The All-Star game is right around the corner so it’s time to start thinking which Mavs players deserves to be in New York for the festivities next month. To no surprise the media isn’t really picking many if any Mavs players to be in New York for the game and because fans decide the starting lineups it’s safe to say our beloved Mavs will have to be reserve players if they’re to get in.
The Mavs are currently 4th in the Western Conference Standings and deserve to at least have one player representing the city of Dallas, so who’s most deserving?
The Mavs arguably have the best starting five in the entire NBA and while that’s great come playoff time it can sometimes hurt the starters when it comes to fans/coaches voting for the All-Star game. A lot of fans may split their votes among Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler, Rajon Rondo and maybe even Chandler Parsons.
Now right off the bat I’m going to eliminate Parsons because while he’s been a solid player this season he hasn’t posted All-Star caliber numbers nor has had that type of impact on the team. Secondly I’ll take out Rajon Rondo because of all the positions in the West, point guard is in my opinion the strongest and deepest. Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, and Chris Paul are all asked to carry more of their respective team’s load on a night in and night out basis then Rondo. Also Rondo was traded in mid-December so he hasn’t the opportunity to really build a strong reputation for himself in the West yet.
So we’re really talking about Tyson Chandler, Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis. Let’s start with Monta Ellis who I’m rooting for more than Tyson or Dirk to make his first All-Star appearance. The leading scorer (20.0 points per game) for the NBA’s second-highest scoring team, Ellis also leads the Mavs with 4.4 assists and 1.7 steals a game. Ellis has been one of the clutchest players down the stretch all season across the league, shouldering the load when called upon. Ellis has posted a 18.11 player efficiency rating and while it doesn’t top James Harden’s or Klay Thompson’s PERs it’s still quite impressive and higher than fan favorite Kobe Bryant’s.
Monta Ellis is a combo guard and his style and flare meshes well for an All-Star game that has turned into more of a guard skills display than anything else with the high tempo of the game. Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook are locked in as well for the guard position but Monta should be right there alongside of them in New York. And if I was allowed to pick one Mavs player to go to the All-Star game it’d be him.
Tyson Chandler is averaging a double-double and third in the NBA in rebounding (12.2) and second in field-goal percentage (67.0). Marc Gasol is probably the only center I’m taking ahead of Tyson Chandler in the All-Star center position because he’s more skilled on the offensive side of the ball and has a higher PER (22.75) compared to Tyson’s (21.25). What’s tricky is that DeMarcus Cousins has the highest efficiency rating of any big man and is averaging 24 points and 12.7 rebounds a game. But if we’re talking about putting up numbers AND playing on a winning/contending team then Tyson Chandler has a very good case.
Dwight Howard will probably be put in instead but his numbers don’t back it up, 16.7 points to go with 11.2 rebounds but only a PER of 18.19, so really Howard is perhaps anywhere from 4th to 5th in the center totem pole. I understand the center position has been taken out of the All-Star roster but that’s wrong and in this case will probably cost Tyson a spot on the All-Star roster but instead most likely benefit Dirk Nowitzki in his case for another All-Star appearance.
Dirk is averaging 18.76 and 6.0 rebounds a game and has a PER of 21.39 which puts in the upper tier of big men in the West. Dirk is putting up these numbers averaging 29.6 minutes per game, his lowest since his rookie season. There are a lot of great big men in the West as well when you start talking about Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, Tim Duncan, LeMarcus Aldridge, DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard and Dirk Nowitzki. I believe those will be the big men that are selected for the All-Star game with the exception of perhaps Cousins whose team’s overall record will hurt him more than anything. Nowitzki is still an elite player and deserving of being selected for his 13th All-Star appearance.
To sum it all up the Mavs have three players, Tyson Chandler, Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis with legitimate cases as to why they should be in the All-Star game next month but most likely only one of them will get in, although I wish all three would be picked to participate.
Personally I hope Monta goes because he has done so much for the Mavs, especially in clutch situations, and still hasn’t had the honor to be named to an All-Star game in his career. Tyson and Dirk, especially, have experienced the excitement of All-Star weekend and being the veterans they are I’m sure may agree with me. In the end I think Dirk goes and deserving.
What do you think MFFL’s?