballot:
Point Guard – Jose Calderon – WP48 0.194
Shooting Guard – Landry Fields – WP48 0.304
Small Forward – Quentin Richardson – WP48 0.181
Power Forward – Kris Humphries – WP48 0.345
Center – Marcin Gortat – WP48 0.210
If you don’t like any of the guys in that lineup feel free to switch in some of these players who were also left off the ballot for the East:
Reggie Evans – WP48 0.365
Jerryd Bayless – WP48 0.259
Mike Dunleavy – WP48 0.241
Ronnie Brewer – WP48 0.231
Amir Johnson – WP48 0.227
Tyrus Thomas – WP48 0.191
Josh McRoberts – WP 0.185
Brandon Bass – WP48 0.181
It’s worth noting that just by Wins Produced three different players left off the ballot (Landry Fields, Reggie Evans, Kris Humphries) could be starting in the theoretical most productive lineup made up of players actually on the ballot. My “left-out lineup” may not seem that imposing to many fans but I feel quite sure they could beat the snot out of several lineups made from players on the ballot.
Fans of the Toronto Raptors have to feel especially frustrated. Their three representatives on the ballot, Andrea Bargnani, Linas Kleiza and DeMar DeRozan, clearly don’t even belong in the discussion; especially as two of them have a WP48 in the negative range. Meanwhile, they have at least four other players, Jerryd Bayless, Jose Calderon, Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans, whose production seems to merit a spot on the ballot if not on the actual All-Star team.
Tomorrow we’ll go through this same exercise and examine some of the omissions from the Western Conference.